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In the Spotlight with Colin Hawkins

Colin Hawkins is the Director of UK-Owned Operations at Pall-Ex Group. With decades of experience in logistics and a track record of modernising logistics for longevity, Colin has a key role in driving the business forward throughout the UK and ensures our operations meet the stringent demands of our customers.



We sat down with Colin to discuss what his role entails, what makes the UK owned-operations tick, and how he likes to unwind after a busy day in the office.


What is your role at Pall-Ex?


As Director of Owned Operations, I oversee the five Pall-Ex Group Owned member depots which are Intercounty Distribution in Cornwall, Pall-Ex Logistics in Basildon, Cranleigh Distribution in Cranleigh near Guildford, Shears Bros (Transport) Ltd in Bournemouth and our newest recruit is the Fortec member depot based in Watford gap near Crick.


My role is to develop these businesses and provide the correct infrastructure, resources and strategy to build them into stand-alone businesses by means of revenue diversity, profitability and of course safety and service excellence.


How long have you been working with Pall-Ex?


I joined Pall-Ex in October 2017, so just over 5 years.


When not at work, how do you unwind?


I play golf (inconsistently) and do lots of countryside walking with my dogs.


What does a great day at work look like for you?


There is no better feeling than knowing the businesses are on track to achieve our goals.

I love the feel of a business when the business is doing well, it resonates with the staff and creates a happy, confident and dynamic environment.


When I visit one of my business units and leave at the end of the day knowing that I have made an impact on either the business or a member of the team.


As a director what do you believe sets Pall-Ex apart from its competitors?


Quite simply, our team.


Whilst it is our hard-working, committed teams at the “business end” doing all the work, I have to say that I am proud to be part of what is undoubtedly the most dynamic and driven senior leadership team I have ever been part of.


What skills would you say are most important for anyone who dreams of being a director one day?


This is a hard one as all teams need different characteristics, skills and strengths to get the best results.


I can only speak from personal experience, I never imagined that I would be in the position I am in today. I have always gone to work and done the best job I could do, every day.

Work ethic, commitment, enthusiasm, and integrity. I have always been keen on the detail and felt a need to learn everything I could about the business I was working in.


As you step up into different management roles, your personal development takes a different path and you learn new skills, you also become more robust to the setbacks and pick yourself up faster.


For anyone who has ambitions to work in a leadership role, the previously mentioned traits above are a given, but you also need huge belief in your own ability and a vision that you are passionate about. It is easy to say the obvious, that you need to learn from your mistakes, they make you better, but you also need to be brave to continue making decisions that may lead to other mistakes, none of us get it right all the time, that’s what makes getting it right feel all the more rewarding.

Remember the hard times as this drives you not to return to them.


What’s the most unusual item you’ve seen on a pallet?


Too many to mention, from 8ft stuffed bears to 20ft trees and even a 7.5t lorry chassis sat on 8 pallet bases joined together by metal strapping. Anything, and everything, comes through our warehouses.


As Director of UK Owned Operations, what are the biggest challenges faced by logistics firms within the UK?


I thought I had seen them all until the last two years. We have had Brexit, which is still having an impact as well as driver and fuel shortages.

I would say that we are now currently experiencing what must be the most unpredictable challenge in my career to date.

The current instability brought about by the war in Ukraine and our own political situation doesn’t seem to have an endpoint, no one is exempt from the spiralling cost of living and energy crisis.


Given your experience, what has been one of the most enjoyable/successful campaigns or initiatives to work on at Pall-Ex?


I really enjoy what I do and get a lot of satisfaction from seeing my team develop, grow, and gain confidence. It makes all the hard work and long hours feel worth it.


It’s also exciting to play a big part of the decision-making behind these projects.


Which country, that you can deliver to, would be number one on your holiday hit list?


I have two favourite cities that are great city breaks, Vienna in Austria and Porto in Portugal.

If I were to choose a longer stay it would again have to be to play some golf in the Algarve region of Portugal, there are some fantastic courses and great people.


Colin is a large part of our success here at Pall-Ex. As the Director of UK-Owned Operations, he has a direct hand in driving Pall-Ex forward and ensuring long-term success. If you’re interested in finding out more about Pall-Ex and the services we offer please feel free to contact us today. If you’re in logistics and are interested in becoming a member of our trusted network then please contact us here and find out about everything we have to offer.

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