When I turn the clock back Bishopsgate had always provided a seamless nationwide delivery model but from only three operating bases in Slough, Warrington, and Glasgow. While we could always service outlying areas, and I hope that our customer’s perception was like a swan travelling serenely cross the water, underneath we were frantically battling the hazards of increased congestion on the roads and the government’s to reduce the maximum speed for trucks.
Our reach was often compromised in The West Country and we had to sometimes decline opportunities for ‘out of hours’ work in The West Country and the Midlands. Whilst The Midlands was well looked after by the Bishopsgate Warrington Depot, which currently delivers 30% of Bishopsgate’s UK work, it often meant long days and high mileage for the Warrington crews who would often spend two hours at the start and end of their delivery run driving. Back then not having a depot west of Slough continually frustrated the Operations Team who at times were unable to react as quickly as they wanted to reasonable demands by customers for outlying deliveries in Somerset, Devon, Cornwall and Wales.
Happily, following a contract win in 2009, Bishopsgate were able to secure a fourth site in Royal Wootton Bassett near Swindon solving the West Country challenge. The Slough site was split into two between this new site and a new Operating Centre in London NW10, which now accounts for 38% of Bishopsgate’s UK collection & delivery work and an hour closer to Central London. Customer Services moved west to the new Royal Wootton Bassett warehouse which provided a great improvement in their working conditions in what is a large, modern facility. This move gave Bishopsgate the ability to provide excellent customer service in the West Country and Wales which now represents around 24% of Bishopsgate’s UK deliveries.
The Midlands challenge was back on the agenda after 2015 when Bishopsgate enjoyed an excellent year of growth and a viability study was undertaken. Although the advantages of a new Midlands depot was clear it is as they say in the trade, ‘all about timing’. Following another year of growth in 2017 and a strong warehouse sales pipeline, a search for a new Bishopsgate Warehouse and Operating Centre in The Midlands was commissioned in early 2018.
Without champagne and minimal fanfare the new warehouse situated in Tamworth, near Birmingham opened in mid-September 2018. Paul Cooke was recruited to manage the site for Bishopsgate and brings a vast amount of experience in warehouse logistics and particularly two man final mile technical distribution. Paul was joined by Rory, who transferred from our Swindon depot having learnt the business over the past 5 years. The Tamworth facility is 40,000 sq. Ft. has two dock level loading doors and two standard loading bays. The warehouse has been racked out and is beginning to fill and ready to grow into the fourth large Bishopsgate warehouse in England, supported by the fifth smaller depot in Scotland delivering 7% of Bishopsgate UK work.
It is envisaged that Tamworth will eventually cover the wider Midlands area taking work from both London and Warrington depots. This will help with growth already achieved and result in no redundancies elsewhere. Tamworth will provide significant opportunity for further growth in Bishopsgate, greater customer service delivery by Bishopsgate, and will be a great source of recruitment for new team members from an, as yet, untapped employment market for Bishopsgate.