The ACI Difference: Why our customers are at the heart of our business

August 2022

Henry Ford famously said, “If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.” Even though the world we live in has changed dramatically since Ford’s words, to this day they still ring true.

Think about the way businesses now approach sustainability and social equality. They define realistic and achievable goals, then set out to measure them. The results, whether positive or negative, are then addressed, actioned and eventually improved upon. So long as a team shares the same vision or the same goal, there will always be progress. But it’s not always easy.

If the past few years have taught us anything, it’s that life can throw many curveballs. Between Covid-19, the war in Ukraine and the cost-of-living crisis, there may be times when a team feels like they are standing still or taking a step back. Just when a business thinks they have overcome the challenges, things change, and we are forced to adapt quickly and efficiently.

Positive disruption

As a family business, ACI Group understands that to provide a complete distribution service, we must share the same vision and positively disrupt a model that’s traditionally been too rigid in its approach. This conventional model has three levels, starting with the producer, then moving to wholesaler and the retailer. This is a siloed business model, where each party is there to protect their own best interests. It encourages retailers to ‘cut the middle-man’ and go direct to get the best prices. Yet in doing so, they fail to see the bigger picture.

Going direct means finding a solution to the challenges we now face in the supply chain, such as surging prices, goods or raw material shortages and potentially finding alternative routes due to the invasion in Ukraine. Without a distributor, those who go direct may find that their savings are significantly reduced and what was meant to be an efficient distribution model is now increasingly complex.

At ACI Group, we have a team of committed people that all share in one vision: to focus on joining both the needs of our customers and our suppliers.

A customer-centric approach

Our innovative distribution model puts customers at the heart of our business. We build our distribution services around customer needs, improving resilience to factors that are usually outside of their control.

For example, partnering with ACI Group means access to warehouse partners in multiple locations across Europe and the UK. This includes hauliers that have several backup options. It’s as they say in IT, the 3-2-1 backup rule exists so that you have one primary backup (your distributor) and two copies of your data (their failover warehouses A, B or C) in different regions or countries. Not only does this provide extra security for you, but it also enhances trust and loyalty among your customers. A win: win environment.

When customers with ACI Group, their distribution headaches are no more. From point of delivery through to finished product, we understand the pain points and tailor our services to support the areas in the supply chain that require more stability and flexibility.

A sustainable future

Today, many businesses are looking at the bigger picture. Major decisions, like discontinuing operations in Russia, protecting employees in countries that are at risk and measuring environmental targets [1], are all forming a large part of a company’s business strategy. ESG targets are not just a brand-building exercise, they are helping to create a sustainable future.

Consumers are also clamouring for companies to step up to the plate. According to Deloitte’s 2022 Sustainable Consumer Survey [2], consumers believe the most important environmentally sustainable or ethical practices are:

- Producing sustainable packaging and products
- Reducing waste in manufacturing processes
- Committing to ethical working practices
- Reducing carbon footprint
- Respect for human rights

To meet consumer demand in this area, we are working closely with a team of independent practitioners as part of our Social Value Quality Mark (SVQM) accreditation to measure social, environmental and ethical business practices in the supply chain.

As part of our work with SVQM, we aim to carry out monthly supply chain reviews to understand where potential blockers or risks may appear, so we can plan and implement alternative options for our customers. In addition, simplifying the complex landscape of distribution is also in our remit, with an aim to reduce the overall carbon footprint of our value chains.

It is through collaboration with our customers and suppliers that will enable us to deliver more sustainability in the supply chain. Henry Ford was correct, but perhaps only in the context that success takes care of itself when all business agree to the same goal – and he never said that it would be easy.

1McKinsey, Does ESG really matter – any why?, August 2022
2. Deloitte, How consumers are embracing sustainability, 2022

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