Fri | Jul 30, 2021

Manpower expands into distribution

Published:Sunday | May 16, 2021 | 12:06 AMNeville Graham - Business Reporter

Audrey Hinchcliffe, founder of Manpower & Maintenance Services Group.
Audrey Hinchcliffe, founder of Manpower & Maintenance Services Group.

Catching a wave generated by client requests and a chance meeting at an expo in Colombia, Manpower...

Catching a wave generated by client requests and a chance meeting at an expo in Colombia, Manpower & Maintenance Services Group, MMS, is edging its way into distribution.

The company recently opened a new sales and distribution centre in Kingston and before year-end it will have satellite locations in Mandeville and Montego Bay. A third centre is in the planning stages for the environs of Ocho Rios.

CEO Audrey Hinchcliffe said that with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, companies and government agencies started to ask MMS to supply hand sanitisers and personal protective equipment, PPEs, in addition to the training and management of ancillary staff.

“We began bidding on Government supply contracts, including the JCF [Jamaica Constabulary Force] and the health services and other entities. In winning those bids, we realised that there was an opportunity to do it on a wider scale and so we took the plunge,” Hinchcliffe told the Financial Gleaner.

She adds that two years ago her staff established links with a number of companies in Colombia at an expo, with MMS being the only Jamaican company in attendance. Those links paid dividends, she said, as MMS leveraged the relationship to supply, in one instance, a million masks to a Jamaican company that operates regionally.

“When everybody started clamouring for masks, we reconnected with Fuller Pinto out of Colombia, who has a huge distribution channel but no link into Jamaica,” she said.

Sourcing $30 million from company funds to repurpose and upgrade MMS’ former 14 Collins Green Avenue base and bring in two container loads of supplies, was enough to satisfy urgent requests and the orders that followed when word got around.

“The first day we opened without any advertising or fanfare, and by that afternoon people were beating a path to our door to make purchases,” Hinchcliffe said.

The next move is to staff the Montego Bay and Mandeville offices, and execute the Ocho Rios plan.

The inventory of the new facility spans over 150 products, and can be purchased on location or online. The company also provides delivery services.

neville.graham@gleanerjm.com