2012 was the best ever year for the Woodland Group’s ocean exporter container traffic, and the company is looking to build on this success
As the United Kingdom was celebrating a summer of sporting brilliance last year, Essex-based freight forwarder and logistics solution provider the Woodland Group had another reason to go for gold: Its best-ever ocean export business, reveals Andy Dennis, Woodland’s Head of Export Division.
The Chelmsford-based executive says: “Last year was the best year ever for our ocean export container traffic and one that we hope to build on in 2013. We are going to see a considerable focus on growing export traffic by putting considerably more effort into our sales effort.”
The Export Division is tasked with facilitating customers who wish to export ocean containers worldwide. In this, the Division is supported by Woodland Group’s 25 years as a freight forwarder.
Woodland Group is a £110m turnover company. Each unit within the group, including the Export Division, is run as a stand-alone profit centre in its own right. This allows each unit to function as an individual company while enjoying the benefits of the larger group of companies.
With hundreds of freight forwarders able to offer export shipment of containers from the United Kingdom, the values of the Woodland Group stand out in the crowded marketplace, believes Dennis.
He says: “I consider that we truly think outside of the box in planning how we deliver customer solutions. Since it was established, the Export Division has sought to build on its strengths. The key one is flexibility supported with professionalism.
“Another vital core value is ensuring that the Export Division obtains the best value rates from shipping lines that can then be passed onto shippers. This is achieved by going directly to the lines to negotiate the keenest prices by offering consistent business and pointing to the combined volumes of the Woodland Group has helped in all rate negotiations.”
The stability, keen prices, standard of service and departmental values in the Export Division is underpinned by the professionalism and expertise in the unit, believes Dennis.
He says: “We can confidently say that we have the strongest export team available in a forwarder of our stature, which brings a great balance of experience and youthful enthusiasm. As a unit, there are around ten of us all of which have been with the company for a minimum of three year. This means we have between us some 180 years of export knowledge worldwide that is available 24/7 to our clients.
At a time when there has been a race to the bottom in much of the forwarding industry to slash and burn rates to secure business, Woodland Group turns its refusal to compromise on quality into the perfect partner for UK businesses seeking to achieve access to the world’s most important export markets.
And there is a significant statistic that proves British exporters who use Woodland Group to despatch cargo overseas value this commitment to standards, Dennis reveals.
He says: “Over the past year we have a 97.4% business retention factor and have been continuing to grow through the recession. In real terms, this means we lose only two customers out of every hundred. Our pricing is important and we expect to be competitive on a like-for-like basis, but when the tender process is over you need service and that’s where we excel.”
The Export Division has pledged to never leave inexperienced staff on the export desk, fielding questions that are way beyond them. All staff are completely up to speed on current market and industry developments which allows office staff to assist clients through all stages of security throughout the global supply chain and facilitates easy and fast Customs clearance throughout the world.
At the same time, another Woodland advantage is that the group provides a fast and personal response on quotations, which are delivered in an easy to understand format, with no hidden extras.
Woodland Group’s Export Division is located in Essex but offers UK-wide coverage through a network of Woodland branches in some of the country’s most important industrial and commercial centres. Exporters can deal with the Division through offices in Manchester, Seaham and Dublin, which covers Northern Ireland.
The Group can call on a 200+ vehicle network throughout the UK to offer national collections and deliveries at local prices, says Dennis.
Outside of the United Kingdom, the Group has its own offices in the United States in the country’s most important industrial and commercial centres: New York, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles and Atlanta. These are British-owned, each with British management, to complement the Group’s product perfectly and it ensures smooth transition all the across the Atlantic.
British manufacturers seeking to access the North American market wisely choose Woodland to ship their containers across the ocean. Seventy-five percent of Woodland’s trade is with the United States, which gives it unrivalled knowledge of the business of serving the world’s most important economy. This expertise is reflected in the fact that Woodland is the only independent in the top five Non Vessel Operating Common Carriers (NVOCC) to the United States.
At the same time, Woodland Group is fully C-TPAT approved, demonstrating that the group is fully committed to the highest level of cargo security through close co-operation with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency. This is a voluntary scheme, which Woodland applied to join and underwent the extensive audit and scrutiny required to be successfully accredited.
This translates into more than just a certificate on the company letterhead. There are tangible benefits to the Export Division’s clients, reveals Dennis.
He says: “Shipments from participants in C-TPAT are able to move across US borders quicker than non-member shipments because US CBP offer potential benefits to C-TPAT members, most notably a reduced number of inspections leading to reduced border times. In short, the Woodland way is the quicker way into the United States.”
Focus on growth
On the back of 2012’s best ever business, the Export Division is well set to focus on a push to grow traffic volumes for the next five years, notes Dennis, who adds: “The Division is on track for significant growth by 2018."
Growing the quarter of export traffic that is non-US bound, the Export Division is looking at ways of taking its qualities and level of services to new destinations in Asia and the Middle East.
As a group, Woodland has attracted many major clients including household names like Amazon and PepsiCo. The Export Division itself has recently won a household name against a global name logistics supplier. Dennis takes a moment to consider why the Division was successful in winning against a household forwarder.
He says: “Quite simply, we hit above our weight in delivering customer solutions. Commodity forwarders may advertise on the television and competitors may slash rates to the bone but Woodland Group Export Division’s deliver on our promises.
“Savings we secure in rates are passed on without compromise to service and standards. Freight is a people-business. We commit to delivering our clients’ cargo safely, expediently and cost-effectively to destinations far and wide.
“In the end, Woodland Group Export Division’s success comes down to us achieving what we promise when we say we are willing to go that extra mile for our customers.”
Make sure you visit the Woodland Group at Multimodal 2013, the UK and Ireland’s leading freight transport and logistics exhibition taking place April 23-25. Now entering its sixth year, the event has evolved into an annual one-stop-shop for shippers who need to find ways of optimising their supply chain and transportation flow. You can find Woodland at stand number 570.