Things have changed a lot over the past year at award winning welsh-based freight transport and supply chain management company FLS.
The Pandemic arrived and FLS like many other companies focussed on digital working requirements, making sure as many of their processes and administration was as slick and easy to use as possible.
As part of their ongoing commitment to their digital strategy FLS started the year totally focussed on enhancing their online offer and the delivery of their award nominated Client Portal, which was the final component in their digital freight solution, providing clients with branded, bespoke online spaces to make bookings, view jobs placed and their status, see an archive of monthly jobs and costs, view insight into all freight movements, cost analysis and access completed PODs and customs documentation.
The use of dedicated vehicles increased, smaller express loads increased, and frequency increased. Sectors changed, volumes changed, and customer usage changed. The volume of transport being delivering in sectors such as automotive, hospitality and retail took a dramatic dip, whilst almost simultaneously we saw increased in transport volumes in Industrial Engineering, FMCG, and especially with the NHS, pharma, and Medical and unexpectedly the Construction sector.
Across the board there has been a large uplift it demand at the same time as a reduction in availability from a combination of factors. We’ve seen the massive rise in domestic deliveries, no new HGV drivers able to enter the sector, many leavers and isolators, and a huge reduction of European carriers entering the UK, both through COVID fears and unattractive port delays, taking their capacity elsewhere. Add to the situation Brexit changes to work process’, new customs and transit requirements has meant the UK freight sector has been under enormous pressure keeping the country running.
To mitigate the drop in availability and price increases FLS focused on securing business resilience by extending its large data base of carriers across Europe the UK, making sure all customers had the maximum amount of vehicle options for their loads. Also, FLS released a new version of their Carrier Portal, where registered van and truck owners can view available loads, quote for them, receive bookings, submit the job status and location, plan routes, maintain fleet profile, post future availability, submit their PODs and even invoice.
Great relationships with carriers are the corner stone of the business. With around 80% of all commercial transport vehicles on the road in a fleet of 20 or less, FLS see this as their primary resource for securing freight partners for their clients, and this has proven safe practice with some major UK hauliers sadly disappearing during the pandemic leaving some manufacturers in some very tight spots.
Groupage services particularly have suffered the most at the start of 2021 with many major European providers suspending these services. With the reduction of available vehicles, shortage of customs agents and complex customs issues demand has been transferring onto dedicated services. So the end of the year saw FLS focusing their expertise on dedicated full vehicle loads, maintaining quality service for customers and deploying its customs service for clients whilst mitigating empty journeys, reducing carbon and offering seamless movement of goods in and out of the UK
Ieuan Rosser, Managing Director at Freight Logistics Solutions said
‘what a 12 months! We have had huge shifts in our client base which has been exciting, but the enormous pressure of the pandemic, Brexit and the challenges that customs and its restrictions have had, hasn’t made 2020 easy.
We opened a new office in Silverstone, locked down, delivered over 15,000 lines of PPE for the NHS, taken on 9 new members of staff, many to bolster our customs agent service. In November we were second fasted growing company in Wales for second year running, and we are on course for a record year, and busting all our targets. I’ve been delighted with our focus on ‘seamless freight movement’ and with our enhanced digital offer, especially with the success of our Carrier and Client portals. The team have worked hard and shown incredible commitment and perseverance during the most difficult of times.
I am really looking forward to the ‘bounce back’ needed for many of our customers and certainly a vaccination will help us towards the return of face-to-face meetings with clients and carriers.
As with everyone, 2020 changed us and our new website reflects the new slicker, confident, tighter, more digital version of us and I hope you like it.