Monarch Transport reveals why technology and skilled workers are a winning combination.
In a fast moving and increasingly competitive market, where margins are razor-thin, Monarch Transport, a Glasgow-based haulier, continues to offer an industry-leading service throughout the UK and Europe.
In addition to its head office in Glasgow, it 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”.
Mr Weir says, “Like any successful business, we believe that strong customer service skills go a long way. That doesn’t just mean demonstrating good manners, which is an absolute must in the industry we work in, it’s about ensuring that our customers are always satisfied.
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. Therefore, 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. Morrison, 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.”
Continues Mr Morrison, “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.
Mr Morrison explains, “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.”
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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