Logistics firm bucks the trend

A growing East Anglian logistics firm says it is bucking the economic trend after diversifying its business to meet clients' needs.

Century Logistics this month celebrates the first anniversary of the opening of its giant 140,000sq ft flagship warehouse on the A14 at Bury St Edmunds at Saxham Business Park.

The business, which has a turnover of about �6m, began life as a warehousing operation but has grown to include several other arms, from a customer care call centre, to product repairs, quality control, product development – and an online service for end-of-line and returned products.

It has a total of more than 400,000sq ft of warehousing in East Anglia, mainly centred around Thetford, where it has a further five sites, and is expanding its workforce in response to rising demand for its services – in spite of the downturn. The warehousing side of the business is growing at a rate of about 25pc a year, while the e-bay sales side has approximately doubled in size year on year.

Managing director Stephen Basey-Fisher, who started the business from scratch 15 years ago with wife, Ann, said their emphasis had been in helping their customers to become more profitable by taking over 'the bit in the middle' so that they could concentrate on their core activities of buying and selling. 'It helps to make the customer more profitable, particularly in an economic downturn,' he said.

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'We understand that our success is dependent on the success of our customers and that the formation of a true partnership enables both parties to achieve their growth ambitions.'

Out of 140 staff, about 60 or 70 are employed on the after sales side, rather than directly in warehousing, he said.

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The new �10m Bury St Edmunds warehouse, which the firm fitted out itself, had proved a great success, he said, particularly as 75pc of the firm's business comes out of Felixstowe, but the Thetford part of the operation had also thrived following the move.

'It has been absolutely fantastic,' he added. 'It has already attracted more business and more business leads especially, and also it's a great flagship to show the diversity of our company.

'While the rest of the UK has been making redundancies, Century Logistics has seen its workforce expand from 110 to 140 people in the past year and we are looking to recruit once again as we continue to offer our unique services to existing and new clients, ranging from internet start-up companies to multinational retailers.'

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