At this June’s Gala Awards for Palletforce members, NGC was honoured to receive the Networker & Brand Ambassador of the Year Award. You can see Gary Owen (Director of Sales) sporting the award in our Buckingham Service Centre lobby.
The Gala Awards was attended by over 450 guests from across the UK network, with awards presented in 8 categories. Thank you to all accredited for this fantastic result!
The NGC and Palletforce team stand tall next to our new summer fleet addition! What a fantastic way to enjoy the weather! This healthy 44t wonder is out there serving our customers valiantly at every chance.
Recently, the French born star was recognised by Sales Director Gary Owen (pictured) in the local community of Buckingham near our Service Centre.
Currently racing for India, the all-time record holder for most consecutive finishes from start of his career was recognised instantly.
Gary commented “It was nice to see someone with their feet firmly on the ground at such a tender age”.
Keep up the great work Esteban!
Over the last few years, a growing local sensation of sports enthusiasts in Buckingham have built a reputation of combining community, enterprise and charity. NGC are proud to be involved with the efforts of Sports Shots to raise money and awareness for Macmillan Cancer Support and Vasculitis UK.
The community have been supporting this wonderful cause in growing numbers (into the millions) as they keep sport lovers posted on player updates, match conditions, results and up-coming events.
If we step back in time, the tools in a courier’s arsenal were fairly limited and basic compared to what we find used by the couriers of today. As time progressed, technology evolved which helped logistics firms to expand their operations. Thanks to GPS technology for example, drivers have quickly found themselves working in unfamiliar locations more often, and are expected to make efficient and accurate deliveries. Couriers
The simple fact is that delivery work has evolved and so has the set of tools a driver uses to get their job done faster and easier. Let’s take a look at what items are on offer, taking inspiration from classic essentials to modern technology.
Clothing & PPE
Steel Toe Boots – when going into loading and cargo areas, safety is always first. Likewise, many veteran couriers have been caught in the heavy rain and have had to deal with slushy socks all day. A good pair of waterproof steel toe boots is a great investment and will serve purpose in many situations.
High Visibility Vest – drivers definitely should be visible in safety controlled areas. In addition, when out on the road in winter times when early sunsets are commonplace, it is recommended that drivers stay visible in remote areas or places with low lighting to ensure other motorists can see you. Customers are also more likely to react better to a driver if they are highly visible.
Waterproofs – good old weather can be a mysterious character. With unpredictable drizzles and flash sunshine spells, it is always good to be prepared. Water resistant trousers and a water resistant hooded coat are a handy pair to keep in the cab. Tip: keeping these items thin and light will mean you can slip them on and off easily with little discomfort. For those who get caught unexpectedly, keeping a change of clothes is a good idea.
Comfortable Running Shoes – steel toe boots are not the most pleasant things to wear, especially if you are out for quite a few hours. Switching to a good pair of comfortable foot wear when sensible will make a huge difference to mood and foot maintenance.
Stationary & Documents
Pen – a good pen for most couriers is like a limb. Find a type that writes well, is easy to grip and not too expensive to replace. You might want to throw a few in the glove compartment while you’re at it.
Writing Pad – always good to keep around the van, you never know when some key information needs jotting down to turn an attempt into a successful delivery.
Map – the tried and tested method. A printed street map of your delivery area will not run out of battery. Especially important when operating in new territory or in the midst of a possible technological malfunction.
Insurance & Road Side Assistance – if ever in an incident, having the right documents can make processes much more efficient. Making emergency hotline numbers easily visible will always help in times of uncertainty.
Smartphone & Apps
In 2016, the UK has a population of over 65 million people, 71% of which have smartphones. This means in each internet ready unit, a wealth of tools and apps are on offer to enable the modern courier to operate and perform more efficiently than ever. It is very easy nowadays to find a highly functional smartphone for well under £100.
Google Maps (Free) – an easily found and simple to operate navigation app. Includes traffic warnings and the ability to avoid toll roads.
Waze (Free) – having developed significantly since its release in mid 2016, this alternative navigation app also includes traffic warnings but most importantly is able to display the less common but more efficient routes to avoiding traffic. Brilliant for the courier who doesn’t want to slow down when traffic hits.
MileIQ (Free or £4.49 for Upgrade) – mileage tracking is regular practice for couriers. With apps like this, one can keep a track of their travel miles with handy mini-reports, saving time and making things nice and simple.
BBC Weather (Free) – when heading out for the day, understanding the weather situation is important as couriers are often in and out of their vehicles. The weather app is clear and accurate, making attire, vehicle and PPE preparation easy.
Satellite Navigation – often sold as single units or now more commonly integrated into vehicle dashboards, a dedicated GPS system is very handy to find your way around considering the smartphone alternative may run out of battery or credit.
Mobile Phone Mount – a very useful piece of kit. When in the flow of driving and delivering, attention given to a phone flapping around on a seat or in your lap can be very dangerous and possibly lead to an accident. Mounting your phone on a sturdy holder will mean its visibility is efficient and safe, providing minimal distraction.
Hands Free Unit – normally based on Bluetooth, dashboard or voice control elements, these things are legal and help with safety. If you find that calling customers or answering important calls happens often in the day, it is better to it properly and avoid fines, points or a driving ban. Most commonly rechargeable and ear mounted.
Cigarette Lighter Splitter – many courier companies often use hand held devices to assist with delivery processing and tracking. This will most likely need to be kept charged. However, you can use one of these handy things to charge your phone and other things at the same time. Bonus: some units even come with USB ports.
Vehicle Maintenance & Misc
A responsible motorist will keep a regular eye on their vehicle from tyre tread depths to fluid levels. That being said, there are always occurrences that can happen unexpectedly.
Tyre Changing Kit – oh the horror. The stories I have heard of wrenches not fitting the nuts. As professional drivers, couriers may find themselves in the situation of changing a tyre or two. It is important to have a complete and functional set of tools that turn this task into a doddle. A suitable spare wheel, jack and lug wrench are essential.
Flashlight – when taking a closer look at things or navigating low visibility areas, this thing can turn difficult situations into very manageable tasks. Bonus: most mobile phones have inbuilt flashlights but it is always good to keep a dedicated unit for emergencies.
Lubricant – a can of WD-40 can go a long way when it comes to preventing locks from freezing in the winter or dealing with door functionality issues.
Ice Scraper – some vehicles have fantastic technologies built in to prevent any snow or ice forming on the windows. However, not all vehicles have such advantages. Keeping a scraper around will mean that in a few short strokes, you can be ready to set off and get your day started.
Piece of Carpet – laying a piece down in the back of the van will certainly make you feel groovy but when stuck in the snow, will also serve a great purpose. Using carpets or similar items in addition to gritty things like sand and cat litter can make a huge difference when working get unstuck.
First Aid Kit – you can never really know when you might require one, but you will definitely be thankful if you have one tucked away if the need arises. Better safe than sorry as they say.
This is the real essential element. If an individual can get this right, all of the items above will just bolt on. If you can think of anything that we have not included, please let us know via firstname.lastname@example.org
A significant portion of the logistics industry is rooted in asphalt, and ‘road rage’ is just not welcome.
Let’s face it. When out on the road, there are times when many motorists can feel frustrated. Recent Gallup poll statistics show that nearly 9 out of 10 UK drivers have experienced road rage first hand, with around 70% committing the offence and about 80% being victims of it. Us UK folk actually hold the world title for biggest road rage nation. However, it’s a problem seen in most countries. Even the AAA Foundation in the US reports that nearly 56% of fatal crashes happen because of potentially aggressive actions.
The great thing about the logistics industry, is that we are constantly surrounded by a network of professional drivers. Each well versed in the world of transport and the behaviors that come with it. It is always a good idea to be aware of these traits so that when the need arises, we can remember and apply. Here are some top tips from our experts and veterans of the road to stay calm and safe.
If you see it
Now and again, we spot the odd shaking fist, honk or a straight flipping off. Unfortunately in some cases, such gestures are just the first link in a chain of events. As propagators of safety, we do not want an escalation for anyone. Consider the following:
- When switching lanes or following others, give space where necessary and maintain sensible distances.
- Remember: developed spatial awareness is good for yourself and others.
- Use signals to make your intentions clear.
- Apologise when wronging another motorist or pedestrian.
- Let other high energy motorists pass you by.
- Be sure not to make gestures that may be perceived badly.
- If someone seems hostile, don’t engage.
If you feel it
Professor Zhen Yan of State University of New York proved that stress clouds our thinking and impairs our decision making abilities. There is a range of precautions we can take to make our journey on the road as stress-free as possible.
- Tiredness is a killer! This secret remedy is so very underrated… If it is possible, make the time and get your sleep the night before! The health benefits are immense.
- Try to prepare for your day. This could mean laying out your clothes or preparing your lunch the night before. You could even use the morning to check the traffic reports or finalizing after work plans. This will help to remove any unnecessary cumulative stressors.
- If the journey is getting intense; take a break, do some stretches or grab a cup of tea.
- As long as it doesn’t interfere with your job, chewing gum and listening to music have been proven tools to improve moods and decrease stress.
- Unwind after the journey with some deep breathing, calm sounds, meditation, a nice walk or a good book.
If you feel like talking to someone about stress, the Samaritans run a 24 hour help line. Please call 116 123.
There are many elements to a successful business – a great product or service, lots of demand and a healthy supply.
And logistics – the art of moving it all from place to place, on time and precisely as it should be every single time – could be the most vital.
Get it wrong, and you could be in trouble. Get it right, and you’ll not only watch your business grow, but your customers’ businesses too.
“Pleasing the customer’s customer is the recipe for success,” says Kevin Savage, Operations Director of NGC, which has just opened a new 25,000 sq. ft unit on Tingewick Road in Buckingham.
“Without a solid logistics operation in place, you can’t reach your customers in time, you can’t provide for their needs. This has knock-on effect up and down the supply chain. If they lose business, so do you.”
For some businesses, logistics is a complex process involving aligning transportation, shipping and receiving, imports and exports, warehousing, purchasing and production.
With so many moving parts, a small mistake can add up to a big loss, both in terms of revenue and damaged reputation.
“Providing the right product, at the right place and in the right time frame, with minimal damages and returns at a competitive cost is a balancing act,” adds Kevin.
“At NGC Logistics, we measure everything. Performance measures are down to the minute.
“Our management team implement continuous improvement programmes to hone operations and increase customer service at every opportunity.”
Small to medium enterprises often face a choice between a small, cost competitive service of poorer quality, or a larger company where the quality of service is higher but the cost is prohibitively expensive. It means it pays to find a logistics that can offer multi-modal global networks, storage facilities and a range of delivery solutions.
Getting it right can give you the edge over competitors, particularly in an age when customers expect goods and services, on time and just right. Getting to know your customer, says Kevin, is key.
“It’s very important to understand your client, what they are looking for and how they want that delivered. Pay attention to these things whether you’re dealing with the smallest of businesses or a multimillion-pound company.”
Early this year, NGC opened a new 25,000 square ft unit on Tingewick Road in Buckingham. To find out how NGC can help you, email email@example.com or call 01280 313666.
The Buckingham County Road Safety Community Charity Campaign has gained another supporter. NGC has joined the cause for a safer and more aware Buckingham. Working with local community establishments including businesses, schools, clinics and council buildings, the Government’s ‘Think!’ Road Safety Campaign and European Commission – Road Safety organization are using sponsor funding to distribute educational posters and charts on the principles of correct road safety. These materials will particularly focus on the issues of children’s safety, driver behavior and speed.
This move directly resonates with NGC’s core values, especially Integrity and Responsibility. According to the FTA Logistics Report 2016 “Van traffic is expected to rise by 78 per cent between 2010 and 2040 and HGV traffic by 22 per cent”. As a logistics firm, NGC primarily deals with such vehicles and as the organization expands, NGC is equally concerned about the safety of road users and pedestrians around delivery operations.
Sporting a positive attitude toward road safety highlights the ethical and responsible stance of NGC; a clear gesture of doing the right thing. NGC can operate in confidence knowing each driver associate that works to provide services for our clients will whole heartedly support the campaign and its principles.
Set at NGC’s Buckingham Service Centre on August 24th, David Breeze Member Relations Dir. for Palletforce attended a warm welcome from the NGC Senior Management team (Nav Singh Managing Dir., Kevin Savage Operations Dir., Kirsty Smith Strategy Dir. and Gary Owen Sales Dir.) to officially commemorate the partnership. Forming part of UK’s leading Pallet express network, NGC are able to provide local businesses access to quality and reliable distribution services reaching across the UK and EU.
Enthusiastic about the future of the pallet sector, NGC wish to encourage the growth of local enterprises by providing these newly developed links via Palletforce, who have recently opened Europe’s largest SuperHub, boasting market leading notification and tracking technology. Palletforce now operate in over 14 countries, having delivered over 30 million pallets since entering the market in 2001.
Operations officially commenced at the 25,000 sqft Buckingham Service Centre on July 18th. Determined to meet customer expectations, Kevin Savage Operations Dir. comments “The launch was very successful in getting our Service Centre ready and delivering pallets for customers from day one. After listening to customer logistics needs, we are able to offer a wider range of services and solutions by joining Palletforce’s network.”
Focused on making an impact to local enterprises and the community, NGC have taken on 11 new employees, including 6 skilled drivers. The site is still expanding and will be sourcing more local talent as operations grow. Initially covering postcodes from Surrey to Buckinghamshire, NGC reinforces Palletforce’s presence in south-east England. Gary Owen Sales Dir. added “This is a significant period in the strategic growth of NGC and offering added value services including storage, airfreight/seafreight and pan European pallet distribution in partnership with leading networks like Palletforce outlines our commitment to the local business community and secures the longevity of NGC Logistics as a business”.
Jet Drew Site Mgr. and Richard Barker Implementation Mgr. both agree that the partnership with Palletforce “is a real growth platform” for all involved. Particularly focusing on local businesses, the team are excited to share the advantages of the network to boost pallet distribution and storage.
To see how your enterprise can benefit from this partnership, click here contact us now.
In some cases, a 9-5 job is just not right for us. A better balance of work and home life. The opportunity to be independent. More flexibility and control over your career. These things matter and can be made available in a self-employed role.
A company or individual can nominate you to complete their work. Of course, they will clearly state what end result they expect from you. They might even share some info, on the best way they think it can be done. But how you direct your work is your choice. You are your own boss, and build your own routine. This means that you choose where, when and how the job will get done. You will want to keep your clients satisfied in order to get good referrals, more work and better paid opportunities. But at the end of the day, you are free to do business with clients, not work for employers.
The great thing about a business is that you can make a lot of money. Companies will normally pay contractors more than employees for the same work. Additionally, business expenses can be deducted from taxes by independent contractors, increasing your pay. Your private assets can also be partially included as long as you can justify their business use. If a business loan is taken out, the interest can even be deducted from the revenue if the terms and conditions state.
Talking about support, the government also provide financial help to those wanting to start their own business in designated regeneration areas. Even charities such as the Prince’s Trust have been known to help 18-30 year old start their own business. Coming straight out of unemployment can be hard. But if you meet certain criteria, your local Jobcentre Plus could arrange self-employed credit of an extra £50 per week if you meet the criteria. You may even qualify for entitlement to working and child tax credits.
When you run a self-employed operation, it can be in one of several forms:
- Sole-Trader – you and your business are legally the same
- Partnership – you and your partners run the business and split the profits
- Limited Liability Partnership – a step between a partnership and a company where each partner is liable for themselves
- Limited Company – you as one of the owners will run the company, however you are legally separate to it
In a sole-trader or partnership situation, you are self-employed legally. Running your own limited company would normally mean you are employed as a director in your own business. It is important to understand your format because different legislation can apply.
With more and more people discovering the flexible advantages of a self-employed occupation, it is no wonder companies like NGC Logistics are growing.
Click here to head over to the Self-Employed Driver Opportunities page to view the posts in your local area and request a call-back for more information.