Palletways has launched a new business strategy that it claims will allow it to “dominate the pallet sector for years to come”, seeing its 100-plus UK haulier membership enter a new phase of sustainable growth.

At a launch event this week, the pallet network revealed Vision 20:20 would be underpinned by the most advanced and powerful software package it has introduced to the network in its 20-year existence.

Palletways, in keeping with its rivals in the sector, has suffered its share of business casualties among its membership in recent years, and to this end it revealed it is optimising territory boundaries to improve drop-density and trunk balances. The exercise has been completed in the North West and the Midlands where it has delivered a “six-figure” benefit to members, with the south coast the current focus.

Palletways UK MD Luis Zubialde said the realignment and introduction of the new software would ensure members were in rude health. “We want sustainable profit growth. We are not pushing for 20% growth, as we don’t seek to be busy fools,” he said.

Zubialde added that service was the new battleground for the networks, something the company’s new digital information hub software should support through its power, ease of use and transparency for members, clients and customer alike.

B2C market

Palletways' new software should make it even more attractive to small businesses and the consumer - for example it will soon have a similar functionality to DPD's MT Award-winning Predict meaning customers will be notified of delivery slots, not days - as it is designed to be transparent for users, which will make tracking a deliver, in theory, as easy as it's ever been in the network.

The pallet network puts B2C at around 10% of volume, and Zubialde said it was an area the business intended to exploit (there are plans to launch a consumer-facing part of the Palletways online presence with suitably a tailored pitch in the coming months). "But if we are in B2C we should be providing services [such as a delivery to a home address] at the right price," said Zubialde. "At the moment the consumer pays the same for a parcel as they do for a one-tonne delivery using a tail lift. Something is wrong."


Luis Zubialde, Palletways UK managing director

Digital Economy

At the heart of its new software - designed from the demo shown to MT with the apparent visual simplicity and ease of use of modern smartphones and tablet interfaces – sits the Digital Information Hub, described by Palletways as a "game changer". This collects operational and customer data in real time to improve the process, communication, traffic planning and vehicle utilisation. There is even an option to flag consignments that might be at risk of missing their agreed delivery time.

The software – which will function across most computers, smartphones or tablets – also provides visibility of consignments via linked GPS technology, instant data on proof of delivery, consignment and customer analytics (including trading profile) all pushed to users visually rather than hidden away or produced on paper or a spreadsheet.

Next year will see the roll-out across the group of an online trading platform, so customers can book their express freight directly online; a brand communications programme; a web-based customer satisfaction tool so members can gauge their performances; and functions such as digital sign on screen and the ability for customers to self print consignment labels.

“It will make members more profitable than they were,” said Zubialde.