Ex-Westons Cider's Matthew Langley launches consultancy business for off-trade

Matthew Langley, who left his role as supply chain manager at Westons Cider in March this year, has launched a new consultancy business for the off-trade. 

Miyagi aims to help smaller drinks producers to “think differently and strategically to win in the increasingly competitive and changing marketplace”.  DRN caught up with Langley to find out more about his new venture: 

Why did you decide to call your business Miyagi and what consultancy services will it offer? 

Miyagi is inspired by the sage mentor in the Karate Kid film, who encourages a more measured and strategic approach to any undertaking.

The decision to set up Miyagi was driven by the insight that most off-trade producers and suppliers are selling a service to retailers, yet many suppliers do not appear to realise this. 

Alongside the actual products, great suppliers should be offering a full range of services to support their retail partners, be that market and customer insight, category and ranging advice, or identifying and working with retailers to identify supply chain efficiencies and reduce out of stocks. I realised there was a gap in the market for this kind of service, especially for smaller producers and suppliers who may not have the resource to deliver this additional capability in house. 

Miyagi’s mission is to use insight and strategic thinking to help many off trade suppliers move from a transactional relationship with their retail customers to a mutually beneficial collaborative relationship.

Do you feel that this is the perfect time for you to launch your new business? Can you highlight now your new consultancy service might be able to help businesses navigate the new and unpredictable challenges caused by Covid-19 and Brexit? 

Undoubtedly it is a challenging time to run any business in the drinks industry, with both Coronavirus and Brexit creating massive uncertainty, however Miyagi’s consultancy proposition is able to help in both long and short-term planning. 

For example, in the short-term, Miyagi can help with optimising supply chains as shoppers and drinkers move to different shopping missions and channels. While in the long-term Miyagi can help in understanding the shopper post Coronavirus. Some behaviours the shopper adopt during Coronavirus lockdown will be permanent, while others will be temporary, the trick is to study and understand these behaviours and develop an effective plan that can deliver against them.

* In the UK we don't yet know how long we will be confined to our houses but at present we are able to visit drinks/ grocery shops, and many of these retailers are also offering home delivery. Can you offer one piece of advice to off-trade retailers for the weeks ahead?

Earlier today, I was looking at Google Trends for the popularity of searches for ‘beer delivery’, ‘cider delivery’, and ‘wine delivery’.  The popularity of each search term has gone through the roof in the last few weeks. 

When I looked at the data around these searches it is clear that shoppers are responding to the challenge of Coronavirus lockdown, by using different, (and for many) previously unused online shopping channels for their drinks. 

Suppliers, producers and retailers all need to meet this new challenge, ensuring that the online availability of their drinks and the convenience of the online shopping experience is at least as good as a visit to an off licence or store. Miyagi is able to help retailers, suppliers and producers successfully pivot to these new shopping channels and deliver for their shoppers and drinkers.

Matthew Langley has 19 years’ worth of experience in the drinks industry, most recently at Westons Cider. He has also worked for Brothers Drinks Co, Marstons and Bottlegreen Drinks and he has worked across brand management, trade marketing, category management, insight, innovation, strategy and supply chain. 

For more details visit: www.miyagi.co.uk

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