UK Transport Awards 2021

8 | Transport Awards 2021 Feb21128 Best Transport Distribution Specialist - South East England Mike Watson Transport is a business proving that even the smallest start-ups can turn into industry heavy hitters. Working to serve an expanding client base and exceeding expectations across the board, this now internationally known company reflects on its past, its present, and its plans for the future. Established as a ‘man with a van’ company over 30 years ago, Mike Watson Transport Ltd has quickly become a business on the rise in its industry. Now, it is a pallet haulage and storage company with a continued and undaunted priority to stand by the morals and ethics that is was founded on. Empowered by a core ethos of reliability and honesty, it has been scaling its operations sustainably to allow this to remain its primary tenant. It has also maintained the ‘friendly local’ attitude that its founder prized upon the setup of the operation, ensuring that customer service is never second best. Thanks to these factors, its reputation has been developing dramatically; with many satisfied clients across the UK and Europe, the word of mouth referrals and testimonials these clients give have earned Mike Watson more custom, and further growth. This reputation is what has given Mike Watson the chance to truly begin cornering its market. Often preceding it, its clients contract its work to benefit from the excellence that it has become renowned for. Furthermore, its core values have informed a business-wide attitude of commitment to getting all deliveries to where they need to be – on time, and perfectly intact – every time. It was in 2016 that the founder decided to sell the company to Palletline Ltd, and it was this decision that further gave it the legs to begin leading from the front of the pack in its industry. Its investment in the business provided it the boost necessary to make itself a competitor to even the largest of its fellow haulage firms. Bolstered by the support Palletline gave it, Mike Watson faced all challenges from there in a way that has continued to this day, with efficiency and sophistication. With a client list that ranges from E-commerce distributors to ambient food distributors, and pharmaceutical suppliers to building and construction suppliers, Mike Watson serves a wide cross section of its operational region’s businesses. In this way, it has made itself able to handle a wide variety of challenges in haulage, rising to them accordingly. Its work will always prioritise going above and beyond the call of duty for a client, making itself not just a haulage solution, but a partner that truly understands their business and what is important to them. Its overnight express distribution and variety of storage solutions ensure that no matter the client’s needs, it can fulfil them, including its warehouse capacity. This facility is a top of the line building that has recently been fully refurbished to handle more goods more effectively, and a new organisation system put in place to handle this. The use of this system now allows it to offer the ideal storage for palletised freight, as well as a pick and pack system that has vastly streamlined processes. Its current haulage services are available all over the UK, Ireland, and Europe, with palletised distribution being one of its core competencies and most sought-after solutions. Its variety of extras also ensure that it can tailor its services to best fit the task at hand, working with a client to work out what will work best for them, applying its team’s expert knowledge in order to do so. Mike Watson’s years in the trade have thus made it some long term and very solid client relationships. Its acquisition by Palletline also helped this, as Mike Watson then had access to its parent company’s assets, contacts, and client base, which was already quite expansive. It took this opportunity and ran with it to expend itself; an endeavour which was incredibly successful. This functioned to secure it yet more contracts, let it break into hauling for new industries, and allowed it to use these opportunities as a chance to develop and upskill itself and its staff. Now, its services are more cost effective and wide-ranging than ever, with a robust service that its clients can rely on. This has also improved its flexibility – it offers next day delivery to most of the UK, and its full load service has been a pivotal cornerstone in building its success. In addition, its customers appreciate that they are only ever paying for the vehicle capacity that they need, with no hidden surcharges or additional costs. Of course, even for a business with such a firm bedrock of adaptability beneath it, the pandemic’s unprecedented times presented it with significant further challenge. It responded to this by turning it into an opportunity, pushing forward with internal changes that would make work easier and safer for its staff. One such change was the 2020 expansion plan, with Mike Watson as a company moving into a larger headquarters sooner than planned after it far accelerated the building and preparatory stages. Once there, it was able to implement Covid-19 safety measures with far more efficacy, as there is ample space for social distancing at the new venue. These changes benefitted both office staff and Mike Watson’s drivers, and ensured that customers could then use its services as a kind of relief valve for their own operations. In tandem with this, more deliveries were moved through the Palletline network at a faster pace than ever before, and Mike Watson upgraded its internal processes to keep up with the new urgency. More storage was also a pivotal to this upskilling, as more clients than ever found the need to have their goods safely kept in external venues whilst they moved things around in their own venues or secured despatch. The Bordon depot has thus seen volumes that have blown all previous records out of the water, the push to rise to demand meaning that its staff have had to pull out all the stops. Additionally, it found itself having to react ‘on demand’ for some clients after their business experienced unforeseen growth; this was