International Diplomatic Supplies launches IDS Europe to offer a 'taste of home' to diplomats worldwide - The Moodie Davitt Report

UAE/INTERNATIONAL. International Diplomatic Supplies (IDS), a company that offers a home-like experience to diplomats from European countries around the world, has launched IDS Europe. IDS Europe said that it will also provide efficient, varied, and cost-effective delivery services to mission in European capital cities.IDS was established in London in 1997 and has since grown to be a major supplier of duty-free goods to the international diplomatic corps.IDS has partnered up with brand owners in order to create a value-priced offering that is representative of each region. IDS said that the goal is to ensure a wide range of products, which includes organic and biodynamic wines from wineries around France, Germany and Spain.Patrick Doyle, founder and CEO of IDS Group, said that he has created an amazing product portfolio. With a dynamic stock holding, we have more than 1,700 wines and 650 spirits brands. We also have nearly 200 beers. We also offer 3,500 European grocery brands. A fantastic team of European salespeople has been recruited, including passionate Italian, Dutch and French salespeople.Leon Ashford, IDS Europe's Managing Director, stated: We are thrilled to offer the IDS levels customer service through our European Office, to diplomats in some the most difficult postings around the globe, as well across Europe.This expansion comes after the October 2020 launch of IDS Miami. American diplomats can access frozen food, US wines, liquor, and craft beers from the US-based company. They also have access to a variety of international brands.IDS Group, headquartered in Dubai, now delivers to diplomats in 60 countries. This group is well-known for supporting children's charities and has increased funding for CSR during the coronavirus pandemic. It also pledged to pay for scholarships for nurses in Haiti through a partnership with Life Skills Haiti.IDS recently made a commitment to reduce its carbon emissions and offset more. IDS has approved South Pole to audit this process. South Pole is a market leader for emissions calculations and supports companies in their quest towards sustainability.IDS claimed that it was the only diplomatic supplier to have been registered as a member of UN Global Compact and therefore no longer produces brochures that need to be sent around the globe. The complete offer can be found at with Patrick Doyle: Expanding, aiming for US$100 Million in turnover and giving backMartin Moodie, IDS Chief Executive Patrick Doyle, spoke with Martin Moodie about his journey, which began in South London and ended in Dubai in 2010. The podcast was released one year ago on 1 July 2020.We discuss the amazing entrepreneurial story of Doyle, learn more about IDS Europe's creation, the process of building new ranges, and how IDS works to improve the reputation of the diplomatic supply industry. We also discuss Doyle's passion for charity, his support for charity, and how IDS Miami has changed lives and provided opportunities for people in Haiti, one of the most impoverished countries in the world.The Moodie Dvitt Report: Tell us about IDS Europe's creation. How did it happen?Patrick Doyle: Our goal is to give European diplomats around world a perfect taste home and the international brands they demand. We have hired salespeople from the region to help us achieve this goal. From one location, we will be able to offer goods from their countries to diplomats and embassies around the globe.We have also taken full control of Diplomatic On Top in Brussels as part of this transition. This is a supply company that we purchased 60% in 2019 and became 100% on the 1st of July. Brussels will be supplied there, and the rest of IDS Europe will become IDS Europe.This project is all-encompassing. Everybody at IDS feels under pressure to deliver, but we are so happy to be a customer-focused company.It will change the way we do business, and how embassies buy supplies. Five years ago, there were many companies selling supplies to diplomats in other countries than the UK.Instead of selling Italian companies with their Italian range to Italian diplomats, or Spanish or German businesses doing the same, we bring the service under one roof and consolidate shipments to several European embassies. Each embassy can place small orders for 20 people. If all their colleagues at other embassies do so, you can fill a container that is competitively shipped and delivered to their door. With such a wide range of people under one roof, this is a new way to do business.Please tell us more about this range and how it is being tailored to different nationalities.Our range wasn't as extensive or varied as it could have been. The Italian wine range we would have created would have been Anglo-Saxon, with wine choices made by UK residents. We have now gone to specialists to purchase not only 80, but 350 Italian wines to be more varied.We also covered the Spanish and German wine regions.An IDS drinks range used to have around 1,000 products. Now it has 2,500 and, if it's on the website. This project has been financed extensively and people have been hired to ensure a seamless experience and great service.Our grocery selection includes 3,500 products. We also have 500-600 French and 350 Italian wines.We aim to source them, find the right Hungarian brandy, Polish vodka, and get it to diplomats around the globe who desire that product.So it is important to employ people from these markets to serve that demand.This is important for both understanding the customers and brands. If an Italian diplomat tells us that he loves Perugia liqueur, our representative can reply, "I know that." This is how we get to the bottom of what our customers want and where to source it.Do you think the international brands will remain dominant and how do you see the assortment changing?Yes, the top brands in drinks are probably 80%. Johnnie Walker and Chivas Regal are important brands, as well as Bacardi and Grey Goose. We also offer other options. Customers can mix and match bottles in most markets. Whitley Neill Gin, for instance, is a popular choice. This blend allows you to mix your own drinks at home. The embassy will also have a wider selection of beverages behind its bars. That diversity is what we love.The 20% of regional or local goods that are beyond the core is what makes the region so valuable. The offer is a source of curiosity and interest because we have selected gins from both Spain and Italy. The offer was sent to NATO partners yesterday, and I was proud of the results when I saw that range.We also carry tobacco, Cuban cigars, cigarettes, and a wide range of cosmetics, perfumes, and cosmetics. Although we have been asked to supply luxury watches, this is something that we have never done at a high level. Although we haven't had many contacts with brand leaders regarding supplying diplomats, we know there is a demand. Our journey is 24 years old, but we have learned that new markets and business relationships with foreign nationalities can lead to a demand for new products. We will do our best to meet that demand.[Click the icon to listen the Patrick Doyle Podcast starting 1 July 2020]Is it possible to increase complexity and thus cost by tailoring the demand?If there were many small businesses doing this, each with its own financial and buying teams, it would be possible. We have the same IDS executive team, the same customer service team and we have the same IDS executive manager. We are now all online so it is just a matter of updating our website. Also, we have hired some salespeople. We believe we are innovative and competitive.Last year, you opened an IDS office at Miami. What have been the results?It took until October to make the decision, source and partner with brands, create a new division and open a bank account. Then, we launched with stock and warehouse worth US$1million. I hadn't even been to Miami by then.Our service has been excellent. Although we still have much to do, we are talking with US embassies about repeat business. This has allowed us to grow our business with new accounts in Latin America. Because I was able to see how it worked, I prepared a plan for Europe in 2021.Let's talk about the structure of your business. Do you have fixed contracts with embassies? Or is diplomatic supply just about providing the best service at the most affordable price?It is competitive. Although we have some contracts with international organizations, every embassy order is available to us every time. It is important to improve your product range and remain competitive. It's not an easy task. It is not easy. You can set up a business to have a certain amount of staff, investments, and stock levels in order to provide a service. But none of these things are guaranteed. This means you need to be vigilant and extremely accurate with your stock picking. We as a team ensure that every detail is taken care of to provide the best service.Each IDS operation is a separate entity. IDS UK supplies foreign embassies not only in London, but also in West Africa and other countries that purchase from the UK range. The US Embassy in Tunisia will order State Department personnel from Miami. This is then packed for each diplomat, and labeled. It's shipped from Miami or another northern port and delivered to the respective families.There are no physical stores at the moment. All of our information is now digital. We also follow the UN Sustainable Development Goals blueprint and no longer produce brochures. These brochures had 400 pages and were distributed in thousands around the globe. It was part of our commitment towards the planet that we would stop making them. It's also a more dynamic way of selling. We can add vodka to an offer quickly if someone approaches us with a vodka. For a brochure that would be published in summer, you had to make the decision in February. It then lasted for another year. We can now guarantee that all items on the website are in stock. We can quickly ship goods anywhere in the world, after we have made the decision and implemented it.We want to hear about your business performance, COVID-19's impact on it and other targets.COVID-19 made a significant impact. It was an emotional rollercoaster. Some diplomats were removed from certain places in the initial phase. We had also cancelled orders during the downturn. We saw the benefits of people entertaining or eating at home and not dining out. And because we sell groceries, we saw a huge upturn. As orders rose, it was positive throughout 2020. Last year was our most successful year, and Q1 2021 was the best quarter ever.We were ahead of our target for the first six month of 2021 as a company. We expect +20% growth in the first six months of 2021, and we aim for +20% per year over the next four years, bringing us to US$100million turnover.What is driving this? It is often additional business from existing markets. We now serve 12-15 embassies in East Africa, where previously we may have served only two or three. With some new accounts and markets from Miami, we can deliver more often. That is the source of our growth.We have opened new markets by launching in Miami. This allows us to supply American embassies, with a US-focused offering of bourbon and craft beers as well as 3,000-4,000 American grocery items. This will help Europe grow, and it will have a positive impact on the rest of our business. You can purchase 500 French wines and supply them to other operations or regions that could benefit. It's thrilling. We believe that we have an excellent coverage of the globe, the platform to sustainably grow and the attitude to make it happen.What do you think the future holds for your business and the diplomatic sector? Are you concerned about the way that certain brands view your business?Diplomatic can be translated as parallel for some people. This is not a new concept, but it was something I heard when I tried to open new accounts in Miami for my business. However, I invite everyone to review what we do and to view our books. If it is going to an international organization or embassy, not a single bottle leaves the company.My business is built around service. We provide service to 60 countries, including Colombia, China, and many other places. After 20 years in business, you call a potential supplier to find out if they don't want to do diplomatic work.It has been our competitors that have done this. If those businesses are unable to make a profit and the majority of their business is sold through other channels, I would not be surprised if they go under.This is what I can assure you: We will never sell anything to anyone outside of our channel. This message must be heard by brand owners. Diageo was inspired to examine what we do, and they can confirm that. It doesn't matter where it goes. We can safely say that we started from a good position, thanks to the trust and support of Pernod Ricard, Diageo and other top brands.You spoke with us last year about how important it was to give back to the company and to yourself. Please tell us about any recent initiatives.People sent me many positive messages about our conversation one year ago. This is something I value very highly. We plan to add a charity each year from those who are very clear about their work. It will always be an important part of who I am and what our company does in its business.Inspiration comes largely from people who see the wrong in things and decide to change them. It doesn't matter if someone has identified the problem and the money goes directly to solving it. We try to send it directly to charity, not to large organisations with well-paid CEOs in London. It is used to solve the problem. It is our desire to make a difference and it opens up the possibility to do more.When we opened IDS Miami, we adopted Life Skills Haiti, an organization run by Jean Pillard, a former Haitian Ambassador to London. Jean was someone I had the pleasure of getting to know during his time in London. I called him and we discussed ideas and ways we could raise funds.He shared with me the story about a young girl who signed for a Haitian nursing program, but was charged US$1,500. Despite being the brightest and most talented student in her class, her family couldn't afford to pay her tuition. Her mother went along with her to the organizers to ask if she wanted money or nurses.Here you have it, a young girl desperate for success. The only thing stopping her from succeeding is money. That was the first thing that struck me. I stated that once IDS Miami launches, we would pay for ten nurses' training. We have gone even further. We fund another nursing scholarship once an embassy has reached US$100,000. If they do, we invite them to fund another nurse.Three nurses could be awarded a scholarship for every $100,000. The US Embassy in Tunis just did this. We will announce to Life Skills Haiti that three more nurses will receive scholarships starting September from this client. Just now, we heard that another embassy has achieved this milestone. We will also do three more.It makes a difference over time, and it is only 1.5% of the turnover for an embassy client. It's a positive impact you can make on the individual, their family, and the entire community. This means that you don't rely on aid as much. You are contributing to the growth of an economy. The key thing is that it can be sustained. In the future, we will do even more.International Diplomatic Supplies (IDS), a growing global force, was founded in 1997 to supply embassies in London and export British embassies all over the globe. Intagulf, a port hub in Dubai, merged with IDS Dubai in 2010. The business continued to grow. IDS UK operations were able to concentrate on London, and exports to Europe, North Africa and Africa. IDS Dubai operations were able to focus on East Africa and the Middle East. IDS Europe and IDS Miami were opened by IDS in the last year to better serve their global client base.Profile of some key CSR programs in International Diplomatic SuppliesGentle Hands, a Christian social welfare agency located in Metro Manila, is called a Christian Social Welfare Agency. The charity has a tagline "There is hope in love" and aims to provide a place for children in crisis to be rescued and healed. Its mission is provide hope and family-style care for traumatized children. The charity's goal is to offer holistic intervention to all children it serves. Gentle Hands 24 hour Residential Care Facility offers medical, nutritional and home life counselling, as well as Christian living programs to orphaned, neglected, and abandoned children in the Philippines.