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The very latest happenings at Expert Logistics

Star Away Day 2016

March 15, 2016 | By | No Comments

Our STARS head out to the country!

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Our Stars of 2016 returned home last Thursday, (possibly wet, but almost certainly weary) after a 2 Day team building exercise in the Pennine foothills.

In the first Star ‘Away Day’ of it’s kind, the pupils were whisked away to the Anderton Centre in Rivington, where their resilience and team spirit was put to the ultimate test in a series of mental and physical challenges. Temporarily split into two, It was Team Taurus Vs. Team Scorpio – but who came out on top? Well, it was almost too close to call…..almost.

Why the country break?

We spoke to Star Programme’s course leader Carley Leese  to find out:

“The Star Programme is about pushing people to their limit and way beyond their comfort zones, and is more about proving it to themselves than it was to us. So to keep our Stars on their toes we wanted to try something different, and an intense team building course out in the elements seemed like just the way to do it.

Throughout the two days I wanted the team to demonstrate everything that they had learned in their first module, Developing You, so they would expect to demonstrate communication, their personal effectiveness, motivation, confidence and presentation skills, during the tasks they were set.  Much more than that though we wanted them to gel as a team, building long lasting relationships that would transfer back into the workplace and last a lifetime.”

 

Day 1:

After arriving bright and early for a warm breakfast, our pupils were quickly put to the test in a series of challenges: one of them involved manoeuvring a golf ball around an obstacle course using only string, whilst another required them to build a bridge using a ladder, a barrel, and their bare hands.

It was Cold. It was Wet. It was Brutal. But it was only the beginning…

After a spot of lunch our Stars were back at it, but this time points were being recorded – and so competition was fierce!

First up for team Scorpio was the Crate Stack, where 2 members of the team stood on top of stacked crates, whilst other team members added more crates below. The team with the highest stacks wins!

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Whilst over on Team Taurus it was the low wire obstacle course. But as if that wasn’t hard enough, each had to carry a cup of water across the course and empty it into a measuring jug. The team with the most amount of water wins!

The final challenge of the day was a quick Archery contest, with all points being recorded and added to the final tally.

Whilst the overall scores were being kept secret, a special mention must go to Ionut Sandu for hitting the bullseye with his last arrow of the day for team Taurus. A fantastic example of someone being able to deliver the goods under pressure. Great work Ionut.

In the evening the team were treated to a pub quiz and a chance to lay a few bets on our Virtual Horse racing in the hostel common room, before getting an early night* and getting straight back into the competition tomorrow morning.

Day 2:

After a Bacon Sandwich the teams headed up to the onsite meeting room for a quick chat with surprise guest, John Roberts (you can read Johns Blog here). But after a few introductions and inspiring pep talks it was back to the tournament for the final showdown. The task?  A gruelling boat race the length of Rivington Reservoir, followed by 45 minutes of orienteering up Rivington Pike, before ending in a mad dash back across the reservoir and back to shore.

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With both teams neck and neck in the final 50 meters it was anybody’s race. So close in fact, that in the flurry of white water and abandoned ships it was almost impossible to call. The winners would be kept secret, and would be announced after the team’s final challenge – a presentation in front of the senior management and, of course, their fellow pupils.

It’s fair to say that each and every pupil delivered a heartfelt presentation, with perhaps the biggest compliment coming from Group Logistics Director Dave Ashwell when he said “I believed each and every one of you”

The Results

Tired, rung out from the nerves of a presentation, and the warm comfort of knowing that they all made it through, it was time to reveal the winners.So without further ado, congratulations to………..TEAM SCORPIO – who won by a deceptively close 117 points .

Well done team Scorpio, and to all of our STARS who made it through. But most of all congratulations to all of the Programme co-ordinators. It was the first event of it’s kind, and it felt like we’d been doing it for years

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Expert Logistics Welcomes Manchester Met University

February 28, 2016 | By | No Comments

Crewe offers a unique insight into how the business is run.

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Expert Logistics today welcomed 18 special guests from the local university here in Crewe.

14 business students and 3 members of staff from Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) were invited along to take a closer look into our world, how the logistics industry works, and what makes us so special.

why?

It’s the first time we have invited business students for a tour of our operations, and it was the brain child of our very own Recruitment Advisor (and co-ordinator of our “Emerging Talent” initiative),Kerrie Salisbury

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“Even when you go to university you can still be unsure what it is that you actually want to do with your life. So we wanted to get local students in for an insight into our business, and to educate them on how a job in logistics can turn into a life fulfilling career.

We’ve actually just started up our graduate programme, and if it’s a success then we’ll be looking to this next batch of graduates to apply for future vacancies. But right now we just wanted to show them that logistics is much more than just lorries and warehouses, and to get them thinking that a career in this industry could be just the future they’re looking for”

The students were given a brief presentation by Kerrie on the history of the company, before hearing a more personal tale from our resident Business Administration Apprentice, Alana Davies. Alana spoke of how she came to work for us, and the benefits of working in such a fast paced and varied environment.

“ I didn’t really know what I wanted to do – career wise, but after doing some work experience here I got a phone call asking if I wanted to come back and become an apprentice. And now that I’m here full time I love it! …..one day I could be doing my Duke of Edinburgh, the next I could be ordering the weeks shopping for the entire building. It’s so varied, and it’s given me the confidence to take on any challenge that might come up in the future”

undefinedThe students were then given a guided tour of our operations by Op’s Director Tony Chrystal and Op’s Manager Craig Berrisford, where they were educated on (and also visibly impressed by) our logistical set up. From how the smallest cost saving initiatives can make the biggest difference, to how we develop unique solutions for our very own unique problems.

Finally, after a brief tour and a whirlwind trip in one of our V.N.A’s, the students were brought back to the boardroom for one final talk. Both UK Logistics Director Dave Ashwell  and Commercial Director Stuart Haynes were on hand to tell their stories, and to also offer advice on how to get ahead in the business world.
Their key message was about making your own way in life, and that whichever arena you chose to work in it’s the ‘where’, not the ‘what’ that will be the catalyst for a fantastic career. In other words, If you can find the right place with the right people, then you’re definitely on the right path to success. So work hard, be nice, and strive for a business which believes in the same values as you do.

so it’s goodbye…..for now

Before wishing the students well on the remainder of their course, there was time for one last group photo –  and a quick catch up with one of the course lecturers who came along for the day. We asked Sue Coles (a business lecturer at MMU) why they chose Expert Logistics:

“There’s only around 3 or 4 of these students which are studying Business AND Logistics, with the rest studying things like Business and Accounting, things like that… But we thought it would be useful to bring everyone because Logistics is so crucial to so many industries. So if they do transfer their degree skills to a future career then this trip would have been more than worth it. The main reason we wanted to come here though was because of the culture you have. We’ve had some preliminary dealings with ao in the past but the main thing that’s always stuck is how you treat your customers AND your employees. It just shows what can be done when you put people above profits….we couldn’t pass the opportunity up to come along and see how it’s done, really.”

Obviously we know how great we can be, but you can’t beat hearing it from people on the outside, can you?

Congratulations to Kerrie and her team for organising such a successful morning, and good luck to the Business students at MMU. We hope to see you on our graduate scheme in the non-too distant future.

 

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Star Graduation Evening

January 21, 2016 | By | No Comments

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Our Star Pupils graduated in fine style last night, with a glitzy awards ceremony at the Crewe Alex Football Stadium.

It was the second time we’ve held the prestigious event, which was hosted by Group Logistics Director Dave Ashwell.

The Speeches

Dave opened the night by talking about the benefits of the course, and how well this year’s crop has developed – despite an albeit different approach in our nurturing style.

“This programme is designed to help nurture, coach and develop our employees. It isn’t about finding the finished article; it is about finding the right personality, finding people who have the right DNA and bringing them together”

“As this programme is still relatively new, lots of lessons were learned from the class of 2014 and how we handled our emerging talent. But 2015 still proved to be quite challenging. It was hit by something which we can only call the ‘2nd Child Syndrome’.

With your first child you wrap them in cotton wool, and do everything you can to make sure they won’t fall down. Whereas with your second you realise that even if they do fall down they probably won’t hurt themselves, and more than likely they’ll just get back up stronger than ever and carry on. So with this year’s class we sometimes let them make their own mistakes, and although we did things differently – both years have turned out to be absolutely amazing”

Then it was the turn of 2015 Star Graduate Stuart Siddall to take to the podium, and tell us about his experience on last years course:

“The Star Programme changed my life…..no I mean it, it actually did! The last 12 months have been incredible. I’ve been promoted 3 times, made some friends for life, and I also won the SMART award at the Christmas Party……It’s the perfect platform to get noticed and move forward, and the best advice I can give to the new class is to embrace it. Throw yourself into it and you’ll definitely get something out….. I did.”

The Awards

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There were also some awards handed out to our Pupils, in recognition of some of the exceptional work they did whilst completing the course.

Shooting Star –Presented by Lorraine Hewlett and Tony Chrystal, this award was to recognise an individual who propelled themselves to the forefront and reaped the benefits by showing Steely determination. Also, for gaining 2 promotions (and moving a whopping 240 miles south for one of them). Congratulations to Gareth Stephens!

Shining Star – Presented by Helen Hookway and Richard Paul, this award was to recognise the student who has visibly applied what they have learned on the programme with their fantastic work ethic and 2 changes in career since joining the programme. Congratulations to Paul Sedgwick!

Brightest Star – Presented by Melissa Clutton and Adrian Hasson, this award was given t the individual who represents our values on a daily basis, and who has really stood out and the ideal student throughout the entire process. Congratulations to Ben Tesla!

Star of Stars – Presented by Lynne Wood and Jason Charnock, each Star was given the opportunity to vote for whom they thought was the stand out candidate throughout the entire course. To be chosen by your fellow peers is recognition like no other, so a massive congratulations must go to Samantha Wainwright!

Goodbye class of 2015, hello class of 2016!!

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The podium was once again returned to Dave Ashwell, who brought the occasion to a close by welcoming the class of 2016. With the previous years restricted to just 12 pupils, Dave told the audience that no matter how hard they tried they just couldn’t get the class numbers below 20. Each and every applicant who has made it onto this years course was just too good of a prospect to turn down – so the only reasonable thing to do would be to expand the class size!

Please welcome your new Stars:

ionut Sandu , Kelly Taylor, Simon Ratcliffe, Liam Shropshire-Fanning Tom Evans, Jayne Chapman, Dale Flather, Keeley Nash, Simon Clarke, Hannah Drake-Wilson, Liam Hughes, Amit Singh, Mike Taker, Christine Berry, Gerry Burns, Matt Tyldesley, Becca Davey, Liviu Agache,James Johnson & Holly Draper.

Congratulations to all of our Star Pupils, both old and new.

It was a memorable night once again, and as always our P&D team did a fantastic job of turning a credible venue into an incredible one.

Congratulations to everyone who was involved in making the night a success and best of luck to our Stars on their brand new career chapters.

Business expansion brings jobs back to Greater Manchester

September 29, 2015 | By | No Comments

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3 years after moving our distribution centre out of Radcliffe, Expert Logistics are coming back to Manchester to open a new outbase in Heywood – just off the M62.

The move comes after a surge in demand for our 2 man home delivery service, and Monday 5 October will see the first deliveries leave our brand new base of operations.

With peak season just around the corner the great location of our 102,000 sq ft site will help relieve some of the pressure on the northern depots, and mainly focus on covering Manchesters 1.1 million households.

It will also help to create jobs in the local area, affording 3.5t and 7.5t drivers the chance to come and work with us and join in the companys success.

You can find more details on working with the company on our careers page. cheap car rent

Special Delivery…

August 10, 2015 | By | No Comments

all the way from Bedburg!

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This morning Crewe took delivery of an unusually large item. So large, in fact, that it took 2 cranes to lift it from the trailer!

Welcome home #11

That’s right, we’ve just welcomed back one of our V.N.A trucks from our distribution centre in Germany, after a short loan spell on the continent.

V.N.A #11 was first sent across the water a year ago, and it has been helping to pick orders in Germany ever since.

If you didn’t know, V.N.A’s are used to pick stock from the high racking which stores our appliances. However, due to the different regulations in Europe the racking in Germany is not quite as high as the shelves in Crewe, so the truck was a little bit bigger than what was actually needed.

But now that Bedburg have their own (better suited) VNA’s we thought it was high time to bring #11 back across the channel and back to Cheshire. So yesterday it began its 600 mile journey home – travelling from Bedburg to Rotterdam, where the trailer was loaded onto a ferry and sent over to to Killingholme, Yorkshire. It was then picked up in the small hours of this morning, and driven back to Crewe to be unloaded and put straight back to work.

As you can imagine, delivering an 8 tonne appliance across a continent in under 24 hours is no small achievement, and it just goes to show that when it comes to Logistics; we’ve got it covered.

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Well done to everyone involved, and best of luck to Bedburg with their brand new V.N.A.

Just when you thought we couldn’t get any bigger

July 28, 2015 | By | No Comments

we go and open a brand new outbase!

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We’ve opened yet another depot in the South of England, and this time it’s in Basildon!

For those of you who need to brush on your geography, Basildon is just to the right of London on the map, and whilst we already have 2 depots covering both the North and South of the capital, Basildon will give us the perfect foothold to deliver to the rest of the South East.

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In the hot seat is Star Programme pupil Gareth Stephens. He joins a growing list of Stars who have moved on to become Depot managers (with Karl Williams now in managing at Crewe, Shaun Carter at Leeds, and Gregory Cole in Potters Bar), and he will report directly to experienced area manager Adrian Hasson

It will no doubt be a steep learning curve for Gareth, and we wish him the best of luck in our shiny new depot.

But the hard work began long before the doors opened for our first delivery this morning, and we want to thank everyone who helped get the site up and running, especially Matthew Beardmore and Simon Ratcliffe. Their hard work and dedication meant the site was turned around in just 3 weeks. Website value Their efforts, as well as everyone else’s are greatly appreciated.

Thank you again to everyone involved. We’re sure base number 10 will be just as amazing as the other 9. Welcome to the family Basildon!

Congratulations to Crewe’s Karl Williams

July 14, 2015 | By | No Comments

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We are incredibly proud to announce that Crewes Karl Williams has been given the North West Young Logistics Manager of the Year award.

At just 27, Karl was a pupil on last years inaugural Star programme, and has quickly risen through the ranks since joining the company back in 2012.

Starting as a Transport Administrator, his last role before coming to us was working in hospitality behind a busy bar so to say Karl has made big strides in his Transport career these past few years would be a bit of an understatement.

The Ceremony

Karl was given his award at a prestigious, black tie event held at the Midland Hotel in Manchester, hosted by The CILT (The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport).

Their Annual Awards for Excellence have raised the bar by recognising outstanding achievements in logistics and transport by encouraging organisations (large, small or even individuals) to strive towards the highest possible standards.

Companies from all around the North West, ranging from National rail to independent coach companies were in attendance, so to even make it to the short list for such an accolade was no small achievement.

Whats the secret behind Karls meteoric rise?
We managed to get 5 minutes with Karl to ask how his first 3 years with the company had shaped his career.

Im just really grateful, and lucky that the company took a chance and invested in me over the past few years. Being on courses like last years Star Programme have helped because they taught me a lot; Things like planning, communication and management so it all put me in good stead for the job I have now. It also got me noticed by the top management, which can be priceless when youre trying to make a good impression on the business.

Dont get me wrong though, Its been a lot of hard work on my part to get to this point. Like finishing my CPC course and working some pretty long hours, but Ive loved every second it more or less.

I also have to thank Jon Makin for putting my name forward. He wrote a recommendation that was a few pages long. Im still not sure how he managed to write so much about me but it must have been good to even get my name on the shortlist.

Im not sure Id be sat where I am if it wasnt for his help, and I certainly wouldnt be sat here without the support and investment from the company. So I just want to say thank you to everyone who helped make this happen

Karls Manager, Jon Makin:

The Chartered Institute of Logistics & Transport drives education & excellence throughout the logistics industry.

Winning the Young Manager of the year award after being shortlisted is a great achievement from a very strong sector in the North West, and this award is the accumulation of hard work & determination from Karl. His achievements reflect our values & our commitment to the future of our business through the continuing success of the STAR program.

Charlotte’s (not so serious) exit interview…

June 12, 2015 | By | No Comments

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This week we say goodbye (again) to our work experience stalwart, Charlotte!

Charlotte first came to us in the summer of 2012 through South Cheshire College, via their Careers Academy. But she enjoyed it so much that shes now back for another stint!

Charlotte is currently studying Business and Marketing at University in Chester, and as part of her course she needs to undertake 5 weeks of work based learning and where better than with her old (employment) flame – Expert logistics.

We managed to steal 5 minutes with Charlotte on her last day, to ask her those all important questions:

So Charlotte, first things first. Theres a phenomenon that comes from working here. Most of us will suffer from it at one stage or another, with only the strongest managing to avoid it. Some refer to it as the expert belly expansion, which is a freak occurrence that happens to due to a lack of self-control and an abundance of free chocolate and fizzy drinks. How have you coped over the past 5 weeks?

Ha. Not great but not terrible. Im not sure if Ive put any weight on. I havent checked to be honest but I know Ive drank a lot of coke. Im sure its fine.

Were glad to hear it. So free treats aside, hows it been?

Its been great. Ive spent most of my time with the engagements team, and helping them to arrange to family and football day was a really good experience. Being able to see the planning and effort that goes into a day like that, and then seeing it all fall into place on the day was just a great feeling. I also want to say thank you to Julia Bent and Jayne Chapman for trusting me with some of the jobs that needed to be done. Both big and small.

It was a fantastic day and were sure we speak for everyone when we say thank you for all your help in arranging it. Would you say that was your highlight?

Maybe. We also went to South Cheshire College to interview potential work experience candidates through their Careers Academy. When I came here in 2012 thats the process I had to go through, and so sitting on the other side of the desk was a surreal feeling being the interviewer rather than the candidate. We also went to City Tower in Manchester for a meeting, where we got to watch ‘State Of The Nation’ business update from the CEO on the live feed. It was nice to see another side of the company, and to see how well you communicate across the business. Seeing everyone all gathered together from Bolton to Bedburg for one meeting – It was cool.

It sounds it. Come to think of it I think we did see You and Julia do a little dance in front of the camera in Manchester before the meeting started. So is there anything you feel youve learned over the past 5 weeks to help you in your degree?

Probably the main thing is how important communication is in a business. Breakdowns can really slow a project down, but the fact that you have regular updates from the CEO to all corners of the business is amazing. Everyone knows exactly whats going on, and I think thats something Ill always remember.

Were glad we could be of help. So do you not fancy sticking around for the summer?

I cant, Im sorry. Im going to work in Disneyworld in Florida.

..what?

As part of my course Im off to work in Disneyworld, and also study out there for one year. So from July to July im going to be working and studying at Disneyworld! Ive had an interview and they measure you up for who you could be in a costume. Apparently im Winnie the Pooh size. Thats not saying im going to be him, thats the category. So Ill be in a costume doing meet and greets etc. I cant wait.

.what?

I know. And I get free entry into the park all year.

That sounds amazing. Well we wish you all the best over there. It sounds like youll have the time of your life! So will we be seeing you again, possibly for a third stint?

Ha. Yes Id like to. Ive been given a number to call in 2017 when I graduate, but who knows. Its a great company, and if im around then Id love to come back.

Wed love that too! Thank you very much Charlotte. Its been an absolute pleasure.

Apprenticeships are go!!

May 6, 2015 | By | No Comments

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We invited our gas apprentices in for a very special breakfast this morning.

After working with our engineers since the prem fleet began, it is now time for our apprentices to begin their training and become fully qualified engineers themselves.

In honour of the launch our 10 apprentices were cordially invited to a presentation on what the new course will entail, and to field any questions which they might have (not to mention enjoy a complimentary fry up, cooked in house by students from South Cheshire College).

But before Prem Fleet Manager Gary Ainscough presented the finer details, Managing director Dave Ashwell was on hand to welcome them to the next phase in their careers.

Our goal is to never have to go outside to recruit new employees, because we know we have all of the talent in the world right here. So rather than have to continually look outside, wed rather just grow our own.

You are all sitting here right now because you have the right personality, and thats what we are looking for above all else engineers, but with a great personality – and so growing our own is key to achieving that

Starting Tuesday 12 May our apprentices will attend Crewe and Nantwich training college for the next 20 weeks. The course will be split into 4 modules and will cover topics from cookers, hot water heaters, central heating systems and gas meters. Then at the end of the course they will sit their final exam.

On top of that they will also need to submit a portfolio of 35 jobs which they have personally completed.

All of this will count towards obtaining their ACS certification.

That may seem like a lot to cram in over the next 5 months, however with plenty of experience now behind them, some fantastic mentors to help them along the way, and an above 90% pass rate at the college, were confident our guys will be fully qualified in no time.

This initiative is the result of a lot of hard work from the team based in Crewe, and is yet more evidence for how serious we are in developing our internal talent, and also delivering the ultimate doorstep experience to our customers.

So please join us in saying well done to everyone involved in the project, and good luck to our apprentices over the next 20 weeks.

Well be sure to keep you updated on their progress as the weeks go on.