Fakenham-based haulage giant Jack Richards & Son looks to the future with next generation

Lisa Richards, north west regional director at Jack Richards & Sons. Picture: Submitted

Lisa Richards, north west regional director at Jack Richards & Sons. Picture: Submitted - Credit: Archant

Haulage giant Jack Richards & Son has always celebrated its heritage, but it is now turning its attention to the future and the next generation. SABAH MEDDINGS reports.

Jack Richards & Sons MD Peter Brown at the depot in Fakenham. Picture: Matthew Usher.

Jack Richards & Sons MD Peter Brown at the depot in Fakenham. Picture: Matthew Usher.

It began in 1956 when an ambitious young man from a coal-mining village in Leicestershire borrowed £150 and bought a second-hand truck to deliver vegetables.

But although Jack Richards – who died in 2014 – is no longer around to watch his company break the £40m turnover barrier, his legacy remains, with son Anthony as chairman and granddaughter Lisa preparing to take control within the next few years.

However, while the next generation is waiting in the wings, the business is in safe hands, with long-time managing director Peter Brown carefully steering the Fakenham-based company through growth, having taken on 100 new staff in the last year.

Under his guidance, the firm has added 130 trucks to the fleet, and new contract wins have bolstered turnover, up 5pc to £35.6m for the year ending May 31, 2015.

Fakenham; Jack Richards puts a poppies on his whole fleet of lorries; Jack is a leading light inm th

Fakenham; Jack Richards puts a poppies on his whole fleet of lorries; Jack is a leading light inm the Royal British Leigon; This picture shows Jack Richards with - Credit: Colin Finch


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A busy 12 months since then will see about £5m added to this figure by the end of the current financial year in May.

'I would like to think Jack would be extremely proud that we have continued to build the business he founded, and that his granddaughter will take over the running of it,' said Mr Brown. 'That would give him great pleasure.'

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Miss Richards, 33, is currently the company's north west director, having rejoined the family firm three-and-a-half years ago after seven years honing her skills at two major logistics firms.

'For me it was essential to go out and realise I enjoy logistics, and learn not just from my dad but from other people,' she said.

'Granddad was so pleased I came back. I think he would probably well up. This is what I wanted to do. We are a very family-orientated family.'

The succession plan is for Miss Richards to take on the business when 55-year-old Mr Brown eventually steps away from a full-time role in about five years.

'There is still opportunity for growth,' she said. 'We are constantly winning new business and we have grown a huge amount in the last five years.'

Mr Brown, who has been managing director at Jack Richards & Son for 10 years, said: 'The plan is Lisa will succeed me and there will be a handover over the next few years while she moves into the role and takes on the business her grandfather started.'

And while the loss of Mr Richards has been felt across the business, Mr Brown has continued to drive growth, swelling staff numbers to 500.

Pre-tax profits rose 11pc to £1.4m for the year ending May 31 2015, and an uplift in housebuilding has driven transport contracts, along with a trend for online shopping which has increased its business with Norwich-based packaging firm Smurfit Kappa.

It is growing too big for its current offices in Garrood Drive, Fakenham, and is looking to expand.

'We know we have to do something with it,' said Mr Brown. 'We are getting to the point now where it is too small.'

The company also has bases in Norwich, Northwich, Cheshire, Mold, north Wales, March, Wisbech and Newmarket, and opened a Yorkshire facility this week.

Is your business planning its succession? Call Sabah Meddings on 01603 772879 or email sabah.meddings@archant.co.uk

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