All routes lead to growth for winning family firm

A family-run logistics company is celebrating after picking up the SME of the Year award at the Northamptonshire Logistics Awards for the second year running.

Route Logistics in Corby won the award after being able to demonstrate to judges ‘excellence across the supply chain’ and that it ran ‘an operation which is safe, efficient and reactive – the best in Northamptonshire’.

This operation was established in 2005 by ex HGV driver Paul Clifton and soon became the family business, working with large blue-chip companies including WM Morrisons and TNT.

Concentrating mainly on ad-hoc palletised work, the company entered a phase of growth three years ago when Paul’s daughter Amanda Wells increased her hours to become a full-time financial director and Chris Robinson and Graham Hall were appointed as operations director and transport manager respectively.

Darren Wells joined the team 12 months ago, leaving his own successful career to join and support the family business. He is now the Operators Licence holder for the company after taking his Transport Manager CPC course.

Since then the team has grown from three members of full-time office staff and one driver to 11 office staff and 18 drivers, supported with additional agency drivers when required.

In the last 12 months alone, the company’s Operators Licence has also been extended, enabling Route Logistics to operate a fleet of 50 vehicles, as opposed to 25. It also saw its busiest Christmas period to date in 2017.

Amanda said: “We are incredibly proud to have won this award, not once but twice! What makes it more special is that it is a Northamptonshire award. The company was established in the county, and therefore our growth, has been in this county. We are firmly rooted in Northamptonshire and it means a lot to be recognised in this way - it is a reward for all our hard work.

“Even though we have been in business for 13 years now, we have never actively marketed ourselves. Our growth has come from maintaining our customer base - with a significant percentage having been with us since the beginning - and becoming their first port of call when they need us.”

The company is now entering a period of change as managing director Paul, aged 73, starts to take a bit more of a back seat.

“My father is still in regular contact but would like the next generation to push the company forward,” says Amanda. “We have a fantastic, experienced and close-knit team who are ready and able to do this.

“No matter how much we grow, we never lose sight of the customers we have built relationships with. We just do what we do every day and offer that first-class customer service and ensure we those maintain standards. Yes, we want to expand but whenever we enter a period of change we take the time to learn new skills and implement change carefully and mindfully. Our customers make this business what it is.”