Speed can be traced back to 1979, to humble beginnings in a coal cellar in London. The late Martin Rutty and business partner Tim Gilbert started Speed as a motorcycle courier business. It grew, and as years passed, Speed worked with Hutchinson Telecom to deliver mobile phones and had a number of depots around the UK; Welshpool, Gloucester, Cornwall, Carmarthen to name a few. The business grew rapidly, owing much of its success to the dot com boom.
In the 2000s, Speed’s business model consolidated and changed. It’s new niche was as the carriers carrier, ‘Specialists in Rural Distribution’. Speed Distribution operated in rural areas of the country where large national networks found it too challenging to cover with their conventional hub and spoke models. Specialist carriers such as Nightfreight and Tuffnells to name a few, utilised the tried and trusted reputation of Speed Distribution to collect and deliver their freight in most of Wales and Cornwall. Local businesses in return got – and still have to this day – a great local carrier to connect their output to the rest of the UK and beyond.
Think back to 2007. The distribution industry at this time has long been a fiercely competitive place. Parcel networks are embroiled in a decades-long cut throat price war, one after the other shaving pounds off consignments in order to retain volume. Sure, customers' benefit, but carriers suffer and service falls. Phil Edwards joined the business in 2007 with the remit of developing the business. He knew in order to ensure the long term commercial viability of the business, the service offerings must expand.
In 2008, Speed joined the Palletways network, and for the first time expanded it’s service portfolio to include UK express pallet delivery. Speed had a great reputation with parcel networks as offering a great service in one of the most challenging locations, and it was time to expand that to the world of pallets. And most importantly, we fought hard to differentiate ourself from the ‘cheap and cheerful carrier’, by doing things differently. By going further, by driving service levels, by communicating, by being transparent.
It has worked - we always have customers knocking on our door unhappy with the cheap and cheerful service of their current carrier. This asserted our vision as the premium carrier, a leader in the area, and member of Europe's premium, leading pallet network.
Fast forward to the present day. For many, the price war continues. But, positively, we have reached a point where there is an appreciation for a better service. Our customers and our customers' customers have realised the money you save on cheap carriage and sub standard service is money you spend putting right failures. We are proud to have retained many of our customers for decades. That says to us they wouldn’t trust their products to be delivered by anyone else.
The True Cost of Cheap & Cheerful
You may see a headline saving on a cheap carrier's rate card, but let's explore what the real cost of cheap is.