Chorlton Express Transport is enjoying an extended period of growth following new business wins as part of the UPN pallet network and investment in a new, larger warehousing facility.

The company, which specialises in providing general haulage, pallet distribution and secure storage solutions to the logistics industry, boasts a wide customer base, working alongside small, local businesses as well as nationally recognised brands such as Wynsors World of Shoes.

Despite the company’s impressive rate of growth since its inception in 1984, the owners Pamela and Lynda Chorlton maintain that it is still a small operation at heart; staying true to its humble beginnings when the business was operated by Michael Chorlton out of the garage of the family home.

The firm adopted a Mandata Cloud TMS complete with a POD-scanning module and Mandata Web Services web portal as a first-time user back in 2010, which is helping manage the business through this incredibly busy time.

Financial Director at Chorlton’s Express Transport, Lynda Chorlton said: “Our Mandata transport management system controls the business. Absolutely everything has to be run through Mandata to make sure we’re not missing jobs or mis-pricing anything. It’s really well controlled.”

“The system itself is very professional. We can offer the highest level of service to our customers and get results for them quickly because of Mandata. Every last detail of our customer’s jobs, from the booking, to the tracking status, to the POD’s and invoicing is micro-managed through our TMS. I couldn’t think of a way we could manage our business without it really!”

More jobs per day as a result

Since becoming a part of the UPN pallet network, Chorlton’s manage 150 extra jobs per day, on top of its distribution and storage contracts with existing clients. The firm’s move to a new, 25,000 sq m warehouse facility was a practical decision to help accommodate the increased number of jobs, but has also successfully positioned the company for further growth.

“Our new warehouse is not significantly bigger than our previous warehouse, but it’s fully racked and it’s much more efficient,” Lynda said.

“Before we joined UPN, we just concentrated on carrying full loads, but during the recession, the rates of full loads dropped, as did the volume of work. We joined UPN after seeing an advert in a magazine, and we’ve never looked back. It’s just gone from strength to strength.”

Full integration with UPN Pallet Network system

Integrating seamlessly with UPN’s own central management system, Mandata’s TMS is helping Chorlton’s to stay on top of the increased workload and honour its company strapline: “Whatever the route, we make it on time!”

“Because the pallet network involves partial loads, where there is one pallet going here, one pallet going there, it would be quite easy to lose sight of what pallet is going where! But Mandata controls everything, it even helps us to control what freight we put into the pallet network so we can monitor our quantities. With Mandata, we can keep track of our entire operation at the press of a button,” Lynda explained.

Other added benefits

In addition to the benefits the Mandata system provides to job-handling, the automation of administration processes has also been of huge benefit to Chorlton’s over the past 5 years.
“On average, the TMS probably saves us the time and cost equivalent of 2 members of staff, because we don’t have to keep duplicating jobs, once the data is in the system, you can use it to do so many different things,” Lynda said.

“The e-invoicing module is great and the POD scanning module works perfectly. A customer could request a copy of a ePOD from years ago, and as long as they have the job number, we can get it for them in 2 seconds flat, whereas it used to take hours to sift through the paperwork to find them.”

Looking to the future, Chorlton’s is keen to expand its involvement with the pallet network, and establish itself in the market as a leading provider of consistently high levels of service to customers.

“We’re really looking to grow the pallet side of the business. We hope to become a one-stop-shop for people, and push that as a service,” Lynda said. “We’re very honest with people, if we say we’re going to be there at a certain time, we will be. We can offer a superior level of service to all our customers because of the quality of the systems we have in place to help manage our business.”

Not just a pallet carrier?