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Continental Tyres

Hilary Devey

Q. The Pall-Ex network has grown significantly since it’s foundation in 1996, from humble beginnings it now has access to over 6000 vehicles and 5 million square feet of warehousing space. How does membership of Pall-Ex work for it’s members and it’s clients?

Now with a depot network comprising 100 of the UK’s top hauliers Pall-Ex’s network has reached a new level with a full national and European profile.

Pall-Ex has a forever increasing waiting list of potential members. As our freight volumes increase so too does the need to recruit more hauliers. Each Pall-Ex member is carefully audited for both financial and operational stability. All our members agree to abide by Pall-Ex’s MSA-Member Service Agreement which dictates our enforced rules, regulations and member requirements. Every aspect of the agreement must be complied with to ensure service continuity which Pall-Ex prides itself upon.

Upon joining, each Pall-Ex member is allocated a zone encompassing a postcode (s) in their locality. From this zone each member is responsible for the collection and distribution of freight transhipped through the Pall-Ex hub on a daily basis.

To be accepted as a Pall-Ex member depot ensures a sound financial future with an increased percentage of profitability from 3% to around 13%.
The advantages of being a Pall-Ex member include being part of the No.1 Pallet Network, cost reduction resulting from the utilisation of our strategically located hub which reduces the necessity for lengthy trunking times to and from collection and distribution points and lastly increased profitability from an average of 3% for individual hauliers to around 13% for our members. It is this winning combination that maintains Pall-Ex’s competitive pricing structure and enhanced customer service portfolio.

Q. Your recent expansion into Europe is impressive. I’d always perceived that the European market would be a tough nut to crack for any UK company involved in distribution. What do you put your success down to?
The same needs and challenges face the distribution industry in mainland Europe as they do in the UK. The need for load consolidation and trailer fill; the challenge of shortening delivery load times; increasing demanding legislation governing working conditions and hours and the ongoing prospect of recruiting driving staff. The key for Pall-Ex in Europe has been the same as in the UK. The necessity to choose your working partners very carefully and ensure effective, disciplined communications between all parties are maintained as your top priority.

Q. Your market is a toughie. The slightest change in the duty on fuel, road fund tax and the likely impact of the European working hours directive could devour your margins overnight. How do you gear yourself to withstand the impact of these pressures?

The seemingly never ending increase in the burden of taxation and social legislation upon our industry is one of the main reasons that Pall-Ex was formed. Cost pressures upon haulage fleets are immense and Pall-Ex enables the independent haulier to overcome these challenges, mitigate running costs and still offer industry leading service standards.

Q. Over the last twelve months you personally have won the accolade of ‘Midlands Businesswoman of the Year 2004’ and Pall-ex has won a number of highly prestigious contracts, has Pall-ex arrived, or do you believe there is still more to come?

Pall-Ex as a brand has obviously arrived. However, our work is far from done. The Palletised freight network sector has enjoyed significant growth and maturity over the last few years but in some aspects it still remains untapped. I feel strongly that we can still do more to add value for our membership both within the existing core business and moreover through diversification in particular with the following:
• Regional hubs
• Continued expansion in Europe
• Niche delivery sectors
• Central purchasing facilities
• Business advice and ex

Pall-Ex will continue to increase the range of services we offer to new members and clients whilst remaining true to our founding principal of partnership and mutual support.

Q. Transaid is a very worthwhile cause and does credit to you and your company, would you describe how it works and why people from our industry should give it our backing?

Pall-Ex has supported Transaid since 1999 and makes regular donations through our “Penny-a-Pallet” scheme which contributes a penny for every pallet transhipped through our hub. With an average of 8,500 pallets transhipped each night this totals a substantial amount each year.

Transaid specialises in the development and implementation of transport management and related systems for developing countries. We work mainly in Africa, and focus on developing and supporting the implementation of transport management systems in the public and private sectors. We also work driver training and road safety issues. Efficiency and safety are what we promote, and we can demonstrate major savings of lives and money as a result in a number of countries, particularly Ghana and South Africa.

Transaid frequently uses technical expertise from the industry to support its project work, and the systems which we promote are derived directly from UK best practice, and adapted to the context of developing countries. In short, Transaid is a means by which the industry can give directly to disadvantaged countries and communities.

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