A logical choice: Velta's Andrew Dunn on the challenges and triumphs of logistics

Logistics firms remain somewhat an unsung hero in the toy industry. We talk to head of international freight management at Velta, Andrew Dunn on how 2015 has been, the challenges that the company has faced and what firms should bear in mind when it comes to selecting a new logistics partner
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What services does Velta offer the toy industry?

Founded in 1999 by Doug Reynolds, Velta has grown on an ethos of absolute quality. Velta offers industry leading personal service and communication for complete supply chain solutions, from the manufacturer to the end consumer.

Services include the transportation of imports and exports for domestic, European and international freight shipments, and 3PL services including warehousing, fulfilment and e-commerce. Our network of agents offers total global coverage, enabling us to provide clients with a smooth and hassle-free option to outsourcing their freight and logistics.

How has 2015 been?

2015 has been a successful year across the company. We have expanded our services to complement our already comprehensive portfolio for the transportation, storage and distribution of goods.

Continuous growth of our logistics group has meant that we outgrew our current premises, and led to the relocation of warehousing operations to a new 100,000sq foot distribution centre.

2015 also saw the launch of our dedicated European freight operations. The decision to implement a department focused on the delivery of European haulage services followed an increase in demand from clients for a ‘one stop shop’ for their supply chain requirements and truly strengthens our capabilities in meeting our customers’ needs.

In addition, we have successfully launched a new Manchester office,which enables the team to handle air freight services more efficiently; providing direct control and consistency on shipments to and from the north of the country, as well as cutting down transit times for clients’ goods that would have entered the country via Heathrow.

This year has also prevented its fair share of challenges. None more so than when the industry faced a crisis with a series of issues at Calais. While much of the haulage industry came to a standstill at the channel, Velta were able to divert client’s bookings to alternative traffic lanes.

During this time clients were kept well informed to ensure they were aware of the situation, and advised of any amendments to their bookings. With global downturn in trade this year, the freight industry has experienced low freight rates and the cancellation of services by shipping lines on key trade routes, due to over- capacity. However, despite the issues faced by the industry, in this testing market place we have seen stable growth, and have expanded our client base through networking and referrals based on our ability to deliver.

How do you ensure you keep up with the ever changing landscape of the toy industry?

A strong understanding of any industry that we work with is central to our service delivery and we are proud to be associated members of the British Toy and Hobby Association.

We take the time to understand our customers’ needs and provide bespoke solutions to maximise supply chain efficiency for each client. As a smaller freight forwarding company, we offer flexibility not offered by some of the larger players in the industry, enabling us to deliver reliable solutions.

With increasing customer demand for e-commerce, we understand the need for reliable deliveries. We are consistently reviewing our offerings and looking to develop innovative solutions, and we are currently investing in new technology to further improve and maximise the efficiency of our warehouse management system.

What should toy firms looking for a logistics firm bear in mind?

Find a logistics company that can work and grow with you organically, and is not just after a quick return. Ensure that the company chosen is flexible in the way they approach the business relationship.

Communication and attention to detail are just as important as the rate. Finding a happy medium between these is imperative for the long term success of the partnership. Transparency and trust between both parties is also essential.

For us, it is all about helping people with problems that exist in their supply chain. Resolving their problems and ensuring that they don’t re-appear in the future. Complacency should not be in a forwarder’s vocabulary. These are all the basics of how any business should run, but it is still surprising how many freight and logistics companies miss these fundamentals and get them wrong.

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