With the UK logistics sector in turmoil, one operator is bucking the trend by revealing strong growth in its annual results.
Bibby Distribution, one of the top ten UK logistics providers, reported significant growth during 2008 compared to 2007 with a 3.3 per cent increase in turnover and four per cent increase in operating profit.
The results also mean the company has achieved an average annual growth of 12 per cent per annum over the last five years.
Iain Speak, chief executive of Bibby Distribution, believes the company has achieved the results due to its diversified customer base, as well as an "unswerving" embrace of change. Business change is the only certainty and it’s our job to facilitate and manage when our customers business needs action.
He said: "Bibby Distribution is a privately owned business that’s part of a wider group with more than 200 years of success under its belt. Being part of the Bibby Line Group puts us in a stronger position than many others, allowing us to take the long-term view to guarantee future success for both our own business and those of our customers.
"While some firms are struggling due to the recession, we are fortunate enough to have a diverse customer base, with some sectors such as food and drink performing particularly well."
Bibby Distribution also attributes the pattern of continued growth to the devolution of decision-making powers to its strong management teams. By giving managers the opportunity to make local decisions at a local level, the company believes its ability to adapt to change has never been stronger, and this has also strengthened relationships with clients who benefit from the flexibility such a system affords.
To ensure it recruits and retains quality staff, Bibby Distribution is also investing heavily in training and development. Currently, some 400 drivers are completing NVQs and the company is looking towards apprenticeships as a way of attracting high-quality ‘can do’ applicants across a range of job types, including warehousing and management roles.
In terms of future growth, Iain Speak believes Bibby Distribution is well placed to continue its ascendency: "We are confident that we will continue to grow in spite of and because of the fluctuations in the market. We are already ahead of budgets for this year and believe that, through organic growth and strategic acquisition, we will be reporting even stronger results this time next year.
"Of course, the most important consideration for our business is to continue to work with and support our customers to ensure they remain profitable and strong throughout these difficult times and to evolve as needs demand. We have to continually deliver value!"
Bibby Distribution currently operates from more than 60 locations across the UK, employs around 2,500 people and manages over two million square feet of warehousing space.