How did your MIQ journey start?
In 1993 I joined Ultimex Global Logistics. The owners were dynamic and had a compelling vision to build a business that offered multi-national global capabilities with the feel and values of a family company. Their vision was absorbing and it was impossible to turn down the chance to be part of it.
What happened next?
By 1998 the owners vision was paying off. Ultimex had grown considerably and was attracting a lot of attention from prospective buyers. USF, a domestic US transportation company, acquired Ultimex as part of their strategy to move into global logistics.
USF appointed Darren Williams, Finance Director and myself, as officers of the company and we basically become co-managing directors.
When did MIQ start to look like
the company we see today?
In 2010 the senior global leadership team partnered with venture capitalists Austin Ventures to buy the business; rebranding as MIQ Logistics and retaining many original colleagues globally, to form the unique team that is still largely present today.
What did that mean for MIQ?
The partnership with Austin Ventures supported the strategic development of International Supply Chain and value added warehousing capability, including the acquisition of our long term contract logistics partner TLC.
How did you evolve the supply chain
side of the business?
Post 2010 we decided to focus on our supply chain product and were fortunate to meet John Howlett, ex DHL Director EMEA.
John joined us on a 3 month consultancy basis. Toward the end of this period he said to me ‘on a smaller scale you have the origin, network and technology capabilities of a DHL, which I think we can leverage to build a product that will appeal to mid-level companies that need international supply chain services but are not the right fit for the multi-nationals’. John joined soon after to lead our International Supply Chain (ISC) product.
Were there any particular projects
where you felt you made a difference?
In my role as key account sponsor I am privileged to attend business review meetings with many of our leading customers. I recall the initial one at the end of year one with New Era Cap, held in their Netherlands DC, where we were able to demonstrate massive savings through the successful roll-out of our International Supply Chain services.
New Era Cap global VP joined the meeting as an interested observer and congratulated their UK management team for a great job in the efficiency and cost savings since the change to MIQ.
How do you decide which contracts
to put in a bid for?
Our customers have a strategic appreciation of their supply chain and work with us to deliver efficiencies and cost savings through their end to end supply chain. We qualify new business opportunities: to manage our resources and ensure that we concentrate on those businesses that will be the best fit.
What about your freight forwarding?
While our International Supply Chain and Contract Logistics services may be more tangible differentiators, freight forwarding is central to everything we do and many of our customers engage us solely for these services.
The key thing for us is being able to offer end to end solutions that reflect the needs of our customers, to provide them maximum value.
What’s your sales strategy?
We don’t do ‘conventional’ sales. We assess the requirements of potential new customers, to build the value solution that best meets their needs. Matt Fullard is leading our marketing strategy; to match MIQ with the companies that we can add true value to.
We are ambitious but we have a cautious approach to new business to avoid overstretch of our resources. A core part of our culture is the understanding that we don’t just move boxes around the world rather we have ‘the lifeblood of our customers in our hands’. It is a responsibility we take seriously, hence a controlled strategy to business growth.
What has been your
Steering the business through the lows of the financial slump. A task made easier by the strength of our team and their commitment to our customers. Post 2010 we have been enjoying the most exciting times in our history.
What has been your biggest achievement?
Developing the business, locally and globally, while retaining the culture that we so passionately believe in; which is to ‘do more for our customers than anyone else would’ – The MIQ Way.
Can you describe your company culture?
Our industry is demanding and I like to think we have a culture where we help each other through the difficult days with the common aim to consistently serve our customers better than our competition do.
We work hard to find the right type of personality to fit our culture and commit with them to develop their career.
What does the UK set up look like?
Our P&L responsibility covers the UK and Holland but we are also overall responsible for EMEA. We have international facilities in Egham (Heathrow Head Office), Southampton, Birmingham, Manchester and Amsterdam, with value added warehousing (contract logistics) facilities in Hemel Hempstead x 2, Rochester x 3 and Essex totalling 400,000 sq. ft.
How do you divide your time?
I spend about 50% of my time at our head office and the balance travelling to our various locations, visiting customers, supporting new business opportunities and interacting/travelling globally with our organisation. I enjoy spending time with staff from all areas of the business and communicating with them directly in terms of where we are, where we are going and how they will benefit from our developments.
To what do you attribute
the success of the business?
Having such a solid, long-term, ‘ego free’ team wanting the best for each other but also as a group recognising that we have to add talent andexpertise from the outside when needed. Also, importantly, being part of a global organisation that provides resources and support but recognises the independence needed to add value to our customers locally.
What’s next for you?
As part of the management team I have a stake in the business and while I may not be the majority shareholder I still wake up every day treating it like my own business, as do our team. That sense of ownership is a key strength of the global management team who, through our shared passion and love for the business, are committed to steering MIQ Logistics through 2030 and beyond.