Seven years ago, Linda and Keith Evans, Directors of KE Couriers, decided to change direction.
Living in Corby, Northamptonshire, Keith was working as an engineer and Linda taught and fostered children with autism.
After 18 years in the same company, Keith was fed up with working for someone else, and Linda wanted to return to her native Scotland.
So the couple relocated to Edinburgh and set up KE Couriers. Since taking the plunge, the couple have not looked back. They have built a profitable business specialising in time-sensitive deliveries to the marine and aviation industries.
Their growth and specialisation has been achieved through determination, hard work and taking full advantage of opportunities as they arise. Starting their business from scratch, they joined Courier Exchange, the world’s largest trading hub for the sameday courier and express freight industry.
Using Courier Exchange, KE Couriers developed contacts with other businesses, and won work with Babcock Engineering, a company that builds ships for the Royal Navy. In addition, through developing industry contacts, KE Couriers won work with an airline.
These contracts continue today and KE Couriers is now recognised as a leading courier company in the marine and aviation sectors.
The company holds accreditation that enables drivers to drive airside at BAA-owned airports, including Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen. Such accreditation, which is difficult to achieve – drivers must undergo rigorous checks and training which takes two to three months – enables KE Couriers to drive straight up to aircraft to deliver and collect consignments. In contrast, other couriers have to rely on third parties to move goods to and from the security-restricted areas of airports. KE Couriers is believed to be the only sameday courier company with airside accreditation in the UK.
The company also makes deliveries to naval bases around the UK and works for the Ministry of Defence.
Linda Evans, Director of KE Couriers, said that Courier Exchange was an important tool for the business from the outset.
"Courier Exchange is good to build up a lot of contacts," she said. "You can use it to build up relationships. It is a good networking tool, and you get a lot of good information on the Exchange.
"There are quite a few other exchanges, but Courier Exchange is the best out there by far. It is run much better than any of the others. It is the best, most polished service you will see."
KE Couriers predominantly use Courier Exchange to fill return journeys, sourcing revenue from what would otherwise be unprofitable, empty journeys.
The Edinburgh-based company regularly runs vehicles throughout the UK, Ireland and mainland Europe, to make deliveries, and it is the return journey that KE Couriers will post on the Exchange.
KE Couriers was named the Courier of the Year 2007 by Courier Exchange, which has more than 2,000 members, in recognition of the company’s excellent reputation within the courier industry.
Courier Exchange, which is run by The Transport Exchange Group, enables members to trade loads and journeys and to source available or part-filled vehicles returning to base. Put simply, users with more freight than they can carry post the load on the site, and those with spare capacity register its availability. The parties then arrange the transaction between themselves.
The system increases members’ efficiency as it enables them to reduce the number of empty vehicles they run, making each journey more profitable. The collaborative approach is also good for the bottom line because it enables members to share the cost burden of rising fuel prices, congestion charging and meeting onerous legislation. It also helps subscribers meet customers’ demand for carbon-efficient transport.
Members also have access to a host of other benefits, including a mobile solution enabling them to access the exchange while on the road, and a sophisticated online system which facilitates electronic trading, from order confirmation to invoice approval and payment.
Additionally, Transport Exchange Group’s services are the most secure in the industry. Only once operators have passed rigorous checks, including operator licence, insurance and credit checks, are they allowed to use the site. Members also provide feedback on performance and payment using TEG’s bespoke ratings system. These security features enable members to do business in absolute confidence.
Unlike other electronic exchanges, Courier Exchange is fully managed with support staff available to help subscribers maximise the benefits of using it. It is this high level of customer service that helps differentiate The Transport Exchange Group from other online freight exchanges.
And unlike other electronic exchanges, subscribers only pay an up-front subscription fee – there are no pay-as-you-go charges or commissions charged.
For Linda and Keith Evans of KE Couriers, Courier Exchange has been integral to the success of their business: "Courier Exchange has been very useful to us", added Linda.