Creating the High Cube Network

peter-surtees-high-cube-networkPeter Surtees, one of High Cube Network’s founding partners, spent 20 years in high cube operations with Kimberly-Clark. For the latter 8 of those years he was European Supply Chain Director. More than most, he understands the importance of establishing an effective high cube distribution system, and the difference that system can make to supply chain efficiency and net sales value. Here, he explores the origins of High Cube Network.

“I first considered the idea when I was working with Kimberly-Clark. We put the smaller carrier network model to the test, choosing operators who were specialists in their regions. The cost savings were significant, and it was then I recognised that there was space for a High Cube Network focused on providing a specialist service for organisations with high volume, low weight product.”

The high cube challenge

“Buying competitive transport services when you require non-standard hi-cube trailers is always a challenge. The solution is to find a way of reducing empty running. The cost of the tractor, trailer, driver and fuel are broadly the same for all carriers. Managing overheads and being able to operate efficiently is what makes the difference.”

The power of the network

“I discovered that the answer lay in using smaller regional specialists. They typically have a strong regional customer base and operate very efficiently within their region, minimising empty running. Being small, predominantly family-owned businesses they also have a tight control on overheads. It’s that combination of efficiency and cost control that leads to attractive pricing.

“There’s another advantage to using the regional specialist model. In addition to competitive pricing, the all-important customer relationship is usually managed by either the owner of the business or a very senior director, giving the customer direct access to the decision maker and influencer. That means accountability is greater, decisions are swifter and change is easier than you’ll find in larger distribution companies.”

Simple transport solutions for less

“The challenge for the smaller transport companies is simple: most large Consumer Packaged Goods manufacturers and suppliers (CPGs) are looking for a simple transport solution that enables them to focus their energy on their core activities. Logistics may be a significant number on the P&L, yet it rarely gets the focus it deserves. As a result the smaller transport company finds it difficult to get access to the transport buyer in most large CPGs because, understandably, their focus is on reducing complexity and consolidating transport buying and operations on fewer larger providers. That may increase costs, but the streamlining of the delivery process makes it worthwhile.

“Yet you can enjoy the same streamlined high cube delivery process for less. By networking smaller transportation companies together through an efficient control tower, High Cube Network creates a unique blend of benefits – large enough to provide a comprehensive one stop shop for the biggest brands; yet able to deliver local efficiencies you only get from smaller carriers.

“High Cube Network combines many hundreds of high cube trailers and full UK coverage to provide a unique opportunity for those customers whose challenge is cube rather than weight.”

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“Buying competitively priced transport services, when you require non-standard hi-cube trailers is always a challenge. High Cube Network’s family-owned businesses have years of experience controlling costs and driving efficiencies. The result is a more attractive price.“

Peter Surtees HCN Partner
Collaborative Supply Chains Ltd