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City Link helps MDA bring marketing plans to life

For the past 23 years MDA has been helping some of Britain’s biggest brands bring their plans to life by supplying diverse packs of promotional materials to retail outlets and venues throughout the UK.

With customers such as Coca-Cola, Cadbury, Bacardi, Virgin Trains and Barclays, and experience of supporting promotional activities at some of the world’s most high-profile events, MDA has a reputation for excellence.

From its headquarters and award-winning warehousing at Blackburn it dispatches over one million orders a year, from simple items that can fit into a single envelope through to combinations of branded goods for a nationwide promotion.

Many of these promotions are time-critical: marketing materials often have to arrive at thousands of outlets in time for a campaign to be launched simultaneously across the country without any hitches.

With such demanding timescales and varied requirements, MDA needed a carrier that was flexible, responsive, reliable and secure, and it found the ideal partner in City Link, the premium express delivery company.

Dale Stokes, Managing Director of MDA, said: "City Link is more than just a carrier to us, it is a truly outsourced transport solution. It has really integrated into our business – City Link is effectively our transport department.

"They are specialists at what they do and that allows us to concentrate on being specialists at what we do – project management and marketing campaigns."

Indeed MDA has been so impressed with the quality of City Link’s services that it now uses the carrier exclusively.

For the past three years, two City Link client team members have been working at MDA headquarters on special projects and pro-active service solutions alongside MDA staff to better understand the needs of the business.

Since the start of 2011, when City Link opened a sortation office on site, a team of ten City Link operatives has worked in shifts, loading MDA parcels directly onto trailers, sorting them into cages according to final destination postcodes. This enables the trailers to go directly to City Link’s Coventry Hub, saving time and money.

"One of the main benefits to MDA of using City Link is its caged distribution," said Mr Stokes. "We ship a lot of goods that can be easily damaged, such as glassware for promotions in pubs, or posters that can be easily crushed.

"We like the fact that our goods go directly into the cage at our premises and are not touched until the final part of their journey. It helps to improve our customer service."

MDA’s consignments can range from simple packages to collections of around 20 items such as posters, t-shirts; bar towels and branded glasses that all need to arrive together to support campaigns at multiple venues.

For particularly challenging consignments City Link’s embedded client team members are relied upon to come up with the most cost-effective and timely solutions.

"We get consignments of every size and shape imaginable," said Mr. Stokes. "For one campaign, for example, we had to deliver four metre square ‘jumbrellas’ that were designed for use in the outdoor smoking areas of pubs.

"The jumbrellas were too long to fit into the normal network vehicles and were also very heavy. City Link came up with a solution that worked, which included dedicating a two-man crew to the deliveries."

City Link’s caged network is essential in providing the most secure next-day delivery service in the UK. Parcels are handled as little as possible and travel through the Hubs in the cages right through to the final stages of their journey.

Other security measures include trailer tracker devices that alert City Link’s central control room whenever a trailer deviates from its pre-set route or makes an unauthorised stop, and the innovative VanCams that record activity both inside and outside City Link delivery vans.

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