Supporting Owner Drivers

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Supporting Owner Drivers

Diamond Logistics

After graduating from university 12 years ago, Mark Sergeant realised that it didn't necessarily hold all the answers to a rewarding career.

Diiamond Logistics

A keen sportsman, who represented Yorkshire in athletics, cross country and rugby union, Mark had just graduated from the York St John University with an honours degree in Sports Science, but couldn’t find a job in his chosen field.

With no coaching job in sight, he decided to sign up to a local driver hire agency. Having developed a strong reputation for himself, two rival courier agencies became embroiled in a spat for the right to win his services. The local courier firm in Cleckheaton eventually won out and Mark stayed there for six years. A five-year stint at DHL followed, before he decided to branch out on his own in October last year. Mark became the Managing Director of Diamond Logistics, which specialises in providing same day, next day, overnight courier services and fulfilment.

With tight margins a constant challenge, Mark, who’s a senior director in both businesses, which are Huddersfield-based, decided to improve efficiency by using the Courier Exchange platform to cut out empty miles and consolidate loads.

Courier Exchange has been great for us. We love the live tracking feature and the platform’s smart load matching system – which generates a steady supply of backloads, meaning that our vans return home fully laden more often than not. That made an immediate impact to our revenue stream.

Mark, who is primarily focused on winning new clients, explains how CX adds value. “Last week we sent our long wheel base van to pickup a load from Wakefield and take it to Birkenhead. As this is a round trip of 160 miles, without a backload, it would mean that we would probably lose 40% of our profits. However, when the driver was half an hour away from the drop off point, my colleagues and I used the CX desktop package to find him a return load -picking up from Blackburn and delivering to Wakefield. Not only did the return trip cover the cost of fuel, but crucially, it meant that the outward journey delivered 100 per cent profit.”

Mark, says that the long term aim is to ensure that each of his three privately-owned vehicles generate £400 every day.

“With CX a big part of our service offering, I think it’s very possible that we’ll achieve this target in around a year’s time. CX has opened up a world of possibilities for us, not just in terms of backloads, but by giving us a solid platform to take on local multi-drop work from new clients. Often the margins are very tight for these runs, but if we can get a backload after the outward leg, they suddenly become quite profitable.Furthermore, CX has also helped us win more long distance loads in Guildford, London and Birmingham, which is bringing more money into the business.”

But perhaps the most powerful aspect of being part of a freight exchange platform is that it allows enterprising members to spot a gap in the market, fill it, and in doing so-bring benefit to the wider freight exchange community.

He explains, “From using the platform, we quickly realised that there is a shortage of Luton Box curtain-sided vehicles in the freight sector. We’ve decided therefore to buy a 14-foot curtain-sider, which will be on the road by early October. We think that advertising is on the Exchange win us a lot of business both locally and nationally, and meet the supply needs of other members too.”

Mark continues, “I think that’s why the Exchange stands out. Without it, we would never have known that curtain-siders were in great demand. But because CX highlights demand for vehicles in real-time, lucrative opportunities like this are easy to identify. Moreover, we are able to use the Exchange data to plot the number of potential jobs a curtain-sider would bring in, which enabled us to build a powerful business case for increasing our fleet.”

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