This month our Managing Director, Brian Brennan, was invited to feature in the TCS&D 'View from the Summit" publication. The full interview is available by visiting http://www.tcsandd.com/new-9/ or below.
Q:How did you get into the temperature controlled distribution sector and what is your role within PDQ?
A: I have been around refrigerated trucks from a very early age for nearly sixty years. My dad had some of the first Thermo King Freezer units in the UK on six wheeler Bedford TK’s back in the very early sixties, having contracts with Lyons Maid Ice cream and the United States Airforce. I’ve managed to locate a photo of one of these trucks which is proudly displayed on the wall in our office reception area. I want to stress to visitors our depth of experience in temperature controlled distribution. I started my own career as a junior traffic operator for P&O European Transport Services, progressing through the ranks eventually becoming an Area Manager. I then fell out of love with the Transport Industry for a number of years, mainly due to the industrial strife of the early eighties, moving into the catering industry. Of course, when I decided to start a courier business in 1998 I wanted to utilise all of the experience in temperature controlled transport I had grown up with.
Q:Can you firstly tell us what temperature controlled vehicles that PDQ operates.
A:PDQ has two divisions: PDQ Cold Call www.pdqcoldcall.com which serves the food industry and PDQ Specialist Couriers www.pdqcouriers.com serving the Pharmaceutical and Healthcare industries.Our modern fleet consists of 26000kgs gvw trucks, bespoke built dual temperature Mercedes Sprinters, Mercedes Vitos and smaller Mercedes Citans all are fitted with remote temperature monitoring and vehicle tracking systems. All of our vehicles and their refrigeration units are on full manufacturers maintenance contracts, which totally reduces the possibilities of us experiencing unnecessary breakdowns
Q:What has been the most important technical development in your temperature controlled bodies and refrigeration systems in recent years and how has it impacted on your operations within PDQ?
A: As the company has grown, technology has moved on tremendously and we have always invested heavily in this area. We now spend nearly double the amount on a Mercedes Sprinter than we did 5 years ago. This price increase has been solely dictated by the quality of the build and the additional technical equipment we specify on such vehicles.These bodies, which are built to ATP standard, include twin lanes, dual evaporators, key out systems and auxiliary heating facilities,amongst other specialist features. Having vehicles validated through temperature mapping establishes any possible temperature deviation issues and has enabled us to offer our customers a guarantee of total temperature control.
Q:Customer needs are constantly changing, so what are you finding is now the biggest request from your customers?
A:Cost is a big issue for many customers, but we choose not to get involved in any rate cutting wars.There are certain food manufacturers who tend to turn a blind eye to the cold chain rules and regulations as long as you are “cheap”. There are a number of transport operators who simply don’t incur the cost of regular vehicle and equipment maintenance and run much older vehicles. As a result, they can offer much lower rates. A few years ago we recognised that there was a niche for high quality service and immense flexibility, which is precisely what we offer. By using our expertise, first class equipment and helpful, knowledgeable, highly trained staff we are able to assure absolute peace of mind. Our strategic decision to concentrate on the premium end of the market has provided us with low volumes and high margins. We believe quality is worth paying for and whilst many food manufacturers are being squeezed heavily by the major multiples, there are still customers out there willing to pay premium rates for a premium service.
Q:What environmental measures does PDQ incorporate to ensure best practice?
A:As part of our ongoing development we have recently gained ISO 14001:2015 accreditation. The process has assisted us in understanding and recognising our impact as a business. Obviously, fuel is our biggest “green” issue. Running a modern fleet with vehicles restricted to 69 mph and telematics systems to assist in monitoring and analysis of driving performance and mpg levels has proved positive from an environment perspective, but also on costs. We use all LED sensor lighting, which also helps with electricity usage and cost. In line with 14001 protocol, our suppliers are assessed and reviewed to ensure compliance and adherence with our own environmental and quality policies.
Q:And the last question is such a ‘hot’ topic currently – Does leaving the EU have an adverse or positive effect on your business?
A: The situation is very unclear at the moment and we are still yet to see any dramatic changes that may affect us. To strengthen our level of European coverage, we have recently been in negotiations regarding expanding our operations in Germany as part of our growth strategy. This will continue whatever happens. We are currently increasing our European overnight services, but we are awaiting the knock on effects of Brexit. However, we are prepared for any situation. Our UK operations should not be dramatically affected as we primarily serve the food and healthcare industries, both sectors that I feel will not be affected by Brexit.
Q:Lastly, would you like to share any news about your company, that you feel would benefit our readers?
A: PDQ Cold call has developed from a man and a van (myself) to a highly professional state of the art business with highly trained staff. We have recently recertified to the new ISO 9001:2015 standard and implemented ISO 14001:2015 which assures our customers of our standards relating to both quality and environmental management systems. We have just completed yet another successful financial year with those profits being reinvested into the business on plant and equipment. We also won the TCS&D Refrigerated Courier of the Year 2015 Award, which I am very proud of and aim to win again this year. As we have a sector (PDQ Specialist Courier Services) dealing with the transportation of Pharma (a very demanding sector), we therefore have the ability to apply this expertise to our food customers at PDQ Cold call. All of our drivers, fully employed by us, hold ADR and GDP qualifications and training is a major expenditure for our company. We can offer worldwide temperature controlled airfreight services along with overnight road deliveries to mainland Europe. We also offer storage, pick and pack facilities, for “Below the Line” FMCG marketing campaigns. Finally, we believe that PDQ is at the forefront of our industry and we aim to be the market leader in the not too distant future.