Manager of the month

The Nestlé Rowntree Manager of the Month award for July has been presented to Howard Graham, grocery/impulse buying director of Dee Bee.

A member of the Today’s buying group, Dee Bee is based in Grimsby in north-east Lincolnshire, and has been operating for 43 years. Graham has been with the company for 35 of those years and is responsible for its buying and marketing operation.
Graham continuously impresses those around him with his enthusiastic approach and dedication to providing a first-rate service for retailers, but it his understanding of display as a sales driver for which he has been specifically recognised for this award.

As an advocate of “best in trade” display execution, one of Graham’s key priorities is to maximise major pieces of activity with excellent display materials, provided by suppliers such as Nestlé Rowntree, to create theatre around promotions and new product launches. His recent excellent execution of the Wonka confectionery launch is a classic example.

“Excellent display ensures customers cannot miss the featured products,” says Graham. “This is true whether the display is in a cash and carry depot – attracting retailers’ attention – or in an independent retailer’s store – attracting shoppers’ attention. By increasing the likelihood of customers seeing products, there will obviously be more opportunities to make a sale and capture those lucrative unplanned purchases.”

Graham sees educating retailers to the importance of display in their own outlets as an important role for Dee Bee. His success in doing this has resulted in Dee Bee pre-selling 75 Wonka hoodboxes, with at least another 250 more on order. Not only will this benefit the retailer, but it also benefits Dee Bee as the retailer will need to stock up both faster and more often, as a result of increasing their sales.

What’s more, Graham also uses Dee Bee’s local retail club – which has 65 members – to ensure retailers are provided with a first-class promotional package. Typical packages include display materials such as dumpbins, hoodboxes and posters.
This approach has ensured some excellence performance results for Dee Bee. As well as growing its total confectionery category sales by 7% so far this year, it has also increased its business with Nestlé Rowntree by 33% compared to its results in 2004.

Graham keeps his energy levels topped up outside of work by keeping fit playing squash, hill walking and cycling. He is married with one son.

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