Boughey Distribution

Based in Wardle, Cheshire, Boughey Distribution is part of the NWF Group. Established in 1964, the company employs 600 people and works with many of the UK’s major food industry brands to provide ambient storage and distribution services, together with a range of specialist services.

From its 48-acre site, the company operates a fleet of 125 vehicles and 250 trailers and has 900,000sq ft of warehousing space. This year, Boughey is planning to increase its storage capacity from 100,000 to 137,000 pallet spaces when it opens a new state-of-the-art warehouse in Crewe.

Half of Boughey’s customers have used the company for over 20 years, a clear demonstration of its high service levels and ability to establish long-standing partnerships.

Following the withdrawal of a major customer in 2018 which accounted for 40% of the company’s business, the directors took the opportunity to replace this business with a number of smaller customers to de-risk the business. This was achieved and the largest customer now only accounts for 10% of total business.

Training is important to Boughey and it offers staff warehousing qualifications, a fully-funded ‘warehouse to wheels’ programme for warehouse operatives looking to switch to driving, inhouse Driver CPC, transport manager CPC and ILM leadership and management training for future managers.

Judges said Boughey had made a good recovery in 2019 and offered a “high level of staff development”. They praised the company for delivering “good customer service” and “significantly improving profitability in a difficult trading year”.

Expect Distribution


Expect Distribution is a family-owned 3PL based in Bradford employing 296 staff at four sites and running 110 vehicles.

Now in its 32nd year, the firm is consistently improving its financial performance and is on track to achieve turnover of £34.9m in 2020.

Expect describes itself as a “solutions-based business”, taking a pro-active approach to delivering value and building trust with its clients. Customer delivery performance was 98.8% in 2019 compared with 97.1% the previous year, and last year it developed a customer facing dashboard, providing clients with live tracking of their deliveries.

Expect is the largest inputting and outputting member of the Palletline network, representing 9.1% of the total network volume in 2019, and its network delivery performance was 98.2% in 2019, up from 97.2% in 2018. Last year it invested £18,000 to equip all drivers operating tail-lift vehicles with electric pump trucks.

Staff development is key to Expect’s success and it delivers bi-annual appraisals with every employee including drivers. In 2019 the company progressed five drivers from Category C to C+E, employed six new apprentices, and moved two warehouse operatives through its ‘warehouse to wheels’ scheme. Four of the management team started off in apprentice or first-line roles and continue to develop their careers path with Expect.

Our judges were impressed with Expect’s financial performance, commenting on its “excellent growth with increased profitability” which had been delivered with “good all-round customer service levels along with a fast-growing contract division”.

Fowler Welch

Fowler Welch

Fowler Welch aims to be the 3PL of choice for major retailers and manufacturers in the UK.

Established over 30 years ago, it is a leading specialist in supply chain services for ambient and temperature controlled products using eight strategically located depots covering the UK.

Fowler Welch works to four core values: delight customers; maximise efficiencies; be socially responsible; be an employer of choice. By embedding these values into everyday activities, the company benefits from loyal customer relationships, strengthened through collaboration, and by investing in its people it is rewarded with dedicated, talented and motivated colleagues.

One example of how Fowler Welch lives its values is the development of a driver performance app. Data from the on-board telematics are transferred to the personalised app, providing insight for drivers on their driving style. The driver development team can then works with individuals to identify what changes need to be made to improve their performance.

The benefits have been invested back into drivers through an incentive scheme which has seen MPG rise from 9.43 in the year ending March 2017 to 9.98 in 2019.

Judges were impressed by Fowler Welch’s “innovative talent management programme” that “combined with a successful apprenticeship scheme” had improved the bottom line.