Longer semi-trailers (LSTs) deployed on trial by Bibby Distribution have been instrumental in delivering substantial cost savings for Board24.
The 3PL now has five 15.5m LSTs operating from Board24’s Preston depot, which sends out dozens of trailer-loads of cardboard to manufacturers every day.
Because of the high-volume, low weight nature of the goods, the trailers have been built 4.7m tall to ensure optimal internal load space and operate alongside more than 30 Bibby Distribution trailers providing transport for Board24.
Bibby has managed the contract since April 2010, when it took over a significant part of the English operations of haulage company MRS Distribution from the receivers.
The LSTs represent a new phase in cost reduction for Board24 which, by working closely together with Bibby, had already made substantial improvements, such as increasing pallet heights and the use of high-cube trailers. This had already increased the trailer loadfill by 23 per cent, which was approaching the maximum potential efficiency for the existing trailers, but reduced the combined production and delivery costs for Board24 by 19 per cent.
Bibby’s introduction of the first LSTs to Board24 in May 2014 has increased loadfill by a further 5.3 per cent – leading to a further fall in Board24’s costs of nearly 12 per cent. This number is expected to grow with the addition of the fifth LST, which has just entered service.
Lee Bullen, Services Manager, Board24, says: “Our partnership with Bibby Distribution really works because it is not your typical client-provider relationship. Bibby proactively finds ways to reduce costs, such as the introduction of LSTs, which is very refreshing. We share the same long-term goals.”
The close working relationship means that the Bibby Distribution team is well-versed in anticipating and managing demand from Board24.
Output can vary by as much as 50 per cent within 24 hours according to market demand, requiring a very flexible logistics operation. Bibby Distribution works closely with Board24 to predict demand and plans accordingly, minimising costs for its customer.
Bullen says: “Bibby Distribution has the flexibility to manage our output, which can be extremely variable because of the market. They are big enough to get the job done cost-effectively, but still have that personal touch which means they work around our needs, rather than making us fit in with theirs.”