The CILT Annual Awards for Excellence took place on 18th October, an event which recognises the hard work of some of the best and brightest from the logistics and transport sectors. Michael Page Logistics has proudly supported the CILT awards for the ninth year running.

This year, we were happy to sponsor the Technology Innovation award to celebrate the outstanding work being done to drive the industry forward. The 2018 award was presented to r2c Online, to celebrate the company’s Exemplar Workshop software package that brings brand new tech to the commercial vehicle market.
Ali Clabburn, CEO of Liftshare, entered their Scoping Smart Mobility tool to highlight that, although they have been around for 20 years, the company is by no means old-fashioned. “Being nominated for an innovation award highlights that you are continuing to drive the market forward.” 
Gavin McGuckin, Head of Marketing at Palletways, entered their Estimated Time of Arrival (ETA) technology for the award and said: “We’re based on innovation and we always like to get recognition for any of the ambitions that we have accomplished.” Richard Miller, IT Manager at Palletways said that being nominated was a chance, “to show that no one else is doing what we are doing in this sector.”

The importance of innovation 

We caught up with the nominees to discuss the importance of innovation and their views on the outlook for the sector.
Ali: “Innovation has enabled us to connect with potential clients and access opportunities that have previously been out of reach. It has created bigger sales opportunities as our technology is completely unique in the market. No one else can offer what we do. It’s unique and useful, so if anyone wants to access this technology then they have to come to us to get it.
“In the market that we operate within, user habits change much more frequently. When consumer demand changes, you need to innovate to keep up with the pace of the changing demands.”
Richard: “We can hire more people and work harder, or we can work smarter and reduce the workflow. That’s why we need to keep innovating. We are a growing business and to stay on the front foot we need to be working smarter by improving the technology we use.” 

Overcoming innovation challenges 

Ali: “For us, our core business continues to grow, so for anything new that we do, we need to make a really strong business case for it. We were particularly fortunate halfway through this project that we managed to get a PhD graduate to come and work on placement with us for the summer and they managed a key aspect of the process. In terms of overcoming the barrier, for us, it was about bringing in one of the brightest people I’ve ever met to help solve it.”
Richard: “When launching our ETA technology, we had to push it out to over 100 members throughout the UK and then Europe. Each member may have up 30-40 drivers who would need to adopt the technology. So, the greatest challenge was the training rather than the actual design and implementation. We hold training sessions across the UK with multiple members at once, to train them up on how to use the tool and then share a training scheme for them to train their drivers using videos etc.”

How to build an innovative culture 

Ali: “It’s about who you hire. We always aim to hire flexible people — change is the only constant in our business. A few years ago we ran a project where two teams were formed to challenge the way we work and come up with new solutions — as long as their mission was the same in terms of helping people share cars, then they could do what they wanted. We learned a huge amount during that time and ended up basically redesigning our whole business. We often go on team walks to talk about anything that’s wrong or right about the company and come up with ideas about solutions. We also get the whole team to read a book around innovation and then we have a book club meeting to talk about what we’ve learned and how we can change what we do. We just try to mix up our day-to-day work to get us to think differently.” 
Richard: “I think it’s within our company’s DNA. If you’re not an innovative person it would be difficult to work at Palletways. The company demands a lot from its people in terms of pushing the business forward, whether that be in IT or marketing. So, we don’t really need to create a culture, because it just exists within the people we employ and I think that has been from day one. This may be one of the reasons why we are the market leader. It’s all about people.”

The outlook for logistics and transport

Ali: “In the mobility space, as diesel cars are pushed out of cities, I think there will be a surge in people travelling by green bikes. The key change will be towards demand-based services; demand-based public transport, taxis, and lift sharing. Uber is doing very well at the moment and we’ll see a growth in more of these on-demand minibus services for travelling, and in major cities.”
Richard: “I think there will be more autonomous vehicles out there, which is probably a scary but also an exciting thing to think about. Mobility will be key and there will be a push towards lightweight mobile apps rather than big systems. The technology we use will become increasingly cloud based which will help businesses move quicker.”
Innovation in logistics and transport is driving the sector forward. If you would like to discuss how we can help with your recruitment process, please get in touch with your local Michael Page office today.
Ben Lyons
Operating Director, Michael Page
T: + 44 121 230 9361