Doug Shawcross, MD of Anglia Freight shares his thoughts on 2017 and what he thinks 2018 has in store for Anglia Freight and the logistics industry.

Was 2017 a good year for Anglia Freight?
Anglia Freight enjoyed another year of impressive growth with company turnover up 22% for the third year running. We have welcomed on board several significant new customers and have enjoyed seeing our existing customers grow from strength to strength. With this we have also welcomed seven new positions into the company, ranging from additional drivers to strengthening our Customer Service and Transport teams.

What were the highs?
One of the highs would have to be winning the Palletline ‘Service Award’ as part of Palletline’s 25th Anniversary celebrations earlier in the year. We’ve also successfully rolled out our Anglia Freight Vision and Values, which have been positively embraced and integrated by the team. You can find out more by visiting our ‘About Us‘ page on our website.

What were the lows?
We’d been itching to get our Vision and Values presented to staff and it was frustrating that this took a while to get right. However, we’re glad we did it in the end, it just meant we had to sit on our hands for a bit!

Any challenges?
Like many other hauliers we’ve spoken to, there are some industry challenges around fuel price increases, skilled staff shortages and uncertain economic times. On the whole, we’ve dealt with these quite well by improving efficiencies and working as a team to ensure ‘it’s business as usual’ for our customers. We did find the beginning of 2017 sluggish, which seemed to reflect the nervous ‘wait and see’ mood of the country at the time. Luckily, this didn’t last long and as soon as things started hotting up and got going, we’ve not looked back since.

What top 3 things did you learn as a business?

1. We exist to realise and inspire potential to enrich people’s lives. This sentiment is now part of our Vision and Values.
2. We know that we deliver exceptional customer service, but it was great to have this validated by winning the Palletline ‘Service Award’. We must be doing something right!
3. We have outstanding people working for us that have thrived under the challenging conditions presented by our growth. I would like to thank the staff who showed enormous dedication when there quite literally seemed to be not enough hours in the day but somehow made it happen.

What are you going to do better?
We have some big plans to ensure our customers continue to get the best customer service and highest service levels in our industry. All we can say is…watch this space!

In 3 words, sum up what 2017 meant for Anglia Freight
1. Growth
2. Determination
3. Teamwork

What are the top 3 big things happening for Anglia Freight in 2018?
1. It’s our 25th Anniversary! We are sure to be celebrating in style!
2. We are currently working on some very exciting IT improvements with our Palletline network and other providers that will enhance efficiencies and ensure peace of mind for our customers.
3. With buoyant volumes expected to continue, we will carry on resourcing and enhancing our processes to keep continuity and service levels high.

What do you think will be the challenges for Anglia Freight in 2018?
There is still uncertainty over the BREXIT negotiations, so we’ll see where these go. However, the biggest challenge is going to be recruiting the right skilled staff and ensuring we can help them progress their careers for the future.

What are the big things to look out for within the freight industry?
With Innovation at the forefront of our mind, we are always keen to look out for new technology that could help improve our processes as well as where progress within the industry is headed.

Give me 3 words that illustrate what we will see from Anglia Freight in 2018
1. Celebrations
2. Loyalty
3. (Exceptional) Service!

December’s blog is from our very own Pete Holden who has given us an insight into what it’s like being Depot Principal for both Palletline and Hazchem. He shares his thoughts on what its like to be on the inside of both organisations as well as being the Network Director for Anglia Freight.

You are Depot Principal for both Palletline and Hazchem, but what does this mean? It means taking overall responsibility for my teams’ actions in terms of service delivery, making sure we can deliver on what we say we will. It is also a more customer-facing role, regularly contacting customers as well as members of the Hazchem and Palletline networks.

Why did you get involved? I am incredibly passionate about collaborative logistics and that’s why I got involved. Being able to assist and action the passing of freight between partners, overnight, to achieve an overarching goal, while playing the part of customer and supplier, excites me hugely. My background means that I’m well versed in various network freight roles. Following on from Anglia Freight’s recent succession planning exercise, where we shaped the ‘next generation’ Board of Directors, this naturally lead to me taking on the mantle from our founder, Geoff Moulton.

Describe your role as Depot Principal and what’s the best thing about it? Ultimately, I deal with matters that are escalated directly to me for resolution, but as the team we’ve created is so strong, this means that this is a rare occurrence. We work well together and are united towards a common goal as well as building relationships with other depots. It’s also our aim to allow our teams complete autonomy for decision making on a day to day basis. The best thing about it? That would have to be working with like-minded, regional, family run logistics businesses within the UK and Europe which includes all staff at Anglia Freight and key customers and staff at Palletline and Hazchem.

What sort of things do you get involved in? I usually get involved when my team needs support to navigate through challenging issues and situations. I also get involved when we have to quote and move unusual sized freight, or freight that needs to be transported to tricky locations such as boats, to the top of tower blocks, or high-security sites. In particular, we were involved in transporting bottled water to the Olympic stadiums during the London 2012 Olympics. This came with its own challenges including high levels of security authorisation and we delivered a lot of freight in and around London at night to avoid congestion.

What do you think will be the big news and challenges for Palletline & Hazchem in 2018 and how will this affect Anglia Freight? We have a new Palletline regional hub opening in Q2 of 2018 and we’ll have a new central Hazchem hub opening in Hinckley in 2019. This will add capacity and operational efficiencies to our business by allowing more freight to be handled in a shorter period of time. It effectively gives Anglia Freight more flexibility and headroom. The main challenges will relate to increasing fuel costs and staffing as we may see UK foreign workers returning to their countries of origin as a result of Brexit. This will affect our customers because we pass on fuel variations via a price linked mechanism and we rely on both UK and European drivers to pilot our fleet.

On Saturday 10th June 2017, twelve members of the Anglia Freight team attended the 25th Anniversary Palletline Awards Dinner.

This prestigious event was held inside our Central hub, located next to the NEC complex in Birmingham. The hub was operational at 5am on the Saturday morning and the event organisers managed to stage a spectacular event just the same evening.

I am very pleased to announce that in addition to the company reporting a strong ongoing growth trend, Anglia Freight won a major business award that night. ‘The Palletline Service Award 2016-17’. The panel of judges were looking for evidence of high levels of service, maintaining service excellence through peak times and a clear demonstration that service commitment is driven from the top down within the business. The awards are hotly contested and coveted by all the 88 Palletline depots nationwide.

Depot Principal and Network Director, Pete Holden commented, “We are all so proud of the recognition that this award shows. Every single member of our staff team played their part in winning this. It’s a real measure of achievement and success within the Network and we are truly grateful. I am very positive about the future of the business with our freight in very safe hands within the Palletline Network”.

Managing Director, Doug Shawcross commented, “Service is such an important offering to our customers and our key differentiator to the competition. It’s the Holy Grail for logistics businesses!”

Here’s to the next 25 years of changing the industry!


Anglia Freight Cross Dock

Saturday 17th September 2016 will go down in the history books for Anglia Freight! Our new £500,000 transit hub facility was officially opened at our site on Mid Suffolk Business Park.

This is an exciting new chapter for us in our business expansion story. We’ve been at this site delivering freight on behalf of our customers for just over 15 years. It’s a great location and we employ over 80 people from the local community.

Our investment in the new 17,000sq ft. facility means we can continue to grow our business from strength to strength. It provides a covered loading and unloading area which is directly connected to the warehouse as well as low energy lighting and solar power generation, benefiting customers and employees alike.

Our process for moving pallets through the Anglia Freight system will be quicker, safer and more efficient, improving the quality of service for our customers as well as increasing the volume of pallets that Anglia Freight can handle each night.

We’d like to say a huge ‘thank you’ to everyone that helped us celebrate! To the Anglia Freight team and their families, as well as Amy Liston of Palletline and Nada Marinovic of the HazChem Network who performed the official opening and cut the ribbon – thank you for your continued support.

New Transit Hub – Benefits to our Customers and Employees

1.     1-way traffic system

  • We can load and unload pallets quicker and move them more efficiently through the Anglia Freight system
  • All Priority Freight will have their own time slot making it easier for them to hit their connections on time

2.     Undercover and fully lit

  • Freight is kept dry and protected
  • Pallets can be labelled easier and quicker
  • A more comfortable and hospitable working environment for our teams

3.     Improved Health & Safety

  • A simpler and more straightforward layout enhances our already high levels of Health and Safety.  Keeping our teams safe is our priority.

Read more about the official opening in our press coverage in the East Anglian Daily Times.

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