Matthew and Kat Farrall (brother and sister) Farrall Group

The third generation of family firm Farrall’s Group has stepped forward to take over the reins of the business.

Siblings Kat and Matthew Farrall (pictured) have become joint MDs of the Chester-based haulage and warehousing firm with the aim of expanding the company’s customer base and boosting annual turnover from £9.4m to more than £10m within a year.

The company, which was launched by the siblings' grandparents Eddie and Joan Farrall in 1956, is a founder member of Palletforce.

Matthew Farrall, who joined the business in 2008 as the firm’s IT and marketing manager, returns to the family business after a five year gap during which he achieved a BA with first class honours in Logistics and Supply Chain Management.

He also gained operational experience working for Clipper Logistics, Palletforce, Hellmann Worldwide Logistics and Gwynedd Shipping.

He joins his sister Kat, who entered the firm eight years ago as part of the administrative team, becoming financial director in 2014. Kat also worked closely with former MD Jim Perry, who left in April this year.

Farralls tractor in front of HQ

Perry took over the leadership of the firm from Kat and Matthew’s father Mike Farrall, who became chairman, in 2015. During his five year stint Perry updated the company’s warehousing systems, restructured the management teams and modernised the firm’s 60-strong fleet, which, Kat Farrall said, had laid firm foundations for the company’s future growth.

Matthew added: “Jim came in as the second generation of the family stepped back from the business. He introduced a lot of change that was necessary to take the family business to the next level and make it more corporate.”

With the departure of Perry, the Farrall siblings believe they can bring a new dynamic to the business.

Matthew said: “Kat and I have a strong set of complementary skills. Kat brings her solid financial skills and I am keen to use my commercial and marketing experience from my time at Palletforce and Hellmann to grow our sales and increase our customer base from the solid foundations we already have – and I want to market the company, to shout about ourselves and become better known in the industry – something we have never really done before.”

The Farralls also have the backing of a loyal team. “We have a great mix of experience, including our group transport manager Ian Capper-Moore, who has been with us 35 years and our commercial manager Paul Mather, who joined 19 years ago,” Matthew said.

Looking ahead, Matthew said: “One of our major targets is to take our turnover past the £10m mark by this time next year. All the directors have agreed this goal and we want to do that in a sustainable and profitable way.”

Other plans include growing the warehousing business, bolstering the subcontracting division and opening new regional depots over the next two to five years.

Qlik Sense

One of the biggest investments the business has made in recent years is in Qlik Sense, a software system which Kat Farrall says is helping to boost business and increase customer loyalty.

The system offers the ability to analyse large volumes of data including transport mode, warehouses and storage facilities, route planning, equipment condition, vehicle load and related issues. Users can also use Qlik to manage logistics expenses around fuel consumption and route optimisation and monitor fleet usage and downtime percentages.

Farralls Group shot

“It has allowed us to provide in-depth analysis of our own operations and we have integrated the system into some of our major customers’ systems - we have had a really positive response from customers. It ties customers in and they can also use the software to better understand their own customers too,” Kat said.

The company’s joint venture 4PL FF&W, which it launched in 2014 with Lancashire-based Fagan and Whalley, has also adopted the software.

The joint venture has a major contract with Knauf to transport glass fibre roof insulation and rock mineral wool cavity insulation for via its factories in St Helens and Queensferry for onwards distribution.

Qlik Sense also recently played a key part in landing the firm a major five year general haulage contract worth £8m, tendered by one of its customers. “Qlik really enhanced our proposition and made us stand out from competitors,” Matthew explained.

Whilst both siblings are keen to grow the business and keep it at the forefront of technology they also want to reintroduce the ethos of a traditional family business. “As the third generation and now as joint managing directors, we want to bring it back to being a family-run firm with the culture and values of a family-run business, with that personal touch.

“That is something we are both looking to promote going forward and something that has been welcomed by both customers and staff,” Matthew added.