A pallet network is only as good as the individual member companies that make up that network and carry out the daily deliveries and collections for the thousands of companies who entrust them with their freight every single day. At UK Pallets, the primary focus is on ensuring the business becomes the network of choice, not only for the customers but also the members who make up the network.
UK Pallets’ Commercial Director Graeme Wilson believes that to be successful, every one of the network’s members has to share the same drive and commitment to quality and operational excellence, and the key to success is centred on open communication, measurement and a total desire for quality and continuous improvement.
Unlike other networks, UK Pallets does not believe in joining fees for its members, or that businesses need to become a shareholder of the network to be part of it. What it does believe is that all members need to share one thing in common – a total commitment to service quality and operational excellence.
UK Pallets’ members are all contractually bound to the network, and have signed up to their commitments in terms of a quality service provision with one of this country’s leading palletised freight distribution organisations.
At UK Pallets a great deal of emphasis is given to ensuring each and every member provides a service that every one of them and their customers would expect to receive. Daily monitors are in place to measure members’ delivery performance and systems compliance, including updating the on-line tracking system and providing duly completed POD’s in a timely manner.
Advanced Delivery Services made the right choice
So while other networks struggle, just how does UK Pallets continue to attract delivery companies?
At the recent UK Pallets conference Geraldine Haynes, the Managing Director of one such member, Advanced Delivery Services (ADS), outlined why they chose to become and continue to operate as, a member of the UK Pallets network:
“I truly believe that we made the right choice when we chose to join UK Pallets. I have had experience of other networks and was a member of a couple of them, so when the time came to consider a change, I carefully reflected on what I and we at ADS wanted from a network.
“I wanted excellent service levels, where my customers’ consignments would be given the same priority as the delivery depot’s own customers. I wanted good communication, so in the event of a problem it would be communicated to me and I could let my customer know, rather than the other way around. I wanted peace of mind that my deliveries would get to their destinations on time, every time, and I didn’t want to worry about the possible demise of other members and how their financial status would affect my deliveries the following day.
“I wanted a culture where we could all work together for the mutual benefit of each other in the network, and we all give that little bit more to each other. I believe that we got that with UK Pallets. The team there works with us listening to the changes we require, and if they make good business sense they are taken on board and implemented. This close co-operation means we all have the opportunity to benefit from consistent and considerable growth, and UK Pallets recognise that by working together we can, will and do succeed.”
UK Pallets – the network with a great future
It’s been well documented how changes in the retail landscape are forcing companies to re-evaluate their traditional transport solutions. As competition increases, companies need to be able to respond quicker to their customers’ needs and ship smaller and smaller consignments over a shorter period of time while still being cost-effective. The pallet networks make that possible at a far more competitive cost than the traditional third party logistics providers.
UK Pallets see growth coming from companies putting more and more of their volume through networks such as UKP. UK Pallets has successfully grown and developed its business over the last few years, and despite today’s uncertain financial and commercial market will continue to do so over the coming years
“It won’t be easy, we know,” says Commercial Director Graeme Wilson, “but we’ll continue to win business away from our competitors by providing, first and foremost, a better service level. What we won’t do, unlike some of our competitors, is buy business by offering unsustainable rates just so we can fuel our egos by seeing uneconomical growth in pallet numbers.
“We will listen to what our customers want from us and tailor our service offerings to suit their needs, and not try to get them to fit into what we want to give. We will further concentrate our efforts in retaining and growing our existing customer base. Our network, of which we are justifiably proud in terms of their ability and reputation, will continue to provide the highest levels of service, which sets us apart from our competitors.”
Expanding into Europe and beyond
European and international traffic is a key element in UK Pallets’ operations, and the company is experiencing ever increasing demands from its existing customer base to provide services to destinations around the world.
The European Distribution Centre (EDC) at Fradley Park, Lichfield, caters for daily and twice weekly departures to many areas including France, Germany, Benelux, Greece, Spain, Poland and the Czech Republic. The service is tailored to meet customer needs, according to the nature of the freight, its time sensitivity and destination.
For many years now, UK Pallets’ customers have been able to send pallets of goods throughout Europe. However, in order to further develop its European service offering, UKP has now strengthened its business relationship with Dachser. UK Pallets and Dachser recently completed the development of an “On-Line” quotation system, UKP OnLine, which allows all customers with access to find out instantly about the costs and transit times of palletised goods destined for Europe.
As a result of these developments UK Pallets customers can now benefit from daily departures to most European destinations, and the process of sending goods to Europe has been much simplified.
UK Pallets has also been able to reduce significantly the associated costs and charges applicable to these transactions, with recent analysis showing charges quoted being substantially lower than prices traditionally given.
UKP see their worldwide growth continuing as international trade becomes easier and more accessible. For worldwide express parcel and document services, customers also have access to the unrivalled coverage and scope of UKP’s parent company UK Mail.
The last word – Graeme Wilson
“We are proud to be able to consistently report delivery service levels in excess of 99%,” says UK Pallets’ Commercial Director Graeme Wilson, “but that doesn’t happen by accident, and a great deal of our effort is focused on quality and customer service. No one can ever afford to be complacent as far as service is concerned, and at UK Pallets we will continue to focus on improvements.
“We’re not interested in growing volumes that are unsustainable at ridiculously low rates – that wouldn’t be in any one’s long term interest. What we are interested in, and are committed to providing, is a service to our customers that they can rely on both in terms of longevity and quality.
“We work very closely with our customer base and place a great deal of emphasis on building long term relationships, and we will continue to work with them and evaluate additional and added value opportunities and services.
“We have invested heavily throughout our operational infrastructure, and will continue to do so. We will also continue to develop and invest in new technology to enhance our existing I.T. Systems, and we will further promote the name of UK Pallets and its members; and target and win new business from our competition.
“Quite simply, we have a great team here at the hub, a fantastic member network and a great reputation with an enviable customer base, and we provide a good quality cost effective service. And that unbeatable combination forms the basis of our development plans moving forward.”
UK Pallets tel: 01543 267500 www.ukpallets.com