Courier business to invest record profits into tech

Posted on April 7, 2021 by Jonathan Symcox

Paul Woods, managing director, Proactive Despatch

Paul Woods, managing director, Proactive Despatch

The founder of a North West courier service said the business is set for a record year after a major restructure. 

Proactive Despatch is on track to report a turnover of £1.45 million and record profits in the current financial year after a strong trading performance. 

Managing director Paul Woods said in the last 12 months the company has replaced its fleet of 10 vehicles with approved subcontractors and moved office from St Helens to Widnes. 

“We’re a much more resilient business and now we’re primed for growth,” he said. “With our reduced overheads we’re a much leaner operation. 

“We’re on track to hit the same turnover as last year of £1.45m but with record profits, which we can invest in things like better technology to improve the customer journey further still.” 

Woods set up Proactive Despatch in 2008 and it handles around 1,500 orders a month.  

He said: “We’re like a chauffeur service for parcels and pallets rather than people. We are a business-to-business, urgent response courier. If a customer wants something in Glasgow in the next five hours then they’ll call us.” 

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The entrepreneur said the pandemic had accelerated a planned restructure of the business. 

“When Boris Johnson announced the first lockdown in March 2020 everything stopped,” he said. “We were really quiet for a month but I resolved to pay my team and pay my suppliers, both which I did. 

“We were already in the process of using approved subcontractors rather than our own fleet of vehicles and Covid accelerated the pace of change. 

“Our customer service is second to none and that served us in good stead during the pandemic. 

“We move highvalue stuff. For example, if an oil rig off the coast of Aberdeen needs a replacement piece of equipment to get the oil rig working again then they’ll call Proactive Despatch. 

“We charge the customers based on the size of the vehicle and how far it goes. It could be a Jiffy bag on the front seat or a van full of freight.” 

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The company, which employs nine people, relocated from St Helens to Widnes in 2020 and Woods said the same-day courier company was perfectly placed to capitalise in 2021.  

“I’m so lucky to have a brilliant team around me,” he said. “It’s amazing what you can do when your backs are against the wall.  

“Our financial year runs from September to August and we’ve had a fantastic start to the new year and a record performance before Easter.” 

The managing director added: “We want to grow. In business you can’t afford to stand still because then you’re going backwards. 

“I’m obsessed about customer service. In terms of tech we’ve got state-of-the-art booking systems which enable customers to book quickly but we are looking to invest in technology to improve the customer journey even more.” 

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