The Learning Zone 2015
This year’s learning zone, sponsored by insurance broker Basil Fry, was as popular as ever with presentations, discussions and even live music keeping visitors informed and entertained during the two days. Topics ranged from marketing and technology, to coping with driver shortages and dealing with the press.
Claire Hopper from business consultancy Elevate kicked off the show by giving delegates tips on how to grow their businesses and realise their ambitions. Claire spoke about the importance of knowing the vital numbers in their businesses, such as the cost of a sale and how much turnover is needed to make a profit. She went on to talk about establishing which is the most profitable area of the business and the profile of a typical customer so that marketing and advertising can be directed towards them.
Bob Tree from Basil Fry took to the stage and led a lively question and answer session covering a wide variety of subjects relating to the insurance side of the business. Topics included the recent increase in insurance premium tax and the need to make sure Terms & Conditions are made clear to the customer and incorporated into contracts.
Corporate legal expert Lindsey Hemingway from Rooks Rider Solicitors explained the pros and cons of holding keys on behalf of clients both for removal companies and those operating self storage businesses, giving delegates useful technical advice to help avoid any problems.
Keeping up to speed with the latest technology was the next item on the agenda, with a very interesting session presented by Digital Marketing Bureau founder James Dearsley. James explained enthusiastically the many new ways of using data in modern marketing and how information technology is revolutionising business and the sales process.
After lunch, show organiser and HGV & PSV licence holder Keith Merrett took an irreverent look at the many issues regarding compliance that effect the industry, especially those concerning vehicles and transport about which Keith has extensive experience.
The Mover’s very own Editor in Chief Steve Jordan was next to take to the microphone with a slightly scolding message about the lack of good quality stories and pictures he receives from moving companies and how they are missing opportunities to be featured in the magazine and the wider press. To drive his points home Steve ended the session by singing a specially written song accompanied by his cherished Gibson guitar.
Following Steve’s musical interlude The Learning Zone’s facilitator Mike Babinski looked at Health & Safety regulations in the removals business. Mike’s company FTS North East specialises in H&S training so his advice was particularly valuable and authoritative. Mike’s presentation included some sobering video footage of what can happen when things go wrong.
Maximising profit is something all business strive to do so the panel discussion comprising Jonny Griffith (Currencies Direct), Martyn Dickinson (Janus International) and Andy Dickerson (Simply Shredding) proved to be a popular session. After individually introducing themselves the speakers outlined the benefits of offering added value services to boost profits and provide an enhanced service to their customers. Many questions followed, and it was obvious the discussion had spawned a lot of ideas for future ventures.
On day two of the Show John Blaskey, who describes himself as a ‘live marketing maverick’, gave an interesting and often amusing talk on how to create marketing strategies in an increasingly competitive market. John also gave advice on how to differentiate your business from the opposition and how to measure the different aspects of its performance.
Later Rob Houghton from reallymoving.com explored the knotty and potentially ruinous subject of defamation in the light of new legislation that came into effect last year. Rod went on to speak about the new Consumer Rights Act due to come into force on 1 October and how it was likely to impact the removals industry.
After lunch the weighty problem of recruiting and retaining HGV drivers was discussed by a panel comprising Darren House (Central Moves), Paul Fox (Fox Removals) and Ray Inskip (Flame Recruit). This proved to be a rather heated debate with lots of input from the floor, including comments about the value of Driver CPC and its impact on recruitment, and the high wages paid by large companies such as Tesco and major haulage firms, which are enticing drivers away from the removals industry. Most agreed the best route was to look for talent within your own company and to train people who are experienced removals men and also have the potential to become HGV drivers.
As in previous years The Learning Zone provided delegates with entertainment, expert advice and the chance to join in discussions about the issues facing the removals and storage industry. Next year the organisers have plans to make it even better, so don’t forget to pay the Zone a visit in 2016.
Photos: Top left: Driver shortage panel; Top right: Profit panel; Middle: (from left to right) Claire Hopper, Bob Tree, Lindsey Hemingway, James Dearsley, Keith Merrett, Steve Jordan, Mike Babinksi, John Blaskey and Rob Houghton.
Raising cash for Macmillan with Reason Global
The Reason Global stand at the Movers and Storers Show featured an F1-style simulator in which racing hopefuls could try their hands at a trip around the Silverstone race track, Lewis Hamilton style. All the proceeds were donated to RGI’s chosen charity, Macmillan Cancer Support.
The fastest male lap was taken by James Penrose-Toms of Oliver’s Removals with a time of 47.493 and the fastest female lap went to Anita Riggall of Riggalls Removals, with a time of 57.870. Both won prizes of £100 Red Letter Days.
That same evening the fun raising continued with an auction of fabulous things, some as simple as a box of sweets, up to an Aston Martin driving experience. Steve Jordan, Editor of The Mover, took on the job of auctioneer. Between the two events Reason Global, with the help of the attendees and exhibitors at the show, raised over £3,000 for the charity.
Photos: Top: Reason Global F10-style simulator; bottom: Steve Jordan becomes auctioneer for the evening to raise money for Macmillan.
The Movers and Storer’s Show would not be complete without its annual awards. This year, according to the judges, the standard was as high as ever in every category.
Simpson Packing Packer of the Year 2015 – MGR Removals
2015 Matthew James Truck Show: Practicality Winner – MJ Christopher & Son
2015 Matthew James Truck Show: Practicality runner up – Cotswold Carriers
2015 Matthew James Truck Show: Practicality runner up – James Removals
2015 Matthew James Truck Show: Livery Winner – MJ Christopher & Son
2015 Matthew James Truck Show: Livery runner up – Richard Healey Removals
Photos: Top, left: MGR Removals; middle: MJ Christopher; right: Cotswold Carriers; middle, left: James Removals; second left: Richard Healy Removals; second right: MJ Christopher; right: Livery winner; bottom: other presentations.
Van Girls is AIM Domestic Mover of the Year 2015
Emma Lanman was clearly delighted when her company Van Girls was named AIM Domestic Mover of the Year 2015 at the Movers and Storers Show in September. A second award for the Commercial Mover of the Year went to Relocate London (UK) Ltd. Unfortunately Relocate’s Director Ian Smith was not able to attend the show but said he was proud to win the award and that it reflected what had been a great year for the company.
Feedback from customers posted on AIM’s website was used to judge the winner of the Domestic Mover competition, while the Commercial award was based on success in winning business contracts and comments from clients interviewed by AIM.
This was the first time the bourgeoning trade organisation had held the competition, but the Alliance’s founder Scott Rust now intends to make the awards an annual event.
Photo: Emma Lanman Click here to see the next Editor's Pick