Wales Start-Up Awards 2018: Winners Stories: Freight Logistics Solutions

Freight Logistics Solutions won the Global Start-Up of the Year Award, sponsored by Swansea University, the Services Start-Up of the Year, sponsored by HSBC, the Cardiff City Region Start-Up of the Year Award and the Overall Wales Start-Up of the Year Award kindly sponsored by the Welsh ICE. We caught up with them after their win to find out a bit more:

1.) How did it feel to win a Wales Start-Up-Award?

Our expectations were fairly neutral this year as we’d won our two categories’ last year, and like everyone, potentially winning two years in a row would seem very ambitious, but we were delighted to win Services Start-up of Year and then Global Start-up of the year again. Collecting Cardiff Capital Region Start-up business of the year was a real surprise as this was a very competitive category with some impressive businesses in the mix, but of course the icing on the cake was topping our night off with another trip to stage to pick up Wales Start-up of the year – we were over the moon, truly flattering to be recognised in this way.

2.) How did you find the experience of the Awards night?

The event is certainly different, held in a converted warehouse with street food and craft beer. It is very well attended, professionally run, and has a very supportive, relaxed feel to it. For us it was very humbling for us to have so many great things said about our business on the night, and the celebrations went on long into the night.

3.) How do you strive to make a difference in the Welsh business market?

Before starting the business, we were in client facing roles across the manufacturing landscape of South Wales. Establishing fresh relationships with potential customers can be done better if you’re local, on some common ground with in-depth knowledge of the regional supply chain networks. We wanted to be central to a commercial patch we knew well and support the Welsh business market.  The business is based in the Torfaen area, which is very lively region for us and is a good position to physically support our clients and business requirements.  Plus, as Torfaen boys (well at least Ieuan and Dafydd, with Gavin only recently moving to the area) we’d like to be close to home and do our best to engage local talent and give something to the communities we love.

The model that we have created can support any type of business from any sector with the ad hoc user of transport to a business looking for a fully outsourced solution. We have supported Welsh business with increases in work load that affects their logistics demands, enabling them to continue manufacturing or growing without restrictions in vehicle or service availability. 

We have also supported Welsh business to export or import to new countries, controlling not only their delivery requirements but also arranging their custom documentation, and whilst the country is still unsure on the specific requirements to importing and exporting resulting from Brexit negotiations, if the result is an increase in customs documents we will be there to support our clients to ensure continuity in services.

4.) What are your goals for the next 12 months?

Freight Logistics Solutions has seen substantial growth recently increasing from 3 directors to 22 members of staff and developing a supply chain of over 40,000 vehicles, a client base in excess of 200, and we currently manage imports and exports to over 24 countries. Our future plans for the next 12 months are exciting and include:

  • In excess of 400% growth on previous year turnover.
  • FLS have dramatically improved its 'regular routes' over the past year and will continue to enhance these as our customer profile grows.
  • Working hard to exceed 250 clients.
  • To move into a fit for purpose building by the end of the year. This will provide space and opportunity to deliver our growth plans and cater for the new divisions of the business.
  • We have extensive plans to expand our preferred suppliers list across all global regions. We have been busy developing our supply chain to support the launch of our enhanced sea and air freight divisions planed for January 2019.
  • We have grown from 3 to 22 staff and have plans for 4 additional heads over the next six months. 

In addition to being recognised for four awards in the Wales new start up awards, We have been shortlisted as a finalist for Employer of the year at apprentice awards Cymru in recognition for our apprenticeship programme and our MD Ieuan Rosser has been shortlisted as a finalist in the new start up Entrepreneur of the Year at the great British Entrepreneur Awards both in November.

5.) What is the biggest lesson you have learned in the first year of your start-up business?

Do your research ensure you know the market place, the sector, competition and opportunities, and then plan. It took this business 18 months in planning followed by a clear 5-year business plan with goals and a clear vision on how we were going to achieve it. Do your research, do the meetings and only start when you are completely prepared

6.) What one piece of advice would you give to any aspiring entrepreneurs?

Trust and respect are something you need to get the most out of people, even if you're the business owner you've still got to earn it, so be honest and make sure those people know they’re appreciated.

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