MT Award Winners 2016

Apprenticeship of the Year

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The Cartwright Group

The Cartwright Group relaunched an apprenticeship scheme four years ago that would “become the benchmark in the vehicle  manufacturing sector”.  Starting with a rigorous search and selection process, the apprenticeship scheme has seen a boost in the number and calibre of applications. Successful applicants undergo a five-day induction, including health and safety training.  This is followed by a series of six eight-week rotations to match the right people to the right area of the business, with each apprentice appointed a mentor and a shop-floor buddy for on-the-job guidance. On completion of their probation period, apprentices are given a personal toolkit, branded overalls and safety gear worth more than £480. Wages are supplemented 60% for first-year apprentices and 85% by third year, with opportunities to earn overtime should they desire. The group’s apprenticeship scheme is firmly embedded in its culture, with 18 senior managers being former apprentices.

The judges said it had made a significant £100,000 investment in the academy and added that the business thrives on the success of its apprenticeship model.

Best Use of Technology

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Arrow XL

app AskAxl was developed to streamline the delivery process for its customers by personalising the customer experience, reducing delivery time slots and making a load’s progress visible with real-time tracking. AskAxl allows the carrier to provide customers with a choice of dates and a two-hour delivery slot, which reduces to 30 minutes closer to the delivery time. Customers can track deliveries through the app and contact the delivery team if they have questions.
One judge said the app was an example of “good cutting-edge technology for the benefit of the customer and provider”. Another said: “Arrow is providing its customers with something they want. This has good quantifiable benefits for both Arrow XL, in terms of efficiency, and its customers in terms of experience. Its Trustpilot score is proof of that.”


Business Excellence Award

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The B2C parcel delivery specialist continued its mammoth growth last year, seeing turnover leap to £829m in the year to 4 January 2015, compared with £692m the year before. In addition to investing in the service it provides customers, DPD claimed to have improved efficiency by opening five ‘supersized’ depots across the UK, each of which are 700,000ft2, £1.2m-worth of automated sorting equipment, and the capacity to sort 6,500 parcels an hour. Almost 12% of its nationwide traffic goes through one of these new depots, compared with 4.5% in the depots they replaced. Health and safety is high on the agenda and over the past two years has seen van accidents down 44% and a 38% fall in own-fault accidents. The past two years have seen CO2 emissions per parcel drop 7.2% and it claimed every parcel sent via its network is carbon neutral. The judges said the company stayed ahead of its competitors in terms of future-proofing its business and constantly reacting to the changing home delivery market.



Customer Care Award

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DPD continued in its endeavours to offer the best customer care money can buy in 2015 by launching a more user-friendly website and app for shippers.  Realising that the majority of consumers go online to resolve issues, it revamped its website to offer the three most popular options on the front of its help page. As a result, contacts per parcel dropped 31% and the company received 32,000 fewer phone calls over Black Friday weekend.  Transparency has been increased with the launch of its MyDPD app, giving shippers access to the same level of information as call centre staff. Customers who flag a negative experience with DPD are now guaranteed that their complaint will be answered in 90 minutes, and have the opportunity to speak to its director of customer experience if they are unhappy. The judges said DPD continued to be one of the leading figures in terms of innovation and were impressed by its reward scheme for depots that achieve high service levels.


Fleet Truck of the Year

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Daf XF

Daf XF Daf’s XF tractor unit makes its customary appearance in the Fleet Truck of Year shortlist line-up, a spectacular performance from a core product concept that is now nearly 30 years old. That said, the jury felt the latest generation XF has continued to look and feel modern. Assembled in the UK at Paccar’s Leyland factory, at Euro-6 the XF gets a choice of a 12.9-litre MX-13 engine and a new MX11 10.8-litre engine, offering a range of power options covering 410hp to 510hp. Equipped with the latest ZF AS Tronic transmission, this now features EcoRoll and FastShift, all aimed at improving fuel efficiency. With high-quality driver living space, a reputation for strong build quality and decent fuel economy, the XF retains a loyal following among drivers and owners alike. Daf has long had a strong reputation for aftersales and the XF gets a strong positive from the jury for the DafAid roadside service and general support from the organisation. “Of course they have problems,” one judge commented, “but it’s the way the manufacturer deals with them head on, that is always impressive.”


Fleet Van of the Year

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Mercedes-Benz Sprinter

Given the Sprinter’s global presence and domination of heavy van markets in Europe, it’s surprising to think it was unheard of 20 years ago. Such is the presence of the Sprinter, that if you type “Sprinter Euro-6 launch” into an internet search, it will direct you to websites in all corners of the globe. If you go back a few years, the Sprinter had been farming the Fleet Van of the Year Award – winning six out of seven times between 2007 and 2013 – although its crown had slipped latterly with first Fiat and then Vauxhall stealing its thunder.  Back on the shortlist again in 2016, the latest Sprinter, updated for the next round of exhaust emissions, emerges as a strong contender to scoop glory this year. The Euro-6 Sprinter models use a selective catalytic reduction (SCR) system, injecting AdBlue into the exhaust gases to meet stringent particulate and NOx emission levels. Engine updates are just part of the new package, which includes changes to the radiator grille and headlights. The front end is more vertical, with the three grille slats  becoming perforated to aid cooling. The headlights have been redesigned, becoming squarer and larger, while the bumper has been slightly reshaped to fit in with the latest evolution in Mercedes’ CV design.  Changes on the inside are minimal, although it gets a firmer seat and more durable cloth, while the increased thickness of the steering wheel is barely noticeable, unlike the accents of chrome that appear throughout the cabin. The radio and Bluetooth system have been upgraded, along with a new Becker navigation system. The highlight of the new Sprinter is undoubtedly its safety technology, with five new impressive systems debuting for light CVs in the next generation model.


Fleet Van Operator of the Year

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Electricity North West

Operating in the North West, with a fleet of more than 600 commercial vehicles and a further 600 contractor vehicles, this FTA Van Excellence-accredited fleet demands that its contractors meet the same standards it has been attaining since 2010. Proactive fleet management with an emphasis on safety, including the introduction of a smartphone app to log vehicle defects and a programme of driver training and risk management has seen Electricity North West’s insurance premiums drop.  Its drive to continually improve the business has also seen it install forwardfacing cameras to curb vehicle accident costs, and achieve a 2% year-on-year reduction in fleet fuel consumption despite expanding its fleet by 5%, and increasing payloads. The judges noted that its clear focus is evident throughout the organization.


Haulier of the Year

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Malcolm Logistics

Malcolm Logistics, part of the Malcolm Group, remains a family business led by Andrew and Walter Malcolm providing fully integrated road, rail and warehousing services throughout the UK. Its reputation in the industry is built on operational and service quality and its relationships with clients have been built up over decades. Furthermore, this has all been done without a sales department – with all employees committed to “selling through service”. It focuses on practical solutions for clients and has been one of the biggest participants in the DfT longer semi-trailer trials; it has engineered an extendable skeletal trailer and its 50ft container operated by road and rail delivers increased pallet capacity, for which it won two MT Awards last year.  Malcolm has a workforce of 2,000 with an emphasis on employed – not agency – staff. Its employees are committed to the business. Some 43 25-year service awards were issued in the past three years, while five 40-year service awards were given in 2015. Staff turnover is low and its talent succession programme ensures opportunities from shop floor to board level. The group has a strong commitment to supporting charitable and social organisations from raising awareness for Beatson Cancer Care and Transaid.  The judges said Malcolm’s philosophy that: “‘We are all selling through service’ is an excellent example of customer care.” Furthermore, the judges singled out the “strong focus on corporate responsibility” at the company.


Home Delivery Operator of the Year

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Arrow XL

The former Yodel XL has had a busy two years since its split with the parcel carrier. It has moved away from making a loss to achieving an EBITDA of £6m.  The two-man delivery outfit moves more than 14,000 products to about 7,000 homes every day, covering 98% of UK postcodes, six days a week. With its network of four hubs, 23 satellite bases and 230 delivery teams, Arrow XL said its purpose is to “make its customers feel special” with continued investment in technology and its services. The period has seen the two-man delivery outfit process an additional 900,000 consignments a year and secure contracts with 55 new clients. An in-depth network structure review boosted the number of Arrow XL sites from 21 to 27, and its £7.5m investment in its fleet has seen the company put more than 50 new trailers on the road, along with a number of new delivery vehicles. Arrow XL said that it inherited a disengaged workforce, but has seen its employee engagement rise from 51% to 84%, and its new AskAxl app, which personalises its customers’ experience and maintains an open channel of communication with the delivery team, has seen customer satisfaction soar.  One judge said: “Arrow’s financial performance has been fantastic. From making an EBITDA loss to that profit level is great.” Another said: “Arrow XL is not the biggest player in the home delivery space, but it is thinking like one, and is aspiring to be one. That should be applauded.”


Innovation Award

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BrakeSafe by Vision Techniques

Vision Techniques’ BrakeSafe is an automatic failsafe system that warns the driver and physically applies the handbrake on an HGV to prevent runaway vehicles. The company developed the system after close relationships with its customers unearthed an unspoken issue of vehicle rollaways when a driver forgets to apply the handbrake. BrakeSafe is a passive system that activates when a driver causes a specific scenario: the vehicle is in neutral; a pressure sensor recognises no one is in the driver’s seat; the door is open, and the brake is released. At this point, the system activates the handbrake. The failsafe system is compatible with rigid and articulated vehicles and is engineered to be suitable for all makes and models of truck, either as a new-build option or retrofitted. It has undergone final practical testing by British Gypsum and Craven Council.
The judges said it was a “good, innovative product, which is unique in its practical application of the handbrake, rather than simply an audible warning to the driver”.


Livery of the Year

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Mobile People.Powered.Logistics.

The livery change by Mobile People. Powered.Logistics was part of its strategy to reposition itself as a transport and logistics company rather than a general contract haulage business. It wanted the design to have a clean and modern feel and be innovative. The new livery is readable from a distance and has been consistently applied across the fleet.

The judges said the livery is “instantly eye-catching” as well as “bold, bright and with good use of colour”. They also said it conveys a “clear message about who the company is and what it does”.


Low Carbon Award

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United Biscuits

United Biscuits wants to continue to bake snacks for generations to come – and that means improving its environmental impact. In 2008 it began an environmentally focused programme to achieve a variety of targets, which it continues to hit: zero waste to landfill since 2012; 38% reduction in carbon emissions and 37% reduction in water consumption – while its fleet has taken 30 million lorry miles off UK roads and reduced its emissions by 43% since 2005. The target for its fleet is to reduce CO2 emissions by 50% by 2020. To do this, it has worked on a range of initiatives, including: evaluating its network and optimising routes with customers; engaging in transport collaboration; and minimising empty miles. It is also developing an alternative fuel for its trucks from waste cooking oil. United Biscuits produces about 500 tonnes a year of waste oil, so in 2010 it started working with Biomotive Fuels to trial a conversion system that would see a 44-tonner run on refined used cooking oil.  The early work would lead to United Biscuits forming a consortium with Convert2green and the University of Leeds Energy Research Institute to gain a place on the DfT low-carbon truck trials. As a result, 10 Euro-5 trucks ran for two years and two Euro-6 trucks ran for six months on the conversion, saving 2,300 tonnes of CO2 – the equivalent to taking 1.5 million truck miles off the road.  The judges said United Biscuits “sees the whole of manufacturing and transport as a holistic solution”.


Operational and Compliance Excellence Award

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One Stop Distribution

branches. Its in-house distribution operation employs more than 500 people, including 114 drivers, across three DCs in the West Midlands, the South, and West Yorkshire. It makes approximately 2,900 timed deliveries a week, dispatching 20,000 cages to its convenience stores. On-time deliveries (timed in a two-hour delivery window) are 92%. Deliveries are managed by its One Stop TMS (transport management system) – which includes a compliance module that records all infringements on a daily basis. Digitach records are downloaded twice a day and drivers are briefed and debriefed before and after every shift. The business also employs a compliance co-ordinator at each of its DCs to run infringement reports on to One Stop TMS. They also investigate drivers for infringements and use the system to tally points against drivers to set milestones before any disciplinary action is taken. All compliance co-ordinators meet their local management teams every week to discuss working hours, vehicle accidents and missing mileage. Over the past year the business has seen a reduction in infringements, which it puts down not just to monitoring but tailored Driver CPC training and the introduction of telematics on the fleet. Driver CPC training is tailored using One Stop TMS data, which means that if a driver sees an increase in infringements, he will be trained on the road and not in a classroom. All CPC data is subsequently recorded on One Stop TMS so training can be planned in advance. The judges praised the business for its tacho infringement reduction; well documented compliance; green OCRS; good delivery statistics and for being well staffed.


Partnership Award

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Think Logistics / Career Ready

Operator-led organisation Think Logistics has partnered with educational charity Career Ready to promote career opportunities in the logistics industry.  The overriding objective is to educate young people about road transport and logistics and the array of career opportunities by developing direct and long-lasting relationships between employers, schools, colleges and young people. Career Ready has a network of 200 schools and colleges spanning the UK. Events include Think Logistics workshops in schools and colleges as well as workplace visits where students can experience a haulage business in the real world. This normally includes a tour of the firm, covering truck and trailer operations, warehousing, and seeing vehicle tracking and telematics software in action. The scheme provides four- to six-week paid internships to students in the summer holidays to give them experience in a logistics business, as well as mentoring sessions from experienced industry figures.  More than 1,000 students have attended a Think Logistics workshop.  Judges said the partnership presents an “opportunity to recruit the younger generation into the industry and is a great example of collaboration”.


Safety in Operation Award

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At TNT good safety equals good business. It made the shortlist with a highlydetailed submission about its comprehensive approach to safety in its organisation. The TNT Safety Programme sees each of its 88 main locations audited annually to ascertain how it is performing against 62 key safety elements. Its approach includes buy-in from senior management; specific training for its middle management; independent review of its training and use of the TNT Driver Recognition Scheme to celebrate its safest employees behind the wheel. The operator’s driver road safety
charter, included in its submission, was singled out for praise by our panel. “It has done everything. All aspects from employee to the public and it’s clearly invested a lot of capital,” said one judge.


Service to Industry

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Glyn Davies

To sell one company that you built from scratch for £50m is a remarkable achievement in itself. To build another after that and sell it for £25m is incredible. Throw into that a career running one of the most successful independent truck dealerships in the country, and a list of former employees that have gone on to create businesses that have shaped the modern face of UK road transport and you have a career that superlatives can no longer do justice.

Glyn Davies left school in 1966, and by 1974 he had launched Russell Davies. The pioneer of container haulage and contract logistics was sold to Securicor in 1995 for £50m in a deal that shocked the industry.

Thirteen years later he repeated the trick. Hanbury Davies was formed after Davies bought two struggling transport operations — Loadwell
and Goodway — in 1999. In 2002 it took on the Felixstowe business of Newell & Wright and in 2003 it took over the third-party maritime business for DFDS. At its peak it had 480 trucks. Wincanton came along in November 2006, and 13 months later he agreed on the sale of Hanbury Holdings.

Part of that deal saw Davies buy back Hanbury Riverside out of Hanbury Holdings. Davies had bought Riverside Commercials from owner Ron Smith in 1997. Today he runs the business with Ron’s son Lee. Last year Lee told sister magazine Commercial Motor: “You can’t have a better person in your back room than Glyn, with his industry knowledge.”

Davies became a non-executive director at one of the fastest-growing chilled and ambient operators in the UK, Culina Logistics, in 2011. 

Its not just his development of businesses that marks his contribution to industry. The list of those who served under his tutelage, and the businesses they have gone on to work for is extraordinary: John Williams (Maritime Transport); Peter Brown (Jack Richards); Harvey MacIntyre (MacIntyre Transport); Matthew Ashworth and Simon Day (Goldstar Transport) to name but five.

Harvey MacIntyre, who retired earlier this year, said back in 2010: “A lot goes back to the apprenticeship we all served at Russell Davies. There’s a subliminal voice in the back of your head saying: ‘Would Glyn approve of this?’”

Matthew Ashworth, MD of Goldstar, said: “I have to remind myself he’s not my boss anymore. He’s held in enormously high regard in the industry.”


Team of the Year

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The weeks leading up to Christmas are crucial for parcel carriers, with performance for the year often measured against those select weeks. To tackle this challenge, Hermes formed its peak planning and delivery team of handpicked senior employees from departments across the business. The team was tasked with creating and executing a peak
time strategy, with each of its eight members in specific areas of responsibility with individual targets. The planning and co-operation of the team saw Hermes have its busiest, most successful peak period to date and, as one judge said, “met what it set out to achieve, and with good results”. The network processed 30.3 million parcels throughout December – up 24% on the previous year – which followed the 7.7 million parcels processed over Black Friday week.

Judges praised the dedication of team members and the “excellent cross-disciplined composition of the team”. One judge said: “Hermes showed excellent team building with a broad base of expertise, which meant it could hit its objectives, which is especially impressive given the busy peak period.”


Technical Excellence Award

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AAH Pharmaceuticals - Supply Chain - PharmaVan II

Healthcare product specialist AAH describes its new PharmaVan as a “temperature-controlled warehouse on wheels”.  The unique van, using the Ford Transit platform, is the result of nearly two years of design, testing and development. It includes an insulated cargo area, temperature-controlled storage for drugs such as paracetamol, as well as a fridge for drugs like insulin. There is also a secure drugs locker, live feed temperature monitoring, plus a live alert system which sends out emails in the event of a temperature deviation.  Other features include an audible deviation alarm for drivers, six security cameras, a driver panic alarm and telematics. The van also delivers lower CO2 and better fuel efficiency than the firm’s old model. A total of 340 new PharmaVans have been delivered since December 2015 and a prototype jumbo version of the Transit will be built shortly. AAH is also investing £12m in the product over the next four years. Judges said the van is “leading-edge technology for the van sector” with impressive levels of “innovation, security, and driver safety”.


Temperature Controlled Operator of the Year

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Samworth Brothers Supply Chain

Samworth Brothers Supply Chain, which rebranded from Samworth Brothers Distribution in 2015 to reflect the company’s range of operational areas, has long been a carrier of chilled products for an impressive array of household name retailers. Its fleet of 210 trailers, including 50 double-decked vehicles, is fully refrigerated and services sites across the UK, including Ginsters’ Cornwall manufacturing site. The company said the key priorities of its operation are its on-time delivery performance and temperature integrity, both of which the judges said Samworth had performed excellently in. The company demonstrated a well-planned peak management system, as well as the ability to use additional resources to their maximum potential when it is forced to hire equipment and additional drivers to cope with demand.  One judge said: “Its on-time delivery results are excellent, and good investment in cold chain security is clearly paying off.” Judges also noted the positive effect that Samworth’s use of “the latest technology and systems, and a strong performance in the initiatives sector” had had on its environmental performance, and added that it had a “very clever approach to the use of agency drivers”. Judges were also impressed with the company’s driver training academy, which trains drivers to be more efficient (driver Allan Marsh won the first Microlise Driver of the Year award last year), as well as seeing new drivers through their qualifications. “This is clearly a company that takes good care of its people,” one judge added.


Training Award

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DPD Group, the parcels specialist, has been expanding quickly (sales from 2011 to 2015 were up 101% for example) and that presents challenges for any business keen to maintain standards of training. Its entry explained its four-pronged strategy to develop its talent pipeline in the business and to attract new recruits . This comprises an apprenticeship programme; a graduate scheme; a management development programme; and an executive development programme (to develop tomorrow’s board members).  DPD said 280 people had completed its management development scheme since 2014, with 144 more enrolled at the start of April 2016 – a not inconsiderable investment in monetary terms for the parcels carrier. Its submission even showcased its depot succession planning scheme, which clearly sets out team members’ strengths and weaknesses with the aim of supporting and encouraging staff to achieve their potential.  “The senior management are class acts. The business has put its foot down in the past five years and they are developing their middle management too,”  one of our panel said. “DPD is a class act,” said another. “It’s been clear about what its needs are and clear about how best to meet them. The scheme is incredibly well implemented,” another of our panel said. Our panel was  impressed that where all operators claim to promote from within, DPD’s entry clearly demonstrated it actually does.