Haulage via horse and cart and modern high-tech logistics seem to be two very different worlds but a proud family firm that started this way, is now being perfectly exploited to maximise its potential.
Moody Logistics & Storage, an innovative Cramlington business, has its roots in an ambitious enterprise set up by current MD Caroline Moody’s grandfather, David. He established it just after the second world war ended when he delivered bread and cakes by a horse-drawn cart. The demand grew steadily and in time he invested in motor vehicles, winning work to deliver coal and bricks.
By the 1970s it had grown to having 40 tipper trucks, flatbeds and skips, and was really successful, with a workforce of 45 people.
Caroline Moody picks up the story: “The business was flying but unfortunately the miners strike in the ‘80s took its toll and we had to contract, so cut down the fleet substantially. We needed to re-think our business model and quickly.
“I started my career as a management trainee for M & S and followed this working within the rail freight sector of the then ‘British Rail’, so I had worked in the corporate sector before joining our family business. As part of my background was in developing a rail freight business I could see how that model might prove to be viable for us. So I joined the company and worked with the team to implement an overnight multi-drop service.
“Just in Time manufacturing was also starting to come to the fore at this time so this presented us with a fantastic opportunity. Secure and reliable transport is absolutely vital to this business model so together with our clients we started a learning curve which has got us to where we are today.
“As the Just in Time logistics sector matured it became apparent to separate parcels and pallets, so we could be more competitive. It was then that we also started working with pallet network Pall-Ex to make our deliveries via a ‘hub and spoke’ system.
“We now use four double deck trunk trucks that carry a substantial amount of freight as well as 25 rigid 18 tonne vehicles.The four vehicles travel to a Leicestershire hub where it is then transferred to our partners’ trucks for onward delivery and we take the North East pallets back with us.
“This system has revolutionised our business model as it is so cost-effective and time-efficient. Our customers know we can pick up a delivery as late as tea-time and their products will be at their destination anywhere in the country by the following morning. Without the support of Pall-Ex, this level of service would be pretty impossible.”
Historically the Moody business was based in Stakeford but due to the restructuring it needed more space so moved to a 7.5 acre site in Cramlington in 2005, with plenty of room for expansion.
Five years ago Alan Moody, son of the company’s founder, was made Chairman and handed over the reins to Caroline. At the helm one of her first decisions was to modernise the Moody brand, ensuring the name was used to great effect on all of the vehicles. She also instigated more marketing to raise the business profile.
There are exciting plans in development to take the company onto a new level of expansion with family members leading the different divisions including Heathline (named after Caroline and Heather her sister), which does all of the engineering and mechanical work on the fleet and is run by Gavin Cape, Caroline’s brother in law. While Richard Moody, her brother, is Operations Director.
The growth will be highlighted in the next update on the business and how it is going to exploit intriguing opportunities from major High Street brands.