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Member Stories: Severn Transport Services

Read how award-winning Pall-Ex shareholder member Severn Transport Services is miles ahead of its competitors, despite a challenging first year in business, thanks to our first-class tracking technology and support from Pall-Ex.

Having spent 14 years with Pall-Ex as a Regional Manager, joining the network as a shareholder member was an obvious choice for Mark Howard, Director at Severn Transport Services (STS).

Teaming up with former depot manager, Steve Goodwin, who is now Operations Director. The two combined their skillsets and extensive experience in palletised haulage to launch their own business, with a brand-new name and new premises.

From its depot base in Welshpool, STS covers postcodes across Shropshire and Mid-Wales on behalf of the Pall-Ex network since it started trading in September 2019.

The firm faced a turbulent first year. Just six months into the new business venture, COVID-19 appeared on the horizon and with it, lockdown.

Mark says: “It was extremely challenging and initially somewhat worrying due to the unknown with COVID-19, and a lot of operational changes had to be made but surprisingly it was also extremely busy for us.

“STS took on these postcodes from an exiting Pall-Ex member who weren’t really into marketing and technology, so hadn’t really pushed themselves, so we had to do a lot of work to build local brand awareness.

“Now everyone knows we’re here, we promote our brand and we’ve built up a fantastic reputation for quality and service and are taking the business from strength-to-strength with the support of Pall-Ex.”

Despite the challenges, Pall-Ex helped the company grow considerably in its first 12 months.

Tapping into the full potential of residential deliveries supported STS during lockdown, which the firm would not have been able to achieve without MyNexus – the award-winning technology Pall-Ex has developed to improve tracking and visibility for customers.

“There was a big increase in residential deliveries from March 2020 onwards,” Mark explains. “We were anticipating the rise, with a lot of people on furlough and using the time at home to do DIY jobs.

“Palletised home delivery really took off during that time. From building materials to plants, we saw a huge range of goods going to residential addresses and those customers all wanted visibility on their consignments.

MyNexus has helped us to get a large portion of the local residential and UK market. Our main competitors in the area cannot offer the same level of live tracking to customers because they dual network, but we can offer this to all our customers."

“As a new business we would not have been able to invest in the same level of technology, so without Pall-Ex it would have been more difficult for us to pivot our services to cater for this business so successfully.”

Feedback from customers on the live tracking has been very positive.

Mark comments: “The previous Pall-Ex member for our area didn’t offer tracking, so it has been a breath of fresh air for customers. They like it because the booking system is so easy to use and we’ve actually gained new customers because of MyNexus.”

Access to the latest technology is just one of the positives STS has experienced by becoming a shareholder member of Pall-Ex, as Mark explains: “We felt it was the right thing to do for the future of the business by becoming a shareholder member. It makes the company more viable and it offers us more security.”

Mark and Steve have big plans for the future of STS, as their Pall-Ex membership enables them to offer International as well as UK service options.

“We can get quite busy with International traffic, which will only increase once full International visibility goes live” Mark says.

“We have ambitious plans for the future, and we plan to build on that and to offer customers a truly global palletised freight delivery service.”

With many postcodes to cover, incorporating large rural and urban areas, STS benefits from a broad customer mix across many industries. The various seasonality peaks and troughs of these businesses is a real bonus for the firm, helping to balance out their portfolio across the year.

Mark adds: “We are ideally located for our area and while we do cover a large rural area which can be quite challenging, there are no disadvantages to our location.

“STS is all about teamwork, quality and service, we are fortunate enough to have a great team who are all passionate about being the best, which has earned us an excellent reputation within Shropshire, Mid Wales and further afield for quality, service, honesty and transparency which demonstrates our commitment to service excellence.”

Pall-Ex Group CEO, Kevin Buchanan, has worked with Mark closely for a number of years, both during his time at Pall-Ex and now as a shareholder member in the network.

Reflecting on STS’s contribution to the network, Kevin comments: “STS has been an invaluable addition to the Pall-Ex network, and I am delighted that the team there, led by Mark and Steve did not hesitate in taking advantage of our unique shareholder opportunities.

Mark’s detailed knowledge of how our network operates, having spent so many years working as a Regional Manager has meant he and Steve have been able to establish a highly successful business in a considerably short space of time and STS consistently perform exceptionally in our weekly KPI reports.”

The partnership is clearly going from strength to strength as STS recently won the coveted Regional Member of the Year - Midlands Trophy at the recent Pall-Ex Awards. This is a huge testament to the commitment of all the staff at STS and their drive to succeed.

On the award win Mark comments: “We are so proud of the team to be finalists in two categories, but to win one was a fantastic high for everyone at STS. To also be nominated for Member of the Year along with some quality long-standing members was a highlight, especially as this is voted for by the network.”

Find out more about joining Pall-Ex as a shareholder pallet network member and download our member brochure.

Visit Severn Transport Services for more information on services.