Kate Lester: Looking back over 25 years of logistics development

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With so much transformation in the industry and Diamond Logistics passing its silver anniversary as a business, whilst becoming the fastest growing logistics company in the UK, I have been reflecting on these past 25 years. Over this time, we’ve experienced numerous and varied challenges and successes. And yet, all these changes we have undergone as a business and an industry have, I believe, directly influenced our ability to not only survive but scale our business, particularly over the last 5 years.

Whilst it seems like only yesterday that the standard supply chain was connected via fax, and we had mobile phones the size of a brick – the logistics industry has seen many companies fold under the shifting industry as markets eroded with innovations that eliminated the need for a traditional courier.

ISDN, email and document distributions decimated the late 80’s courier boom.  If you didn’t think dynamically and shift your abilities to create new markets, then your business faced dramatic erosion of work volumes.  But from adversity sprang new markets and market shift enabling opportunity.

For many who struggled with this swift technology development, the main sticking point was a timing issue. Given the rapid changes, finding the right moment where opportunity meets demand was as much good luck as good judgement. Many early innovators put infrastructure in place for urban delivery in response to a budding online movement – but this was too soon for the UK consumer – so they had come and gone before the UK was ready.

Over this time, Diamond Logistics has evolved from a traditional courier company to a tech platform embracing a partnership fulfilment model. We’ve made this transition by defining our niche in what some deem to be a competitive, price-driven industry. That niche is both distinct and clear; we are boutique fulfilment providers, facilitating a wide breadth of logistics services, and enabling our client to deliver. What drives Diamond Logistics onwards is empowering our clients and partners to build their businesses, on our one stop logistics platform.

Much of the change continuing to occur in the logistics industry today is down to responding to business need, and their desire to fulfil their customers needs, not just now but in the future. Our platform enables SME’s to access global delivery resources and technology, on a SaaS basis, meaning the latest technology and ability to fulfil consumer needs is met without capital expenditure on our clients’ behalf.

It’s a balancing act of innovation, timing and investment.  Focusing on the demands of clients not just now also five years from now is critical with further technological advancements such as voice technology, artificial intelligence, green energy, robotics, mobile computing and 3D printing all influencing how we service client needs.

In today’s landscape, scaling your network is key to succeeding. At Diamond Logistics we’re tackling this by geographically diversifying with our partnership model, providing twin local delivery value with all the benefits, so our clients get the best of both worlds – friendly stakeholder delivering service, backed by the latest tech and services to fulfil modern business needs.

Beyond the impact of technology the modern business is all about people. Successful clients, team members and partners all subscribe to company culture, and passes on mutual benefits for all parties. Sharing successes, under promising and over delivering are just some ways that Diamond Logistics has approached providing pragmatic logistics solutions, but also built longstanding relationships with clients and franchisees.

There is no doubt that logistics has considerably transformed over this past quarter of a century and will inevitably continue to do so. It’s also hard to predict what the next 25 years will look like, but similar to the way the internet revolutionised ways of working, technology has changed the way we do business making it an even more exciting time to be in the sector. With Brexit round the corner there will be additional challenges and risk for logistics companies, but there will also be opportunities for expansion and growth. Businesses need to prepare themselves now to remain in the game.

Kate Lester, founder and CEO, Diamond Logistics

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About Author

Kizzi Nkwocha is the editor of My Logistics Money Magazine and My Entrepreneur Magazine. Kizzi Nkwocha made his mark in the UK as a publicist, journalist and social media pioneer. As a widely respected and successful media consultant he has represented a diverse range of clients including the King of Uganda, and Amnesty International. Nkwocha has also become a well-known personality on both radio and television. He has been the focus of a Channel 4 documentary on publicity and has hosted his own talk show, London Line, on Sky TV. He has also produced and presented both radio and TV shows in Cyprus and Spain. Nkwocha has published a number of books on running your own business and in 2011 his team won the Specialized Information Publishing Association (SIPA) award for best use of social media. In the UK he runs a successful consultancy called Social Biz Training which trains people on how to use social media for business.

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