How the industry can reap the rewards of a modern supply chain

Kim Bayley praises industry investment and modernisation

In a world of music streaming and video on demand, it’s sometimes easy to forget about physical entertainment and the supply chain for delivering these products. Only recently ERA reported that music, video and games had become a majority subscription and online rental market for the first time in entertainment’s history. But that doesn’t mean to say that the physical market faces a bleak future. In fact, I’d like to think it’s quite the opposite.

Whilst it’s no surprise that the physical supply chain faces some challenges as volumes decline and retail and customer demands for just in time delivery increase- distributors, labels and manufacturers have been working behind the scenes and investing heavily in modernising the chain.


Because they know that an efficient and modern supply chain not only brings down future costs but more importantly, it maximises the opportunity for growth for retailers and suppliers alike.   

So it’s been really encouraging to see ERA’s distribution members making significant investments in their equipment, warehouses and technology over the past year.

You only have to take a look at Gardners, known for being one of the UK’s largest and longest established entertainment suppliers, who have been making significant changes behind the scenes to keep up with customer demand. Brand-new picking units have been installed, with full automation, to allow both storage and picking of orders to be handled in a much quicker and a more cost-effective manner. This has effectively allowed them to double the capacity of stock available to keep up with customer demand.

Another huge development behind the scenes, particularly servicing the vinyl and CD market, is Proper Music Group’s move to a brand new 100,000 square ft warehouse. After outgrowing their previous distribution centre of 12 years, they are now able to stock more lines and manage a higher frequency of picking orders to supply more retailers and customers than ever before. 

Both of these investments go a long way to easing the pressure on the chain and ensuring physical product remains an attractive proposition for both major retailers and the end consumer long into the future.

And it doesn’t stop there. 

It’s not only distribution that is modernising but also the manufacturing industry. We know that several new pressing plants have opened up around the world in the past couple of years which does a tremendous job of alleviating the pressures in demand for the physical format.

And equally, within suppliers themselves we are seeing investment into new infrastructure to help retailers.  Only recently we praised Universal Music Group’s unveiling of a new retail web portal that will undoubtedly transform the speed and efficiency of buying stock for high street retailers.  These are all great changes that will no doubt drive growth and inspire retailer confidence. 

However, that doesn’t mean to say that changes in the supply chain should stop here. 

There are of course still challengers and certainly no time for the industry to stand still. Increases in online demand which leads to an increase in single unit orders is placing extra strain on the supply chain’s ability to cope with demand. As this trend continues we should all be exploring new ways to make the supply chain even more efficient

ERA members are all too aware of the many challenges in the future and will continue to work with their supply partners to create further efficiencies going forward. 

After all, the investment made already goes to show that suppliers and retailers can both reap the rewards of modernising the supply chain in physical entertainment.  

Share with