It's by no means the sexiest part of the industry, but the logistics sector is without doubt a vital one. And there’s a new player in town, looking to bring its expertise to the toy arena.
Gem Logistics is a trading division of Gem Distribution, which has a 26-year history in business and is a £320m T/O operation. It was formed to offer logistical services to the entertainment market and it currently manages this for a number of large worldwide brands. The firm sees entering the toy market as the next logical step in its business – and it’s spent big to ensure it has the best possible offer.
"In total, Gem has invested just over £13 million into the new 250,000 sq ft facility,” says Matthew Allen, general manager of Gem Logistics. “Everything is brand new, from trucks and racking to offices and PCs. We currently have 35,000 pallet positions and 45,000 picking locations – and we’ve not racked out the complete warehouse yet. The commodities that we deal with are very desirable and of high value, so as you can imagine security is paramount within our facility and a lot of focus has been put into this area too."
Over the past seven years, Gem has worked with a number of toy firms including IMC Toys, Corinthian, Infantino and Atomic Sports, while Allen himself has been involved with the toy business since 1991 in various roles.
Allen is also keen to point out that within the Gem Group there are a number of additional departments which could be of use for toy companies. Gem Creative is able to create bespoke POS materials – from FSDUs to in-store displays – and already has a strong track record in the entertainment market, while a telesales team targets the independent retail channel. “Everyone is looking for incremental revenue opportunities, and this team could really help,” Allen continues. “We have trading accounts with pretty much all the major retailers, from the supermarkets, online retailers and HMV to hundreds of independent retailers.
“The one area that we will look to grow is the independent toy retailers. There is a real belief and passion within our business that we add value to the toy channel.”
Allen is hoping to start a dialogue with a number of toy manufacturers this year with a view to going live in 2012. And his ambitions don’t stop there. “This year is all about building the brand within the toy market, as not many people will know Gem and the size of the business,” he explains to ToyNews.
“We also want to establish ourselves as a credible alternative within the market; we’re not just a ‘standard’ logistics company, we work exclusively within the entertainment sector.
“We believe we can grow our market share within the toy channel, so it would be nice to be partnering with a number of companies,” Allen continues when asked about his longer term plans.
“One of our philosophies has always been to partner with small businesses who are looking to grow, as well as large worldwide brands who are very well established and we will continue this policy within the toy market, too.”