The continuing problem of late deliveries of newspapers was top of the agenda when Yorkshire NFRN members met with publishers and representatives from Menzies Distribution in a Zoom meeting last week.
Stephen Hunter, from Bradford, said he is aware of retailers who have not received their morning newspapers until as late as 1pm, which has a knock-on effect and causes customers to go elsewhere.
Allen Harrigan, from Menzies, insisted that these instances were isolated. However, NFRN Connect manager Andrew Williamson said they are reported on a daily basis by members.
Erkin Osman highlighted several issues that News UK faces overnight, including production problems, unplanned roadworks and vehicle issues. He said that when these types of problem arise. additional vehicles are introduced, routes are split and distribution schedules are monitored and adjusted to try and get into wholesalers before cut-off.
From the wholesaler’s perspective, Allen Harrigan commented that different depots have different cut-offs and different challenges with volumes. Saturday is also the most difficult day when it comes to distribution, as the routes can differ from other days.
He added that the current national shortage of drivers is extremely challenging and affecting different areas. Wakefield, in particular, is suffering as agency staff take time to train and get to know the routes.
John Howard, from Reach PLC, said he would go back to the team to “have a look” at the situation and see what changes could be made. The Telegraph’s Paul Reeves advised that there is “no elasticity” within the supply chain, but he will also investigate the matter.