Palletline Updates, Challenges and Improvements
Just before Christmas MD Steve Haines and I attended the Palletline AGM. It was a great to get an update on how the network had performed over the year as well as being a good opportunity to catch up with our fellow hauliers to talk about industry changes and challenges.
One of the big differences between Palletline and the other pallet networks is that it is a member-owned organisation. This means that as shareholder member we have a big say in the way the operation is run and the opportunity to make improvements that benefit our customers. One such improvement that is being launched in 2018 is the introduction of the automatic ETA (Estimated Time of Delivery) service. The ETA’s will initially be available for our customers to view on our web portal with plans for an ETA text message option, similar that offered by parcel couriers, to be launched later in the year. This will cut out many phone calls and give customers and consignees greater clarity and reassurance. Palletline have been trialling the ETA system for the last year and although some parcel couriers already have such a service, the challenges facing pallet networks are somewhat different, so I am pleased that as a network we have taken the time to get this system correct.
2017 saw big increases in the Palletline network with over 3.5 million pallets being moved throughout the year with a damage rate of just 0.01%. The network won the RoSPA Highly Commended Award for Safety in the Transport, Storage and Distribution Industry for the second year in a row. Palletline also won the Motor Transport Health & Safety Award for an unprecedented third time.
One of the challenges that will face all the hauliers in the coming years will be the acquisition and retention of quality HGV drivers. With a reported 40% of class 1 drivers due to retire in the next 5 years the treatment and working conditions of staff is key. At S&J we are fortunate that over the years our retention has been pretty good with 75% having worked with us more than 3 years and many of them for decades. The quality of our staff is one of the key reasons why so many customers stay with us year after year. Looking after our employees as well as our customers will remain a top priority in the future.
Brett Burrows, Sales Director.