Thursday, July 3, 2014

Freight Transport and Logistics Professionals Honoured at Annual Warehouse Association Get Together

UKWA Awards Turn In Another Excellent Performance
Shipping News Feature

UK – The first week of July always sees the Annual General Meeting of the United Kingdom Warehousing Association (UKWA) followed by the yearly awards for achievement in the fields of storage and logistics. Once again this month’s event saw both happen in the palatial surroundings of London’s Dorchester Hotel where a who’s who of the warehouse and supply chain industry gathered to celebrate. An excellent lunch was sponsored by freight exchange Shipntrak whilst fork lift truck manufacturer Jungheinrich was the main awards sponsor.

Everyone attending expected the normal virtuoso performance from the presentation ceremony’s host; writer, broadcaster, former MP and Government Whip Gyles Brandreth, and none were disappointed. Mr Brandreth was on sparkling form including acting as auctioneer for someone present to take the option of ‘driving the biggest crane in the world’ at DP World’s London Gateway site, with the money going to transport charity Transaid.

Using little more than eloquence and insults Mr Brandreth managed to engineer a bidding war between Century Logistics and the Amethyst Group which eventually won, an achievement described by the host as ‘How exciting, you’ve just paid £1,000 for 6 minutes in a crane’. In excess of a further £2,350 was raised by table donations to help the charity whose CEO Gary Forster thanked the assembled company and told how over 6,000 professional drivers had now been trained in Africa by Transaid. In addition, the implementation of more efficient supply chain management systems had seen ‘stock out’, that is wasted essential medicines and supplies, drop from a level of 78% to just 20%.

These supplies are the very things which lead the way toward defeating and curing some of the most common serious ailments which afflict the countries involved, such as Aids, TB and malaria. Mr Forster ponted out that in the last year, six logistics companies had sponsored bicycles which can speed such essential items to outlying communities, raising enough to send two full container loads of the machines to the people that needed them.

As for the Awards themselves, three preceded the lunch with the others to follow. The winners in the appointed categories were:

Best New UKWA member: Sponsored by Toyota Material Handling Fenland Haulage and Storage

Fenland were selected by the harshest of UKWA auditors ‘Inspector’ Charles Watt who found the company runs one of the most impressive storage outfits he has seen for some time.

Environment Award: Sponsored by Dexeco SolutionsPaul Ponsonby Limited

Developing from the smallest of bases this company has grown exponentially whilst managing to introduce driving and management policies which should see the company as carbon neutral in the next year.

Technical Innovation Award: Sponsored by Bito Storage SystemsSwisslog

The company impressed the judges with its ability to maximise the use of space with its Autostore solution, increasing picking efficiency and drastically reducing the area previously taken up by the same goods.

Training Award: Sponsored by RTITBEddie Stobart (ESL)

A new, dedicated, £1 million training academy is at the heart of Stobart’s drive to maintain staff standards, seeing 750 new starters inducted per year which has seen accident frequency rates drop to 0.06%, a fall of 50%+ in a year, as did RIDDOR reportable accidents on ESL sites in 2013.

Team of the Year: Sponsored by Clarion EventsBoughey Distribution

Boughey’s IT team have proved outstanding, absorbing a massive (116%+) uplift in business IT support cases with 85% resolved within 24 hours last year. Several in house projects saw processing costs down over 25% and the group introduced BougheyNET drastically improving customer service.

Customer Service Award: Sponsored by Briggs Equipment UKEddie Stobart (ESL) with A G Barr

A completely redesigned facility in Milton Keynes was a bespoke operation for established client Barr which went ahead with no noticeable effect on service levels spoke volumes to the judges.

Warehouse Manager of the Year: Sponsored by Knapp UK Ltd.Natalie Wilkinson, Potter Logistics

Five years in her role as boss at the group’s Ely Distribution Centre led to Natalie’s design and implementation of a reward scheme which increased ‘near miss’ reporting and produced a jump in the group Safety Audit of 96% whilst she also managed to improve stock accuracy and saved on overheads.

Young Employee of the Year: Sponsored by Hoppecke Industrial BatteriesLily Arnold, PF Whitehead Logistics

Lily’s dedication at a young age, she started in 2011 at just 16, has led to her role supporting many valued warehouse and pallet distribution clients, often working with no complaint beyond her contracted times to ensure the job is done.

Junior Manager of the Year: Sponsored by Aisle Master Nick Godden, Wincanton

27 year old Nick started in 2007 as a fork lift truck driver and has reached the level of Shift Supervisor with a management job firmly in his sights. He has proved adept at managing people and extracting the best from processes and systems.

Chairman’s Award: Sponsored by HörmannIan Speak, Bibby Distribution

In the personal gift of the Chairman the award went to someone who, although unable to take up an official UKWA post, has worked whenever possible to further the works of the UKWA.

The awards ceremony was preceded by the UKWA’s top two Executives, Chairman John Maguire and CEO Roger Williams who advised the UKWA was in good health and prepared for an imminent move from its Walter House headquarters, speeches accentuating the two mens very different styles, and also by an unexpected flute solo from Mick Davison, who the company was assured, had learnt to play specifically for the event, hard to credit given his level of competence. The whole affair was rounded off unusually but appropriately given the date and the company, with the full version of ‘Lily Marlene’ sung by those present with enough fortitude, or red wine, to feel able to join in.

Photo: Not your average Awards picture – Mick Davison living the dream as an appreciative (and possibly slightly bewildered) Gyles Brandreth sits in the shadows.