R&B Logistics: How their confidence in CX helped them grow 


In 2004, after almost 20 years of being a successful multidrop driver, Roger Netherwood felt it was the right time to go out on his own and so he founded R&B Logistics.

After 5 years of operating as an owner-driver, in 2009 Roger decided it was time to take his business to the next level – and that’s when he turned to the Courier Exchange. 

Today, R&B Logistics has become a successful freight forwarder, from earning a 99.2% positive feedback rating in the app, Roger has built a thriving reputation among his customers.

I’ve got confidence in me, but I’ve also got confidence in Courier Exchange.

Roger Netherwood, Managing Director, R&B Logistics

Here’s how Roger did it

To stand out from the crowd and grow R&B Logistics, Roger decided to focus on building out a niche customer base.

Drawing on his passion for advocating sustainability, net zero & carbon emissions, Roger started to build up his book of engineering customers.

Before long he had customers ranging from small engineering companies right up to wind turbine blade manufacturers.

As a freight forwarder, Roger knew the key to his success would not only be promising his customers a good service – but delivering it.

Thankfully, Roger’s customers quickly came to realise “they could ring me, and I could get a vehicle to them. Anything from a bike ride up to a four-meter sprinter within an hour, sometimes sooner.  Sometimes it could be 10 minutes.”

“I always say to them, if it’s going to be any longer than that, I will let you know.” 

Incredibly, in 20 years, he’s only ever had to do that twice. That’s how ‘on it’ CX is, Roger says referring to the “good driver base”.

[CX] have a good insight into how to recruit drivers and you’ve got a wealth of knowledge there that you can tap into quite readily and quite easily – and it’s not going to cost you a fortune.

Roger Netherwood, Managing Director, R&B Logistics

That’s why Roger has found the feedback feature on CX so helpful for his business.

“What I look for in a quote is obviously the first thing is feedback. Also what they put in the notes as to how soon they can be there and what vehicle size it is. It doesn’t always come down to price” 


15 years

As a CX member


Positive reviews

His hard work, entrepreneurial spirit and confidence in the Courier Exchange has helped him build a “very profitable and very successful business” all on his own.

The Courier Exchange has been the backbone of my business.

Roger Netherwood, Managing Director, R&B Logistics

In the past year, whilst posting over 800 loads, Roger has upheld over 200 positive reviews on the platform, with not a single negative review.

It’s safe to say the numbers really do speak for themselves. 

Reflecting on everything he’s accomplished, Roger attributes the success of R&B Logistics from the trust and confidence in himself and the Courier Exchange.


Much like Roger’s confidence in himself, his confidence in CX has allowed his business to thrive.

“If one of your customers is like, can you do HIAB work for me? And you’ve in the past said no… You see, I won’t do that. I’ll say, leave it with me…because I know what’s in CX”

Ultimately Roger says:

It’s all about making your own opportunities. Don’t say no, just go for it. Say yes, do it.

Roger Netherwood, Managing Director, R&B Logistics

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AK Transporters began with the Courier Exchange (CX) in May 2023. In just three months, their start-up has grown into a thriving business on CX.

Thanks to exposure to big-name logistic companies (and with the power to network their business) they’ve expanded their fleet. And they’ve made an ROI of 1054% in their short time on CX. That’s 10 times their initial investment.

Managing Director, Mohammed Khan, talks us through his business’s growth.

3 months

As a CX member


Loads completed


Return on investment last year


Starting as a small team, AK Transporters faced scaling challenges during the early stages of their business.

Mohammed explains, “As a new courier company it was very hard achieving our growth targets, reducing our cost per mile and being at the level that we would have liked.”

Joining the Exchange exposed AK Transporters to a broader client base. They built a robust network. And they got to build something they never had before: brand recognition.

“Some think of CX as just a job*, but it isn’t just that. It’s a place to build your company, grow your brand, and make a name for yourself in the transport industry, especially for those who are just starting out.” 

Mohammed Khan, Managing Director, AK Transporters

Mohammed adds, “CX exposed us to clients and helped us to reach big-name courier companies, big-name logistics companies. It just boosts your level up as well.”

“If you provide a good service, and invest in technology CX can make it easy to find new clients and grow partnerships.” 

Mohammed Khan, Managing Director, AK Transporters


Remarkably, AK Transporters made their money back in less than ten days – with just a single van and two drivers.

Since then, it’s been nothing but brilliant results.

“We’re more than happy on our ROI,” Mohammed reports. “I think in the last two months, with adding CX to our operations, we’ve almost doubled our revenue whilst cutting our costs.”

AK Transporters elevated their name by collaborating with top-end logistics companies. They were soon able to invest in efficiency-enhancing tracking software to keep score of their metrics.

“We really value technology and biometrics, So, we can see we’ve decreased our dead miles by over 80% whilst also decreasing our cost per mile. And also providing our customers with a more streamlined service.”

Mohammed Khan, Managing Director, AK Transporters

And with efficiency comes higher revenue. After starting their business just 6 months ago, 3 of which have been on CX, AK Transporters are already planning to open their office before the Christmas period this year.

“I’d say we’ve exceeded our goals. We’ve already ordered more vans and we’re already expanding our fleet. It’s just onwards and upwards for us.”

Mohammed Khan, Managing Director, AK Transporters


In just three months, AK Transporters have really made a name for themselves.

“The Exchange is an exceptional platform,” Mohammed states. “If you’ve got the people, willpower and are willing to spend a bit of money it’s very easy to make the money back on CX.”

Networking also played a pivotal role in AK Transporters’ success, reinforcing Mohammed’s ethos: “The more people you know, the more money you’ll make.”

“But you can’t have everything put on a plate,” he points out. “You have to put in the work. Persistency is key. So, keep bidding for jobs until you get one.”

When asked, Mohammed’s advice to new start-ups is simple. “If you want yourself to be a big courier company in the future, if you want to grow, CX is necessary.”

In just six months Mohammed and his partner Afaq have built their company from the ground up. For AK Transporters, this is just the beginning.

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Red Rocket Couriers began its journey seven years ago. Back then it was just Lee delivering loads in his trusty van.

7 years later, Lee’s transformed Red Rocket into a UK-wide courier empire.

With CX’s support, Red Rocket gained a new purpose – getting drivers loads. Earning accolades along the way, and consistently generating substantial revenue year after year.

In the past year they’ve made 16 times their initial investment.

Now the managing director, Lee talks us through his success story – one job at a time.

7 years

As a CX member


Positive feedback comments


Return on investment last year


In the early days, Lee started by using his van to find loads and expand his network. “To be honest with you,” he states, “when I first joined, I just needed the money.”

Then something shifted a few years on. And Lee began to get his friends jobs off the Exchange.

It started with people ringing me up. And me ringing some drivers up. One driver got in touch with me, and I got him a job. Another friend called me up for a job, and I got him one off CX too.

Managing Director, Red Rocket, Lee Gueller

Lee adds, “I set myself a target. If I could earn £50 from each driver each day, that’s £250 a week. When I got to 4 drivers, that’s when things got rolling. That’s when I started seeing the other side of CX.”


Lee’s proud to report that Red Rocket ranks among the “top 10 out of 4491 courier companies that offer jobs on the Exchange – and that’s in the past year.”

This comes as no surprise. Red Rocket has collaborated with big names like the BBC, NHS, ASOS, Boohoo, and more.

On our website, we claim we collect from anywhere in the UK in 60 minutes. To be honest, that’s because of CX. We get a job, put it on the platform and drivers bid. We go from there.

Managing director, Red Rocket, Lee Gueller

Feedback is another area where Red Rocket excels. They have an impressive 1667 positive comments for delivery feedback and 7653 positive comments for payment feedback.

We use the platform to build a list of contacts. We’ve also built enough trust on it to secure direct bookings and get feedback from our suppliers which boosts our business.

Managing director, Red Rocket, Lee Gueller

“Plus,” he adds, “the CX app is fantastic. Easy to use and find work. And we get to be one step ahead with the integration tracker. I wouldn’t use any other platform.”


Lee’s more than proud of how far he’s come. And we don’t blame him.

Without sounding like Jerry Springer at the end of his programme, I can only speak from my point of view. If you use the CX right, it can open that many opportunities.

Managing director, Red Rocket, Lee Gueller

And the opportunities are endless. Red Rocket currently sponsors three kids’ football teams, professional boxers, charity raves and churches.

“All the money we’re able to give back to the community diversifies from the courier work we’ve done,” Lee explains.  “Red Rocket Couriers is my baby. It’s mine. CX has given me complete independence. It’s given me my life. What you put in you get out.”

Much like the man himself, Lee’s business advice for all new couriers starting out on the Exchange is to-the-point and exceptionally encouraging.

Get your head down and put in the effort. That’s all it takes to make it on CX. Trust me: if I can do it, anyone can!

Managing director, Red Rocket, Lee Gueller

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During the course of the past year, we’ve written several posts on ‘smart professionalism’. Many of you will already be familiar with the phrase, but if you’re not, it’s one that sums up our vision for the future.

While we’re very passionate about technology, we don’t believe that machines will take over. Not any time soon. Perhaps not ever. Instead, we should think about how human beings and technology can work together collaboratively to achieve greater productivity and profit.

By utilising collaborative logistics, Quickline Couriers, which started trading in 2016 from a 16 by 18-foot makeshift office, now provides over 400 customers with a 24/7 dedicated same-day delivery service. So how has this winning combination – which blends human experience and know-how with next generation technology – helped them to compete and thrive in one of the most crowded and competitive sectors in the UK?

Co-founder Andy Martin explains, “To create a successful business you have to have a niche. Before starting the company, we had spoken to a range of different-sized businesses in the north west and discovered that most had grown tired of increasing prices and poor service.”

“In particular, companies fed back to us that a lack of communication was the biggest bugbear. It meant that they were losing money every day and, in the worst-case scenario, valuable customers. We realised very quickly that if we could solve this issue by providing them with greater transparency, there was scope and a clear gap in the market to create a very successful business.”

Prior to starting their own business, Andy and his business partner Stephen Doran had already amassed a powerful network of contacts. But with only three vans, the most pressing challenge was to find a way of scaling up their fleet before they could make good on their USP. They found the answer by joining Courier Exchange, the largest freight exchange platform in the UK.

Mr Doran recalls, “Courier Exchange gave us instant access to a skilled, experienced, and most crucially, a compliant fleet of over 6,000 drivers.”

Almost overnight we could satisfy customer demand. In the space of six months, our order book quadrupled in size.

With that barrier removed, the pair were able to put in place a customer-centric strategy for their business, which is woven deep into the fabric of Quickline’s DNA. But how did they succeed in making industry-leading customer service the central pillar of their business, and how do they maintain it?

Mr Martin says, “Again, it’s the combination of people and technology that’s the difference. When we post a load on Courier Exchange – which we do over 60 times a day every day – not only do we know that each driver on CX is compliant, but the online feedback system lets us see feedback on every job they’ve done. Therefore, we know that every job we post is carried out by an experienced and reputable courier company.”

But both believe that the feedback system, while exceptionally useful, needs to be used in “a more nuanced way to get the best out of drivers”.

“Behind every feedback entry, there’s a human being. While online feedback is very useful, we don’t use it in isolation. What do I mean? Well, it’s possible for someone to pick up one piece of bad feedback, which may be a one-off – or may actually not be their fault. Therefore, if a driver who we haven’t used before quotes on a load – and has a minor blot on their copybook, then we’ll give them an opportunity to prove themselves.”

“The Exchange’s direct booking system helps us in this way because it means that we can offer that driver an incentive. Our approach is very much if they do a great job for us transporting that first load, we’ll give them a much more lucrative load next time round, and do it through a direct booking.”

But driver selection aside, Mr Martin and Mr Doran recognised that offering a professional and timely service wasn’t enough. To really excel, they realised that they needed to provide real-time updates to their customers. Thankfully, the Exchange provided the solution.

Says Mr Martin, “As a rule of thumb, we believe that if a customer has to call us and ask where their load is, we’ve failed them. The vehicles in our private fleet are all fitted with hardwire trackers, so when they’re sent on a job, we know exactly where they are in real-time and can share instant updates with our customers. We wanted to offer our customers the same service for loads that are delivered via the Exchange too.”

“By using Freight Vision and integrated telematics, we can track every load we post on the Exchange in exactly the same way, and best of all, updates can be sent to our clients automatically. The Exchange’s e-quotation system has also saved us several hours each day, as managing 20 quotes digitally is far less time consuming than fielding 20 calls.”

The efficiency and cost savings that CX has brought about has enabled Mr Doran and Mr Martin to grow the company’s private fleet and introduce nine different services.

Mr Doran says, “We’re excited about the future. Last year we moved into a 1000-square foot facility in Liverpool. This year, we’ll be doubling the size of our fleet in the next three months, and will be taking on more drivers. We’re able to do this thanks to the Exchange. Not only has it provided us with the revenue and time to add to our fleet and grow our business, but CX has given us the peace of mind that our new vehicles will always be fully utilised, while at the same time allowing us to further develop and strengthen customer relationships.”

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Made in the armed forces, born to be a courier. Mike Puplett, an owner driver from East Yorkshire, reveals how a career in the military helped open doors in logistics.

“Hi. I’m Mike. Some of you may know me by my trading name, ‘The Courier Guy (UK)’. If we haven’t already met, let me introduce myself. I’m an owner driver based in East Yorkshire. I run a same and next day delivery courier operation, which covers the whole of the UK.

While I’m fairly new to same-day logistics, a 20-year career in the Royal Navy and a further two decades spent in maritime search and rescue has prepared me well for my new career. In fact, you could say it’s the perfect training ground in many ways. Why? Well, in the Navy and the Coastguard, whether you’re working on your own or as part of a team – you have to be able to coordinate a coherent and effective plan of action under great pressure. Sometimes lives depend on it.

Logistics, which is closely linked to the just-in time manufacturing sector – has many parallels. Okay – I’d be exaggerating if I were to say that the pressures are as acute. But to be successful in same-day freight, I’ve had to draw on all of my 40 years’ experience of advanced planning and strategy.”

How I expanded my client base

“When I first began operating as a courier driver a couple of years ago, the big challenge was getting in front of a big client. Why would they choose you when they can give the job to someone who has been operating all of their working life?

To gain experience, I began working for a logistics company. Whilst I was happy to do the work, I had little control over my work/life balance. Some weeks the work would come in thick and fast, but there were also times when I could go a day or two without a job. As I was being paid on a job-by-job basis, no work meant no money.  I thought there must be a smarter way.

That’s when I found Courier Exchange. I’d never heard of it, and back then, I must confess that I didn’t even know what a freight exchange platform was, but I decided to look into it. I did my own in-depth research, talked to other couriers, and then called the customer services team. They provided a demo. While it seemed too good to be true, I realised that I had nothing to lose and I signed up. Two months on I haven’t been disappointed. I only wish that I’d found CX sooner.”

CX: the benefits of belonging to a freight exchange platform

“So how has it benefited me? Well, when I was in the Royal Navy, I missed a lot of family life because I was at sea for many months at a time. From a family perspective, the Exchange has given me the freedom and flexibility to work for who I want, when I want and where I want.

Secondly, as I previously mentioned, the biggest barrier for any courier thinking of going it alone is ensuring that the work’s there. But CX solves that problem in one fell swoop. Imagine if I gave you a contact book containing the numbers of 6,000+ professional drivers and courier companies? That would cost 1000s of pounds, right? You’d think so. But CX gives you this virtual contact book for a fraction of that.

Thirdly, by giving the members access to driver feedback, CX puts merit above name. This has been important for someone like me, who has vast knowledge in planning, but little direct logistics experience to call upon.”

CX technology has given me an edge

Mike Puplett

“But what really stands out is the technology of the mobile app. For me, the Live Alerts feature is the backbone of the app. It knows my position, my status and also takes into account that I’m driving a small van. But what’s really clever is that while I’m delivering a load, it’s working in the background looking for my next one. By sifting through all the loads available to me in a set-radius, it sends notifications to my mobile phone as soon as they come in. That means that I don’t have to ring my contacts on the off-chance that there might or might not be a load. Instead. CX gives me certainty that there will be.

CX promoting sustainability

CX also ensures that I rarely travel home empty by providing me with regular return journeys. Okay – I’m not going to lie to you. Sometimes the backloads I get don’t always take me all the way home – particularly on longer trips. But, if for example I’m in London and looking to come home to Hull, it’s nearly always possible to pick up a return load to Leicester, Derby, or Nottingham and then another one to East Yorkshire. Before signing up with CX, I never got a single backload opportunity in the two years I worked there, which meant travelling back empty, wasting fuel, and letting a potential job slip away. In a small way, I also see getting a ‘backload’ as environmentally friendly. Why? Because prior to using CX, both I, and another vehicle would travel the same journey. The other vehicle would get the job, and I would drive home empty and unaware. I subscribe to the saying ‘Every little helps.’”

Leveraging operational efficiency on Courier Exchange

Talking of sustainability, I really like the fact that the Exchange has created a digital invoicing system. While many logistics companies still require paper copies of both PoD and invoices, I think in a few years’ time everything will be digital. Perhaps the biggest selling point for me, however, is the time I save. For anyone who has never used the CX accounts feature, it’s not that I can send an invoice and my PoD by email that’s really smart. Rather, it’s the fact that it’s an intelligent invoicing system and creates the invoice on my behalf, populating it with information as I drive. No typing, no editing. I just send it with the signed PoD to the load poster when I’m done. What could be simpler than that? I’d urge anyone who is thinking of a career as a courier driver, to seriously consider joining CX, you won’t look back.

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Stephen Nicholson, on the challenges of juggling a successful courier business and fulfilling his ambition of becoming a professional cricket umpire – and how Courier Exchange is helping him achieve his dreams and a balance.

“Hi. I’m Stephen. I’ve been working as a courier for around five years now. I run my own same-day courier business, Salix Courier Solutions, from the south coast. During the last few years I’ve grown my customer base and now serve clients not just in the south east and west of the country, but in the Midlands, the north and Scotland too.

Before I go any further, some of you reading this may be wondering how I came up with the name Salix. Well, for any curious minds out there – it’s not an abbreviation, nor is it a product or material that I transport. It’s actually the Latin name for the willow tree, which as any cricket lover will tell you is the wood that’s used to make a cricket bat.

While I don’t specialise in transporting sporting equipment or even cricketing paraphernalia, I spend much of my spare time umpiring following many years playing the game, and am currently a member of the south coast umpiring panel. I’ve been officiating now for 15 years and really enjoy the challenge of doing so in one of England’s most traditional sports. For me though, cricket is more than a sport. The tradition and history of the game coupled with the continual development and new approaches to keep it current often make it the lifeblood of many a village. It’s where people congregate on a Saturday afternoon. They do it now and they’ve been doing it for hundreds of years. It also completely contrasts with our busy working lives – where everyone is connected to everyone by mobile technology. There’s something comforting and reassuring in knowing I can escape all that for a few hours on the weekend. That’s why on a Saturday – come rain or shine – you’ll always find me officiating on a cricket pitch somewhere.”

How mobile technology powers my business

“But that’s not to say that I’m not a fan of digital connectivity. I am.  But just not when I’m officiating. After all,  it’s real-time technology that has given me the opportunity to do what I love best.

Logistics, as we all know, never stops. Serving the just-in-time manufacturing sector is a 24/7 business. It’s very hard, therefore, to find a job in same-day couriering which doesn’t require you to work weekends in the summer.

But Courier Exchange, a freight exchange platform, which uses real-time smart matching technology to find me a constant supply of loads, has solved this problem. Once you have paid your subscription, you’re free to network and trade with the 6,000 plus professionals who are also members. CX sets no minimum monthly loads quotas too. So you have the power to decide to work for who you want, where you want. In short, it means that I can still pursue the things that I’m passionate about in my spare time. But more importantly, CX has given me the confidence to strike out alone and build a successful same-day courier business.”

How CX has helped my business

I joined CX in November 2017. During that time I’ve developed my business using CX. I use CX to build loads. On average, I get around 15 loads from CX each week. I’d like to tell you that my previous career as a sales manager has given me an edge over many of my rivals. After all, you’d think that a role that schooled me in advanced communication and negotiation skills, would give me a natural advantage. It hasn’t. The truth is that the Exchange’s technology is so effective that anyone using it only needs to know the answer to one question which is: “What’s the cost you are prepared to do a job for?”

CX has given me the confidence to strike out alone and build a successful same-day courier business.

Owner at Salix Courier Solutions, Stephen Nicholson

Of course, to come up with a baseline figure, you need to have calculated all of your overheads, which can differ from month to month. And if you have a small fleet of vehicles – each one a different type and size – you’ll need to work out the price per mile per vehicle. But this really isn’t rocket science, and once you know your bid price, you have full control over the quoting process. Why? Because there are so many loads to choose from, the likelihood is that there will always be one that matches your criteria.

But, as I say, CX’s smart load matching system, which I use on the Mobile App, does the rest for you. If you’re not familiar with the Mobile App, the best thing about it is that it’s very intuitive. It’s well laid out. The buttons are big and the system is very easy to navigate. So you don’t have to be an IT professional to operate it effectively (I’m certainly not).”

Industry-leading features

“I use several features on a regular basis, but for me, the best one is the ‘view on map’ feature because it provides me with all the information I need in real-time. It’s really handy when you’re close to delivering your current job. My aim, like every other driver, is to seamlessly pick up the next load without waiting. The ‘view on map’ makes this exceptionally easy. It tells me where I am in relation to a load match, how long it will take to arrive there, the number of miles from pick-up to drop-off, and how long the assignment will take to complete. This gives me all the intel I need to make an informed decision as to whether it’s a job worth quoting on. If it is, then I submit a quote for the job using either the ‘Quote Now’ facility or by phoning the customer directly. The final stage of the process is to cross my fingers and hope that my bid is successful.

There are so many loads to choose from, the likelihood is that there will always be one that matches your criteria.

Owner at Salix Courier Solutions, Stephen Nicholson

Of course, as CX is a community, I’ve gotten to know several drivers in the past two years, and we work together to secure work. So it might be that one of them will see my position on the LAM, and will offer me the job. But, to be honest, as everyone on the Exchange is a trusted trade-only business, I’m just as likely to receive a call from a contractor that I don’t know. To maximise opportunity, however, I use the future journeys tab. This enables me to post my status in real-time. The more information I provide, the greater the chance that someone will pick up the phone and provide me a direct booking.

Finally, like any cricket lover I’m a great fan of statistics. Last year, largely thanks to CX, I drove over 86,000 miles in my Renault Traffic short wheel base van. This year, with my business still moving forward, my mileage count is likely to increase. And the best news of all – my umpiring career continues to go from strength to strength too. As we say in the game “over, and time gentlemen please.”

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David McBride speaks to Courier Exchange about how ‘thinking out of the box’ in terms of asset utilisation is key for expanding freight forwarding operations.

What makes a successful freight forwarder?

It’s the ability to constantly deliver a high standard of service to a diverse customer base. But in today’s fast-paced world – one where just-in-time manufacturing dominates – a mark of success is how quickly a forwarder can fulfil the needs of its clients. But if, as is the case for U-TRAK Logistics, most of your customers serve ‘rapid response’ industries – such as aviation, automotive, agriculture and healthcare – then arguably the challenges are far greater.

U-TRAK Logistics is not only meeting expectations, but it’s also exceeding them. In the last two years, it has increased its turnover by 80%. So how has this Coventry-based freight forwarder, which provides time-critical same-day delivery services throughout the UK and mainland Europe, managed to stay ahead of the curve?

U-TRAK’s Business Development Manager, David McBride, explains, “To be a successful freight forwarder, you need to provide a joined-up service. Therefore, it’s vitally important to understand each client, the complex supply chains that they work in, and the markets that their customers serve too. Take our agricultural business for instance. We’re often called out in the middle of the night in the height of summer to deliver a spare part for a tractor or a combine harvester. Our Agricultural Logistics Delivery Service is designed to be fast, far-reaching and flexible. But we can only provide this service by sourcing the correct vehicle for the job. And this would be virtually impossible if we didn’t have an in-depth understanding of the internal mechanics of a tractor or all the other different varieties of farm machinery.”

Technology: an enabler

But Mr McBride, who joined U-TRAK five years ago, also recognises the role that technology has played in boosting his business, which employs 15 members of staff, and has a private fleet of 10 vehicles.

He explains, “In our line of work it’s crucial that we get the most out of our assets. And while we’ve got quite a diverse fleet – which ranges from 2 tonne small vans to 3.5 tonne Luton box vans – it’s simply not large and varied enough to cater for the specialist needs of our clients 24/7, 365 days a year. Therefore, whenever our client calls us, we make use of the thousands of member businesses who belong to Courier Exchange and Haulage Exchange’s 50,000-strong virtual fleet. In this respect, being a member of the Exchange has proved incredibly effective. In fact, I’d go as far to say that we absolutely rely on both CX and HX for jobs which need to be turned around within an hour.”

McBride believes that having CX as a partner has helped every part of their business grow. Take the farming sector, for example, and the agricultural logistics companies U-TRAK serves.

He explains, “The challenge for our clients is to get spare machinery parts to farms as quickly as possible. It’s a race against time because any instance of machine downtime can have a major impact on productivity – especially in the harvesting season. If we didn’t have CX to call upon, it would be extremely difficult to serve our clients.”

I’d go as far to say that we absolutely rely on both CX and HX for jobs which need to be turned around within an hour.

Business Development Manager at U-TRAK, David McBride

Why U-Trak’s partnership with CX is vital

So how does CX help? Mr McBride explains, “CX helps us in three ways. Firstly, by posting a load on the system, we can always get a vehicle from a reputable company to pick up the part within 40 minutes to an hour.

“Secondly, by using CX, we can get the right sized vehicle for the job. The Exchange has such a diverse fleet that we’re able to source five tonne trucks – which is a very rare vehicle spec because of its 5-metre length frame that’s perfect for transporting entire tractor engines, or to combine harvester parts.”

By posting a load on the system, we can always get a vehicle from a reputable company to pick up the part within 40 minutes to an hour.

Business Development Manager at U-TRAK, David McBride

“Thirdly, the Exchange’s national fleet allows us to deliver goods quickly and efficiently to any farm in the country. It doesn’t matter, for example, that we’re based in Coventry and the broken-down tractor is in Aberdeenshire, as we wouldn’t send out one of our own vehicles. Instead, we would post the load on CX, and the likelihood is that we’d receive several quotes from specialist couriers in north-east Scotland in minutes.”

CX: a platform for all industries

But it’s not just U-TRAK’s agricultural business that has benefited. Mr McBride also says that the automotive, aviation and healthcare divisions – all of which require rapid response courier services – “have profited”.

Says McBride, “Our largest contracts are tied to the aviation and automotive sectors, which are interconnected. Often it’s automotive parts which are being transported on planes from the UK, Europe or further afield to Britain’s largest automotive factories – many of which are a stone’s throw away from our HQ. To satisfy our clients, we need to be able to deliver to – or collect from – every large airport in the UK in an hour. But that would be impossible without the Exchange. How for example, could we, a Coventry-based fleet, get one of our vans to Glasgow in 30 minutes? It would be impossible. But with the Exchange, we can assign the job to a trusted local subcontractor trained and certified for airside deliveries. That’s a big difference.”

And McBride says that “the same principle applies to the healthcare sector”. “Okay,” he concedes, “unlike agricultural logistics, we don’t require a specialist vehicle. A conventional one will do. But we rely on the Exchange to provide us with experienced and compliant drivers, who use integrated telematics – a system which synchronises the Exchange’s technology with the driver’s telematics system. This means that we can track the consignment in real-time which – given the fact that the goods could be life-saving machines, spare parts or even medical drugs – is absolutely crucial.”

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Nick explains, “I’d been driving vans for ten years. I worked mostly in multi-drop delivering and collecting around the west end of London. It got to a stage where I knew every back route and post code worth knowing in Soho, London, and the south-east. But it was only when I became a transport planner that I began to spot which type of vehicles were in most demand. I realised very quickly that there was a shortage of Luton tail-lift vans and that if I bought one and became a sole trader, I could do quite well for myself.”

After three years in the job, Nick took the plunge and decided to go it alone. He bought his first van – a Luton tail-lift – and began looking for work. But, as many budding entrepreneurs have found out, it’s one thing to spot a lucrative niche, but another to take advantage of it.

As a new operator, how do you get in front of new clients without a proven track record of running a business? And how do you convince a contractor to give you the job when they already have someone they trust on their books?

At first, like every new business, Nick faced an uphill battle to win clients. But not for long. Nick, you see, had been using Courier Exchange in his job as a planner for the last few years. Not only did he know his way around the app, he knew the most profitable routes, the best paying companies and, most crucially, the ones that always needed a Luton tail-lifter. He also had another advantage.

After three years as a planner, in which he used the Exchange to cover jobs on and to find his driver’s backloads, he learnt about areas that would be good to visit in the country to gain backloads and also what price to charge when quoting for work.

A year on and Nick has a developed a large customer base, ranging from contractors who specialise in carrying expensive antique furniture to those delivering components to high performance vehicle makers. His clients are split between both clients from Courier Exchange and customers he found himself.

And in providing a service for his clients, Nick has a few rules which he sticks to all of the time.

Always quote competitively. Secondly, always update the Driver App when setting off, when onsite and when delivered. Thirdly, always be polite and respectful to customers.

Nick, Owner at Nick Of Time Logistics

Nick mostly avoids long distance routes and works between London and the home counties. He starts his day by using CX to take jobs from either Berkshire, Hampshire or Middlesex, near to where he lives, into central London. Once he arrives in town and has dropped off his first consignment, he then looks for work in central London using the Driver App, or accepts loads from regular clients. When finished for the day, Nick uses the Exchange’s smart matching system to find a return journey which takes him as near as possible to his local area.

He says, “Around 60 percent of my work comes from CX. It’s introduced me to large clients in the automotive and aviation industries, and customers in the events and real estate sectors. I get regular work form each one and it’s really helped me to expand quickly. I definitely wouldn’t have been able to grow as quickly as I have done without CX.”

But Nick says that the vast network of contacts he has built up using the Exchange – plus his refusal to take short cuts have helped him to forge new opportunities.

He says, “Pre-planning really goes a long way – particularly when you are transporting fragile and delicate goods,” he says. “It’s not just about covering the furniture in polythene bags to protect them from dust and damage. The item that you’re delivering has to be secured to the van in such a way that it doesn’t move about, but not strapped down so tightly that it marks or chips the furniture while in transit. That’s not easy to achieve and takes a lot of preparation to get right. Many drivers ignore this and hope for the best.”

But not Nick who always “makes sure the item is heavily protected before setting off”. One day his diligent approach was recognised by a warehouse manager and rewarded in the best possible way.

Nick explains, “I was carrying an antique furniture bar for a contractor I was working for through CX. I’d taken great pains to surround it in foam and blankets. I then made sure it was securely strapped down before setting off. However, when I got to Bordon the warehouse manager asked me where the packaging was. I told him that the furniture had been strapped down in such a way that it could not be moved or marked.”

“After inspecting it more closely, he saw that I was right, apologised and shook my hand.  I thought that was the end of it. But the warehouse manager picked up the phone and asked if the company, that I was subcontracting for, could allocate me more work. I now do 10-15 white-glove jobs for the supplier where we unpack, inspect and install the item of furniture before removing all packaging. It’s specialist work and not everyone’s cut out for it.”

However, Nick says that his experience transporting precious goods proved invaluable to his success and has become an important niche for him. As well as antique furniture he also carries scale model buildings for a retail design firm.

Explains Nick, “I’ve transported about 30 of these scale models including one of the Shard. They’re about four feet high, lightweight and very delicate. The work is quite challenging as the models have to be taken apart and re-assembled at the delivery point. However, once they’re put back together again, my biggest worry is moving them safely to the room they’re being displayed without breaking, scratching or marking them.”

“Often this means doing a detailed recce the day before. And sometimes it means thinking out of the box. For example, we would normally use the goods inwards entrance to make deliveries, but for a model being exhibited at the South Bank Centre we used the front door instead because the loading bay wasn’t wide enough for the plinth to fit through. So after walking three different routes, I decided that actually climbing the steps and taking the model through the front door was the easiest solution.”

Perhaps then that’s first and last time that anyone has managed to manoeuvre the Shard – London’s tallest building – through the front doors of the South Bank Centre, but Nick Reakes has proved he’s an expert in moving fragile and unwieldy consignments.

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In addition to its head office in Glasgow, Monarch Transport has branches in Nottingham and southern Spain, where it has access to large fleets ranging from 3.5 tonne vans to 44-tonne articulated lorries.

But as a freight forwarder, it’s not access to large fleets that separates it from others. Instead it’s being able to call upon a wide and varied nature of its mixed managed fleet that really counts. In Monarch’s case, it has a vehicle for just about every heavy haulage scenario you could imagine. For example, articulated lorries, rigids, flat-beds and specially designed vehicles that cater for abnormal and hazardous loads.

But John Weir and Derek Anderson, who bought the company a year ago, say that access to a large and varied fleet has “little value without the skilled and experienced people who are tasked with keeping it moving”.

Like any successful business, we believe that strong customer service skills go a long way. That doesn’t just mean demonstrating good manners, it’s about ensuring that our customers are always satisfied.

John Weir, Owner at Monarch Transport

Mr Weir continues, “Therefore, when we train staff we try to get across a different mindset. We tell them that our customer’s businesses are not separate entities. Instead, we see ourselves as an extension of them.”

“Not only do our people need to have the foresight to see a potential bump in the road before it becomes a problem, they must have the confidence to act too and always be able to communicate a changing situation back to the customer in a timely manner. That’s what our clients – many of them Blue Chip companies – have come to expect and we must ensure that we are always able to deliver their goods in the designated time frame set.”

But in addition to nurturing his workforce in the strategic and soft skills needed to succeed, both Mr Weir and Mr Anderson are firm advocates of developing staff who are comfortable around technology.

“It’s not an optional requirement these days,” Mr Weir explains. “We serve several blue-chip companies and a basic requirement of working with them is that our operational and administration systems work in harmony. Incorporating these systems into our business and ensuring that our staff can use them has benefited the company. Over the years, for example, I’ve come to the conclusion that the best results are achieved when people embrace technology. As they say, you can’t make people faster, but technology can make them quicker.”

Against this backdrop, Monarch uses Transport Exchange Group’s two largest platforms – Courier Exchange and Haulier Exchange – to promote great efficiency and productivity.

Overseeing the day-to-day operations is Monarch’s Transport manager, Neil Morrison. Neil, who has worked for Monarch for three years, manages nine members of staff in Monarch’s busy HQ. All of them are plugged into Haulage Exchange and Courier Exchange platforms. So how do Morrison and his team use HX and CX?

“As a freight forwarder, we have a very large client base, and while we have access to a sizeable managed fleet, sometimes we need extra capacity to fully meet the needs of our clients. The Exchange greatly helps us in this respect because it helps us react much more quickly to our customer’s needs.”

“By using CX and HX, we’re able to post loads and when we do we always receive a quick response – whatever time of day – from drivers that we know that we can rely on. We usually have ten to fifteen loads on CX at any one time and so that gives you an idea of how frequently we utilise the platforms.”

“The other great thing about the Exchange is that it helps us to source a wide range of different sized vehicles for our customers. So whether, it’s a transit van, a curtain-sider, or a 26 tonne lorry, we know that there’s a compliant Exchange member out there who we can always subcontract the load to.”

The Exchange also help power Monarch’s thriving courier business too, which provides same day and next day courier services to Glasgow and to the rest of the UK.

CX gives us access to thousands of compliant owner drivers. Whenever we receive a request from our clients, we quite often post it on the Exchange, as we know it will be allocated to a trusted trade-only transport business.

John Weir, Owner at Monarch Transport

And like so many other large operators, Morrison says that the Exchange, which covers 10 percent of the company’s work, has also helped to extend its reach.

“We often get calls from customers based hundreds of miles away, who require a flat-bed truck. Although our Nottingham branch can cover most of these jobs, there are times when the vehicles are over-subscribed. However, nowadays, when this happens, we simply subcontract the load to a driver on the Exchange. Loads heading south of the border account for a growing percentage of our business these days and the Exchange helps ensure that we remain agile in a crowded market place.”

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Terry Price had spent years of his life working in the transport sector, but he wanted more from his career. As soon as he was introduced to the Courier Exchange network, things changed for the better and his business began to blossom.

“I’ve been in logistics for almost 20 years now. It’s all I’ve ever known and all I’ve ever wanted to do. Like many people, I started at the bottom. When I was 22 I joined TNT as a traffic clerk. The money wasn’t great, but what I gained in experience certainly made up for it. From there, I got my Category B Licence and started driving refrigerated 7.5 tonne lorries over a range of distances from multi-drops to long distance deliveries.

After working my way up to supervisor and manager, I left TNT, ran a bus depot for a while which really tested my planning skills, before taking a job with Kuehne + Nagel (K+N). I’d always wanted to work for a global transport company and at the time I thought K+N would be a good fit for me. In the beginning they were. They knew I loved time behind the wheel so they fixed it so I could combine driving with line managing duties.

However, after a few years, I got itchy feet. It got to a point where I’d felt that I learned as much I possibly could from the large logistics businesses that I’d been with for the last two decades. I really wanted to start my own business. But I realised very quickly that I didn’t have a dedicated customer base to make it work.

And then I met Phil and everything changed. Phil was a work colleague at K+N. He told me how he ran a small freight operation as a side-line. He had three vans and employed three drivers. One van he said serviced a contract with a large contractor, but it was how he put the other two to work that most interested me.

They were always at full capacity but weren’t tied to a dedicated haulier or courier company. “How do you always ensure that all your vans are fully loaded,” I asked him one day. He pulled out his phone and showed me his screen. It was showing the Courier Exchange app. He told me that CX almost guaranteed that his vans were at full capacity – even when they were returning home to base.

The more I used CX, the more I discovered that it wasn’t just a platform for backloads. With a consistent source of hotshot loads, I realised after my first month that I could rely on the platform for my entire living.

Terry Price

I thought it was too good to be true and so I did my own research. It seemed to corroborate what he’d said. I still had my doubts of course, but after talking to my wife I decided to take the plunge and leave K+N. So in November last year I bought a Ford Transit LWB van and started my own business, which I named Purpleline Couriers.

As an owner driver specialising in same day deliveries in the B2B sector, I’d won a bulk delivery contract with a multinational eCommerce company which I’d prioritised as my main source of work. The plan was to only use CX only in a limited capacity for backloads when returning home to Halifax.

However, as so often happens in life, things don’t run the way you quite expect. The contract with the eRetailer sadly didn’t deliver the regular work that I was hoping it would. But, on the other hand, the more I used Courier Exchange, the more I discovered that it wasn’t just a platform for backloads. I found it to be a consistent source of hotshot loads – so much so that after my first month, I realised that I could rely on the platform for my entire living.

So how does an average day shape up? Well, I’ll use the platform’s smart matching technology to find a load the night before the delivery’s due. I’ll then spend the evening with my family before setting off at around four o’clock in the morning. The pallets are usually with the customer before the rush hour has started and at 9 am I’ll then look for another load to take me home, or as close to Halifax as I can get.

It doesn’t always work out of course, but when it does it’s very satisfying. Last week, for example, I picked up in Preston, dropped off in Cambridge four hours later and then won a backload to Brighouse, which is just five miles from my house. I was back at home by lunchtime to walk the dog.

While the Exchange has helped me work on my terms, I can also say that it’s a great consolidation tool. At first, however, I had my doubts and so being a bit of whizz at Excel I decided to put it to the test. Therefore, I built a spreadsheet which logged my daily mileage, my diesel costs, my closing mileage, and my profitable mileage. From there I was able to accurately monitor my efficiency, and the results so far – albeit over a short period of time – have been quite astonishing.

For example, before I signed up to the Exchange, due to not being able to find backloads, I calculated that my inefficiency levels were close to 60 percent. After just a week on the Exchange, however, I managed to reduce them to 36 percent, and then a week later I cut them to 32 percent. And for the last few weeks, I’m running empty only 26 percent of the time.

As I expand the business, it ought to be possible to further cut dead mileage, especially if my wife comes on board to work on transport planning. When this happens, it will, I believe, generate many more loads. Finally, with profits up by 30% we’re a planning to buy another van, as well as make more use of the Exchange’s virtual fleet when we’re tied up on jobs ourselves.”

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It’s a fine balance and one that few couriers achieve. How do you grow your business, yet remain faithful to your roots? It’s a question that Kevin Evans, owner of Avantee Logistics, pondered for a long time until he found the solution by signing up with CX, one of the UK’s leading collaborative logistics platforms.

How can you grow your business, while remaining faithful to your roots? It’s a question that Kevin Evans, the owner of Avantee Logistics, thought about for a long time, until he found the solution by signing up to Courier Exchange, one of the UK’s leading collaborative logistics platforms. Kevin founded Avantee Logistics, a same day courier service with headquarters in Tunbridge Wells and Reading, 5 years ago.

“We worked hard to build up a large and profitable customer base in Kent and Berkshire. Many of our clients are large logistics companies or manufacturers that are locally based, but operate throughout the whole of the UK and Europe. Like any ambitious logistics company, we wanted to forge closer links with them, but with a small fleet we realised that on our own, we didn’t have the agility or scale to provide national delivery capability to them at such short notice – unless we could find a recognised freight partner organisation to help.”

A game changer

Evans, who has worked in the same day courier sector for thirty five years, believed that the solution lay in collaborative logistics. It was then that he turned to CX.

He explains, “I had known about CX for a long time and decided to join. The technology is fairly intuitive, and it began to make a real difference to the business after just four months. Looking back, signing up to CX is probably one of the best decisions that we’ve ever made. Why? Because CX’s virtual fleet allows us to utilise the vast skillset of around 43,000 skilled drivers, meaning that we can take on jobs anywhere in the UK, and usually have them covered in around 60 minutes.”

Increased revenue stream

With Avantee Logistics primarily using CX to post loads, in percentage terms, how much does Evans think CX has added to the company’s annual revenue?

“99 percent of the time we use CX’s Live Availability Map (LAM) system to check the status of drivers in our network, and to post loads. We estimate that we earn between 15,000 to 20,000 pounds each month subcontracting work through the Exchange to its compliant freelance pool of drivers. And we would say the work we subcontract via the platform adds around 70 percent to our annual turnover.

Signing up to CX is probably one of the best decisions that we have ever made… the platform adds around 70 percent to our annual turnover.

Winning new clients

Has access to the CX virtual fleet also helped Avantee win new business?

“While I cannot say that CX is solely responsible for winning us new customers, it’s certainly played a part in winning new contracts. It’s made our business pitches to prospective clients much more compelling, because we’re able to tell them that we’re able to tap into a compliant virtual and mixed fleet at any time. That, I think, has added an extra dimension to our service offering.”

A communication enhancer

Kevin, who believes that “regular and pro-active communication between operator and customer” is the cornerstone of any successful logistics business, is convinced that the pioneering new technology developed by CX can play a key role in ensuring the client receives regular updates.

He says, “CX, has made this much easier for both us and the drivers that we subcontract. Why? Because if the driver activates the ‘on my way to pick up’ button, it means that the driver, the despatch manager at Avantee and the customer can all track the vehicle’s real-time position on the LAM. This means that nobody has to waste their time phoning the driver to find out where he is, which improves communication and efficiency.”

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Becoming a member of CX has made growth easy for Eezehaul. In fact, they give us the credit for achieving ISO 14001 status. With our help, they’ve been able to increase their back loads which, in turn, has cut down on waste and reduced their carbon footprint during deliveries. Go green!

Mark believes being a member of Courier Exchange has played a vital role in the phenomenal growth of Eezehaul by allowing them to accept more more loads as it expanded. Access to the network of 6,000 plus CX member companies gave the Sussex-based company the ability to meet customers’ demands at short notice – even at its busiest times.

CX vets its members, giving us reassurance that we can be confident doing business with any of them.

It has also helped the company achieve the coveted ISO 14001 status, which it was awarded recently, by ensuring that wherever possible vehicles do not run empty on return journeys, thus cutting down on waste and reducing the average carbon footprint on deliveries.

“At Eezehaul we have always had a clear idea of what we wanted to achieve, and CX has certainly helped us on our journey,” said Mark, who acts as Managing Director. From the beginning we could see the benefits of CX and it hasn’t let us down. There are other exchanges out there but I’ve never found anything that matches the overall offering of CX.”

“It’s easy to use, well thought out and, most importantly, offers security. CX vets its members giving us reassurance that we can be confident doing business with any of them.”

CX has grown to become one of the world’s largest trading hubs for the sameday courier and express freight industries, enabling its members to fulfill orders and complete journeys in the most efficient way possible.

“It’s invaluable, as here at Eezehaul we often need to make things happen at short notice,” said Mark. “CX’s offering is getting stronger and stronger. Developments are progressive and user-friendly.”

“The days of putting things in the back of a van have long gone. People are now looking for service partners who can manage their logistics. Eezehaul is also proud of its green credentials and using CX means we’ve reduced wasted journeys. It’s a win-win – good for customers and good for the environment.”

CX has helped us to serve our customers well, and I am certain it will continue to do so.

Customer service is paramount for Eezehaul, which moves an average of 5,000 consignments a day. Working to high standards also gives staff job satisfaction – the company prides itself on having a low turnover of employees.

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