Award-winning haulage company Allen Logistics NI Ltd is celebrating this year its 50th year in business and puts its success down to good old fashioned customer service and the ability to move with the times.
The family-owned business, working across multiple sectors of the road haulage industry started out life as a small, independent general haulage firm moving goods around Northern Ireland. In recent years however, the company has reinvented itself by rebranding, investing in new technology, and becoming a member of various pallet networks in order to grow the business on a multi-national scale. Roger Allen said:
We now operate a fleet of 35 vehicles and we’re doing over 3000 jobs per week across the UK and Ireland. We invested in a Mandata system to manage the growth of the business and move with the times, since then we’ve never looked back.
Twice-winners of the prestigious Export and Freight magazine Haulier of the Year award (2009 and 2015), Allen Logistics NI Ltd prides itself on its versatility and its consistently high standards of customer service, no matter what they’re delivering. “We’re very flexible with the types of companies we work for,” Roger said.
“We work with Blue Chip food and drinks companies, and a number of big retailers, but at the same time we also work for smaller, local and web-based companies; we’re really not selective with our customers, we’re always looking for new niches in the market so we can continue to diversify.”
Providing a complete service for its customers from storage and distribution to picking and packing, Allen Logistics NI Ltd have been using a Mandata TMS complete with integrated Vehicle and Trailer Tracking and a POD scanning module to help support the business since 2008.
“We use our Mandata TMS for booking in jobs, which we then feed into our preferred pallet network for distribution; TPN Ireland Fortec, or Hazchem,” Roger explained.
“Because of the lack of postcodes in Southern Ireland, we still do the majority of our route-planning manually, but we then use the TMS to allocate and manifest jobs out to a vehicle or a sub-contractor. The system also enables us to automatically allocate invoices to every job which simplifies our back-office processes.”
“We also use Mandata’s Web Services Portal which enables customers to book their own jobs online, which is good. A few of our customers use it to book up to 30 jobs a day which saves us a lot of time in the office, because we don’t then have to enter the information onto the system and provides our customers with full job visibility”
Because of the various ways in which the different pallet networks work, for Allen Logistics, operating on behalf of 3 separate networks at the same time means that its systems have to work smart to support the company’s unique way of working and meet stringent targets.
“PODs are a big thing for us. We need PODs in by a certain time so our customers and other pallet members can view them, we now scan all our POD’s into the Mandata system” Roger said.
“All of our customers can log in to and print PODs, so we just send all of our invoices out by email via the Mandata TMS, and customers’ can then can see the job number, view and print the matching POD documents as they need and the job’s done. The system provides customers with complete visibility and helps keep them informed, it’s great.”
Allen Logistics use custom EDI links written by Mandata’s in-house development team to import and export job information between the pallet carrier systems and the Mandata TMS. The level of integration between the company’s systems and additional modules such as POD Scanning and the Web Services Portal has helped Allen Logistics NI Ltd manage its diverse and increased workload with ease, and deliver outstanding levels of service consistently, resulting in the company winning a number of internal Pallet Network Awards in addition to its third party Haulier of the Year accolades.
Looking to the future, Allen Logistics NI Ltd is keen to continue to explore new aspects of the transport industry in order to grow over the next 50 years, whilst still maintaining those all-important service lead values.
“We’re always looking for new forms of transport to branch out into and if we find a niche in the market we’ll go for it, but at the moment we’re happy to just keep doing what we do, looking after our customers and growing the business organically,” Roger said.
Customers want a quality service at a respectable rate, and to know that their product is being looked after from the moment it leaves their premises to the moment their end customer receives it. That’s exactly what Allen Logistics provides and our systems play a vital role in enabling us to provide the level of service our customers and pallet network partners have come to expect from us. We’re a well-respected, family-owned business offering competitive rates for a top-quality service, and if 50 years in business isn’t testament to that, I don’t know what is!”