Operational improvements at British Wool
British Wool has been working on a number of initiatives over the last year to underpin its three strategic pillars of Maximising Price, boosting Member Engagement and delivering Organisational Efficiency. Andrew Hogley, British Wool’s CEO, explains that these measures are designed to strengthen the business and improve returns for members over the long-term.
Our mission is to drive demand for British wool in order to maximise returns for our members. To do this, we need a structured approach to marketing our members’ wool, a competitive auction and an efficiently run organisation whilst also strengthening our engagement with members. Initiatives that the team has been working to deliver, all support this strategy.
Our marketing team has made huge strides over the last year to develop the British Wool brand identity. In a global commodity market, we have to make sure that we differentiate British wool from competing wools of other origin. Our brand identity which is focused on the high Animal Welfare and Environmental standards that our members work to, and the quality of grading and traceability provided by our depot teams, does this. This strategy is bearing fruit and has helped grow the number of businesses specifying British Wool in their products by over 30% in the last year.
Our wool sales team has worked to improve access to the auction. British Wool’s auctions have been fully online since Covid, and we now have a much better balance of competition in the sales with several new buyers participating.
Operationally we have rolled out a new IT system in the depots. Wool Trace not only provides full traceability on every bale of wool we sell but has also boosted productivity. This system represents a step change for our efficiency and further differentiates our wool from competing types.
The relocation of our largest grading depot from Galashiels to new premises in Selkirk has also made a significant difference from an operational point of view. Our new site has better access for members, improved storage, and has enabled greater efficiency. The team is now capable of grading up to 160 tonnes per week.
Our member services team has rolled out New Member packs and further streamlined our payment processes. The team is dedicated to delivering a high-quality service and I would urge members who have any issues on their account to get in touch so that these can be resolved.
This season we have rolled out a member survey and trialled pre-printed sheet labels in some regions. The purpose of the member survey is to identify where there are issues with our network and service that we need to improve. It has been pleasing to see that the vast majority of responses have been positive, and I can assure those that have mentioned low prices that we share their frustration. I would encourage all members to share their experiences, good or bad, with the team.
Prices have picked up over the last month. Whilst they are still not where we need them to be I’d like to reassure our members that the team is working hard to grow demand for their wool. At the same time, we are focussed on delivering improved service to our members and driving operational improvements in the business.Back to Blogs