The London Freight Club has become an institution for members of the shipping and freight industry to meet and mingle, and talk logistics with like- minded individuals in a social setting. The London Freight Club elects to focus on the good of the industry and its members, and offers a space for these individuals to meet and converse sharing a vast wealth of experience, tips and knowledge within the industry. Situated in the splendour of the Connaught Rooms there are seven meetings this year, it is an event not to be missed with fine food and guest speakers. In July we took some of our subscribers with us to the event, one of whom was Suzie Randall, UK and European Business Development Manager for Mixed Freight Services based in Heathrow. We had a fantastic time during the afternoon, and it was a pleasure to have Suzie join us. She has a fascinating story, and given her ambition for MFS and herself, I wanted to share some of her insights…
So Suzie, why the logistics industry…what started it all?
I joined the freight and logistics industry over 15 years ago. I was fascinated by the import and export trade, and since then have moved my way up by sheer commitment and determination, learning my trade in a predominantly male environment. My first position was as an import clerk, doing each consignment from start to finish, entries, customer liaison, deliveries and filing. I then moved into exports, followed by the commercial team and from there I went into sales. I believe I found my strength in sales, which with the background knowledge I have gained over the years has established me as a valuable business partner in this industry these days. My dad always told me, knowledge is power, which is true: customers need confidence that you will deliver and have the knowledge to do so.
What are your key areas of focus and how have you progressed within these?
During my time in the industry I have been fortunate to learn many aspects from Desk level to Management. There’s a wide variety of systems in use and it is always moving forward. It is important to keep ahead of new developments. To date I’ve focussed on airfreight sales and route development, specialising in routes to and from the US. More recently, I have been working on offering a wider range of services, including freight screening, airline deliveries and national trunking.
What sets Mixed Freight Services apart from your competitors?
We are the leading specialist company at Heathrow in providing aviation security within the secure supply chain. We have been established for over 35 years which has given us a wealth of knowledge, enabling us to provide a number of high-quality specialist services in supporting the aviation logistics industry. Ranging from the transportation and security screening of goods to cargo-handling and vehicle rental, we offer a variety of services. We have even participated in conservation projects, transporting endangered animals which has drawn upon our channels of communication with the Civil Aviation Authority in producing off-site specific protocols. With our unique understanding of the needs of companies operating in and around Heathrow, between Mixed Freight Services and our sister company Heathrow Rent A Truck, we are in an enviable position to support the wide majority of companies’ requirements.
What do you find to be your biggest challenges?
Our industry is highly competitive so to remain successful, we need to be able to meet the ever-changing requirements of compliance, meet the demands of customers expectations and be at the forefront of the industry providing a reliable service at enticing rates. In this way, we have to be adaptable, tailoring our services to suit our customers needs. We are also in a society which values the ability to have a fast-paced service which is why we are fully operational 24/7.
What has been your biggest achievement?
I think working in an international global market and being able to reach out to all corners of the world within the aviation logistics industry has been an eye-opening experience. Not only have I had to be flexible in my approach to understanding different customer needs, I have also developed my personal skills and ability to communicate effectively with other international and industry cultures. Being a female only makes this achievement more rewarding as I would like to think I have helped open doors for more women to enter a male-dominated industry.
What’s the most important thing you’re working on right now and how are you making it happen?
Continuously raising our profile and making Mixed Freight Services a first-choice provider at Heathrow. This involves revisiting our existing customer database, visiting new customers and delivering a great service at competitive rates. As Sales Development Manager, it is imperative to retain an honest rapport with all customers, ensuring both current and future prospects are aware of our services, solid track record and tempting rates!
What are your expansion plans over the next 12–24 months…and how?
We are currently implementing new technological developments within our warehouse and transport management systems. These will support our operational capacity to handle growth within our specific work streams. We plan to expand our facility to handle greater volumes of goods, incorporating ETSF, development of a training centre which also supports JAUPT approval for driver CPC, manual handling and national X-ray competency testing. We’ll do it through consistently improving our standards, taking responsibility of projects, being innovative in our thinking…and through a lot of hard work.