SIX years ago Berkshire based Swift Couriers was in need of a new direction.
Based in Newbury, Berkshire, close to the M4, it was operating a large fleet of small vans and four-metre sprinter vans but not reaching its potential.
Today, it is a rapidly-expanding company with a hugely expanded fleet of 100+ vehicles acting as a ‘rapid deployment and immediate response fleet’.
A member of the Transport Exchange Group’s Courier Exchange, Swift Couriers is a high-quality national and international service which also operates out of offices in Swindon, Oxford, and Reading.
Today, one of its biggest growth areas is the technical couriers business, where it provides delivery and installation of computer equipment and hardware within a given and agreed deadline to set delivery protocols.
The company’s growth has not only been achieved through hard work and dedication but also through its membership of the Exchange.
Managing Director Adrian Smith said he came to the company five years ago on behalf of another firm looking to take over Swift Couriers.
He said: "The module was good. It was a great business and I was used to buying businesses that were in trouble.
"This business just needed re-developing and I just saw that this was the opportunity for me."
Over the past four years Mr Smith said the fleet had changed radically to meet the demands of the market, including expanding their fleet of seven-and-a-half ton vans.
He added: "We even went down the road of a 40ft trailer, which is fantastic for the ego.
"There’s nothing better than seeing your name in lights along the M4 at three o’clock in the morning.
"But the reality of those sorts of vehicles is not what we do. We are a rapid deployment fleet."
The firm has improved its standards still further by operating a garage on-site to service its vehicles and shorten the amount of time its fleet spends off the road for repairs.
Mr Smith said: "From our point of view it’s vital that our vehicles are on the road and fully utilised which is where being a member of the Courier Exchange comes in.
"Our vehicles are serviced, so they are safe and they’re serviceable and they also maintain the company livery and image which our customers demand."
Warehousing facilities are also an important part of Swift’s portfolio; clean, secure, modern stock management services are a key services within many client relationships, it offers a very strong relationship link to major clients’ own supply chains which helps us have a more rounded understanding of our clients distribution needs.
Courier Exchange has provided an excellent platform on which to build and has enabled Swift Couriers to vet the people it is doing business with and to get recommendations from others.
Mr Smith added: "We know from the experience of others how good they are.
"We’ve made some fantastic contacts and we’ve made some fantastic relationships, which really will see the test of time and have helped the development of our business, through the Courier Exchange and that’s worked well for us."
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 Swift Couriers, Courier Exchange has been crucial for their business.
"It has worked extremely well for us," added Mr Smith.