UPN also deliver the most cost effective and efficient service, underpinned by the most advanced technology available. UPN currently has over 90 members within its UK network.

David-Brown---UPN-Managing-DirectorThe UPN network of more than 90 UK member locations delivers a seamless delivery and collection service across the UK and Europe. UPN has evolved over more than a decade to provide truly first class delivery for palletised freight. UPN services are underpinned by the most advanced IT systems including the Pallet Network sector’s first successful real-time signature capture system.

WLN – As a leading supplier in the Pallet Networks category, what has the last year been like for your business? How about the rest of your sector?

2015 has been a fantastic year for UPN. We have continued to see our membership grow and grow with high quality new additions. In total 24 new members have joined UPN in 2015. This growth has allowed us to consolidate areas and provide even greater levels of service across the board. UPN services continue to maintain over 99% service level performance even with the additional 20+% volume growth we have seen this year.

With regard to the sector overall, as we all know we saw one network disappear during 2015, although I do not believe its disappearance is a reflection on the market as a whole. The market has continued to grow in line with previous years but the demise of UK Pallets highlights that it is really important to invest in your network and your members. The pallet network concept is without doubt currently one of the fastest growing transport and logistics sectors in the UK.

WLN – What are your best-known products and services?

I would say that UPN are best known for our innovative, market leading IT systems, which I really believe are the best in our sector. UPN also offer the widest range of pallet options within the sector, with our full, half, quarter, unique micro, euro, and oversized pallet options.

WLN – What makes you the first choice supplier in your field?

For members looking to join a network it’s our honest and open relationships with all our members. This is a real key to our network retention and growth. Other deciding factors as previously mentioned are the overall UPN service range and performance and our unique IT support systems.

WLN – What changes have you made to your core offering in the last year?

The biggest changes are our increased density of coverage through the major expansion of our member network and our ongoing IT advancements.

WLN – What new products and services have you introduced?

We already offer a fully comprehensive range of services that customers and members alike have continued to take advantage of. We will continually look wherever we can to expand on our leading edge service offering.

UPN will also continue to press ahead and further refine our unique IT advancements.

Our new advanced shipping notification is now available by SMS as well as email. Our new Hub Efficiency App has massively assisted our central team in improved nighttime turnaround performance.

SmartPOD our new Live Signature Capture App will significantly boost our nationwide POD capability. Not forgetting of course that these new IT innovations are complementary to the UPN mobile track and trace facility.

W&LN---Leading-Edge-Pallet-Network-Sector-IT---David-Brown-Interview-PageWLN – What industries are your customers in?

UPN customers are wide ranging, from the NHS to the big motor manufacturers, and all extremes in between. Everything really! Our unique Micro Pallet is great for sectors such as the print sector with heavy small pallets. Our client range is vast and we aim to offer them all the same level of respect, expertise and efficiency.

WLN – How do your products and services help customers become more efficient, greener, or work safer?

With our hub and spoke Pallet Network system UPN operate a truly green approach. This type of distribution system ensures a minimum of stem mileage, and maximum fleet utilisation. Indeed when layered onto the unique pallet range offering now available from UPN I would say that we are now one of the UK leaders in vehicle fleet utilisation. I would like to add also that at our Lichfield Hub we use the latest green fuels to help minimise our carbon footprint.

WLN – Can you tell us about some of your customers and the work you do for them?

As a network, UPN has always been fully focused on our members and their customers, unlike some other networks that divert focus onto house accounts which I believe can be at the expense of their own membership.

WLN – Is there a recent or current project that stands out as a showcase for your company? Can you tell us about it?

We are very proud and excited to launch our unique new Live Signature Capture App – SmartPOD. It has been developed in-house and is taking us to the next level in signature capture. The SmartPOD is now available for both Android and Apple smart phones.

These phones make up over 95% of the mobile market enabling us to maximise Live Signature Capture. UPN were the first network to introduce Live Signature Capture and I firmly believe that with this new App we will again be stealing a march on our competitors.

The UPN IT team has developed an internal efficiency App to provide clear, real time visibility of all aspects of vehicle movements and loading profiles within the UPN Hub operation. This comprehensive visibility allows the UPN night team to make rapid informed decisions on key specifics within our nightly traffic flow and ensure maximum efficiency throughout our Hub site.

WLN – What were your company’s biggest achievements in the last 12 months?

Our biggest achievement has been the ability to maintain over 99% service level performance offered to both members and to client companies alike, whilst at the same time growing the UPN network and volumes across the board. This achievement would be coupled with the ongoing market leading IT innovation advancements that UPN has become noted for. Our new SmartPOD Live Signature Capture App and our new Hub Operational Efficiency App were both created and developed totally in house and are bespoke to UPN.


WLN – Are you currently investing in the business, taking on staff, or going into new markets or countries? If so, how’s it going?

Investment in UPN is always ongoing, whether through personnel resource, IT, or infrastructure. When I became UPN Managing Director at the beginning of the year I inherited a good solid team. I have been able to strengthen this team considerably this year with the addition of three highly experienced new Regional Directors, Andrew Knowles, Jayne Lowndes, and Kevin Nightingale.

Operationally we have reduced the number of pallets we expect each forklift truck driver to handle during a single shift and as a result added four drivers to our overnight team. With regard to going into new countries, it is important that we provide a European offering, however our focus is to provide the best possible service in the industry to all our UK customers.

WLN – What are you doing to bring on new talent and raise skills levels in your company?

Continued investment in personnel is key to the success of any business. We continue to invest across the board in staff training. Indeed members of our IT department have been Degree educated through UPN. We take training seriously.

WLN – What are the major issues facing the Pallet Networks category as we go forward? How is your company addressing them?

The biggest issue in our sector is driver shortages. The current average age of drivers I believe is around 50 plus. CPC requirements and the cost of training and insurance have made being a driver a prohibitive career for younger people. There is a lack of ways of attracting the younger generation to a career as a driver.

UPN have identified this issue as an area that we feel we need to be proactive in as a business to help our industry to reignite a passion for logistics within each new generation coming through.

An ongoing issue is the fuel issue and its volatile unpredictability. UPN through the APN has been a strong supporter of the Fair Fuel initiative generating a strong voice to minimise the ongoing impact on budgetary planning of this key financial variable.

W&LN---UPN-LogoWLN – Will you be exhibiting at any major trade shows in the coming year?

Watch this space!

WLN – What other big news from UPN can our readers look forward to reading in Warehouse and Logistics News in 2016?

There are exciting times ahead for UPN. We have just extended our lease at our 19 acre site at Fradley Park and are now investing in a 50,000 square foot extension.

This development will expand our Hub facility to over 250,000 square feet and give UPN the capacity to handle over 11,000 pallets each night.

UPN have a great team in place across all elements of our business. Our membership is strong and unified. Our IT systems are second to none. It is going to be a big year for UPN.

Again, watch this space!

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