DCS Group is a distributor and manufacturer which was founded in 1994 by Denys C. Shortt OBE. Since then it has delivered 26 years of consecutive sales growth for supplier partners and wholesale and retail customers, earning numerous accolades including five appearances in The Sunday Times Top Track 250.
“We have a really unique spread of customers that enables us to get our branded suppliers into a diverse range of outlets,” says Michael Lorimer, Group CEO.
DCS is able to access the more complex and specialist parts of the market through the five divisions within the group.
Sales, marketing and logistics is the biggest part of the business and consolidates supplies into intricate and specialist routes to market.
The other divisions comprise: a new personal care manufacturing division in Redditch; a Co-pack and re-pack production facility; third party logistics operating out of Banbury; and a trading and export division.
The group remains 100% privately owned, which helps maintain an agile and flexible business model.
DCS is about facilitating efficient and professional solutions. They simplify and consolidate supply chains to minimise costs and maximise sales.
Staying on trend and satisfying consumers’ increasing demand for choice, whilst still delivering an efficient route to market, is a challenge for many businesses. The group supports the growth of market-leading FMCG brands by helping them meet the changing needs of the consumer, building the category story from the latest market data and insight, and giving a competitive advantage by delivering on the needs of the consumer with the right products, in fit-for-purpose packaging, with the right pricing and promotional plans, all backed up by an effective supply chain.
The sales and distribution division manages global FMCG brands in specialist routes to market. “By taking an insight-led, category expert approach, we help customers and suppliers grow sales across core categories and unlock whitespace opportunities in the convenience, wholesale, discount, pharmacy, high street, online, food service, janitorial and office supply channels,” Lorimer continues.
The third party logistics (3PL) division utilises 26 years of warehousing and logistics experience and a comprehensive UK distribution network, offering bespoke logistics services.
The DCS export team builds international brand partnerships on behalf of global manufacturers, offering a transparent and collaborative sales and distribution service that includes residual and clearance support.
Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility
As a distributor the group is acutely aware of its environmental and social responsibilities.
“We work with our suppliers, staff, industry and stakeholders to support a number of important initiatives,” explains Lorimer.
DCS is committed to being carbon neutral by 2025 and has planted 30,000 trees at a local Oxfordshire site in 2020 which it is looking to expand further in 2021.
Along with a number of other community initiatives they support a local honey farm with 40 acres of land dedicated to bees, with further investment planned to grow the bee population in 2021.
Solar panels producing more than 300 MWh and saving 86 tonnes of CO2 per year have been installed on site and the brand new manufacturing facility in Redditch includes a Pigging system, which recovers 99.5% of product in pipes that would otherwise go to waste.
“In addition we are very proud to have achieved continued excellence in meeting specific business goals, with ISO, RSPO, BRC Global Standard and MHRA accreditations and memberships in Sedex, FSC, ACS, H&BA, FWD, BCMPA and the European Recycling Platform,” Lorimer elaborates.
The DCS manufacturing division is a leading, UK-based manufacturer of health and beauty products. Established in 2007, it now operates from a state-of-the-art, 100,000sqft production facility in Redditch off the M42, with an annual production capacity of 200 million units.
Employing 120 people, this brand-new £8.5m facility includes a development laboratory, production facility, microbiology laboratory and warehouse.
Working with internationally recognised brands and retailers to develop, manufacture and launch high quality and affordable Health & Beauty products, both branded and own label products are produced there.
“We wanted a manufacturing facility within the UK and have built our new factory on the basis that it is important for a retailer’s product to be made here. From the consumer point of view it is powerful to have ‘Made in England’ or ‘Made in the UK’ on the packaging,” adds Lorimer.
“The factory is up and running and it is a huge part of our future. There is great pride in the fact we have grown our manufacturing division to be an integral part of our business.”
Whilst hand gel is an important part of the business, it is only one of the many overall capabilities of the factory.
DCS produces a range of health and beauty products, including skin care, hair care, baby care, hand care and pet care. Products include skin cleansers, toners and moisturisers, facial scrubs, eye creams, body shimmers, massage gels, shampoos and conditioners, detanglers, hair gels, bath and shower gels, body spritz, anti-perspirant deodorant roll-ons, baby lotion, baby oil and nappy creams, and many others. It also produces pet care products, including bodywashes and shampoos, detangling sprays and body sprays.
“We already manufacture for a number of high street retailers and we have high hopes to increase this. We also manufacture on behalf of market-leading brands as well as producing own-label products for the leading high street health and beauty retailers, discounters and supermarkets,” Lorimer continues. “Our focus is to help our customers to grow their sales and profits by delivering quality products that sell well.”
From its centre of operations in Redditch, DCS operates a full end-to-end service including laboratory work, market insight based on consumer needs and wants, product development, production, testing, warehousing and logistics solutions. The company can repatriate products that are made abroad and be a supply partner in UK manufacturing for major retailers and own label or brand partners. It is a one stop shop from a manufacturing expertise perspective.
The group’s own Enliven brand sits in the sector to fulfil the need of a quality well priced own-label option for retailers. Beginning life in 1996, Enliven is now a multi-million pound DCS-owned British brand, with all products being manufactured in the UK.
Offering high quality health and beauty products at affordable prices, the 55 SKUs available include hand wash and hand sanitiser, shower gel, shampoo and conditioner, dry shampoo, micellar water, nail polish remover and male toiletries – shaving foam, hair gel and body sprays.
“DCS is proud to be able to offer retailers the Enliven brand which appeals to shoppers looking to support British businesses,” says Lorimer
Products in the range are positioned at an entry-level price point, offering great value whilst still maintaining a high quality. This also helps encourage shoppers to trial new products or categories for the first time. Recent NPD includes the Micellar water which offers a quality product at an accessible price point for first-time buyers. DCS also has 5-litre variants of Enliven hand wash and hand sanitiser for economical usage in back-of-house areas of the store, helping store colleagues stay safe.
Available in supermarkets, discounters, convenience stores and pharmacies across the UK, Enliven is also available in more than 50 countries worldwide.
The DCS Co-Pack facility repackages products for wholesale and retail customers.
“It has been very busy during 2020 and we are expecting this to continue well into 2021,” comments Lorimer.
DCS Co-Packing provides innovative, customised solutions that deliver sales growth for customers and brand manufacturers.
“We specialise in channel-specific, fit-for-purpose packaging and display solutions that help drive sales growth across a range of sales channels, including wholesale, convenience, discount, retail, online, pharmacy, janitorial and office supplies and food service,” Lorimer explains. “Our services include artwork and pack design, creation of customised displays, product labelling, wrapping, and bespoke pack creation. Retailers can benefit from our customised solutions by increasing visibility of products on shelf, improving in-store efficiency, and creating a point of difference that gives businesses a competitive edge.”
The fully integrated service includes product design, procurement, project management, production and distribution, taking the complexity away from customers and suppliers.
Working with their in-house design team, they can create bespoke display and packaging solutions, helping generate in-store theatre and deliver impactful brand messages with custom designed display units, including freestanding and counter-top units improving visibility and driving impulse sales.
“We can also help retailers create a point of difference by customising packs and creating unique, exclusive SKUs,” Lorimer elaborates. “Gift sets are a great way to help differentiate from the competition, as are multi-packs offering great value for the shopper, and trial packs to drive sales and loyalty on new products. Our flexible, hand assembly processes mean we can tailor products to specific requirements.”
DCS sees labelling as one of the fastest and most cost-effective ways to make a product fit for purpose and drive sales in a particular channel. Eye-catching, fully branded outer case labels help products stand out on shelf.
2020 was a challenging year with spikes in demand but moving forward one of the opportunities for DCS is how they work closely with their supplier, retail and wholesale partners to educate and drive the data and insight story to customers.
“We know if a store has got a certain amount of space, then there are must-stock products they should have on the shelf because people will buy them,” Lorimer advises. “The support we can give our branded suppliers and customers will continue to evolve. The bigger our partners grow, the more we can be part of their success story.
“Our ambition is to build a sustainable business and all divisions are targeted for growth,” Lorimer concludes. “We are fast, flexible and flowing and we are fully invested in the future.”