Twenty Five Years!

On August the 14th 1995 Quality Freight Services Ltd was born.
I moved into a first floor serviced office with my second-hand desk & chair, a new typewriter – word processor and my phone book, and off I went…

I phoned my most important 5 clients; then my serious top 10; followed by my warm 25; eventually calling everyone I had ever come across who I thought might have some freight business.

This was of course interspersed with liaising with my contacts at the suppliers I hoped I would need, doing my admin in the evenings. Many thought I was a little crazy because although it may be hard to believe now, back in 1995 Bradford was teeming with freight forwarders of every size ranging from the likes of Panalpina and Schenker through Transflash and many others.

I was however convinced that a bespoke approach to the clients, along with a ‘can do’ attitude would see me keep my head above water…and so it did.
The first office was small, but after 6 months I expanded to an office with a window, as seen above.

Moving forward to 1999 and it was time for a holiday, so I needed some colleagues to cover for me and eventually employed a chap (who shortly thereafter emigrated to Australia) and a lady by the name of Tracy Sawyer (nee Grant).

Once I was convinced they weren’t going to ingratiate themselves with my best clients and then leave, I opened the doors…

  • 2002 saw the arrival of Steve Harris, followed quickly thereafter in 2003 by Duncan Winn.
  • 2004 was the move to Shipley and our first ‘computer server’.
  • Jo Broomfield joined in 2005, Keri MacInnes in 2006 and Jonathan Wilson in 2010.
  • Newcastle opened in 2007.
  • Cannock was 2010.
  • Manchester followed thereafter in 2014.
  • 2016 saw the opening of Sheffield.
  • The East Midlands office began in 2017.
  • It was only 2018 when Heathrow opened.
  • Early 2019 brought in the Leeds office.
  • And in 2020 Hull arrived…

Thereafter we have selectively employed a fantastic team, who when I stand to backfill me with immense pride as we now number 60 people altogether.
And standing back is my aim over the next 10 years; continually handing ever greater responsibilities to the branch and department managers to develop and grow their business and influence.

Remarkably the biggest test in the last 25 years has occurred in the last 4 months; but that has only served to enhance our collective spirit and focus on what is really important.
Who knows what challenges lie ahead; but whatever they are, we are ready as one to meet them head-on, thanks mainly to our wonderful people!

So as the country works towards achieving Brexit by the end of this year, with all that’s going to be involved for us in making it as seamless as possible for our customers (for a fee!!), I’m very optimistic that Quality Freight Services Ltd is in good health and well-positioned firmly in the market place to continue to stick its elbows out and hold its own for whatever comes over the horizon.

There have been some great acknowledgements along the way, but the single act that is repeated by many that inspire me most is when I see or hear about someone cherishing our company in the same way that I do, and going that extra mile for a customer by doing something selfless.

Sadly the idea that came from our 20th anniversary of having some grand ‘do’ for our quarter century withered on the vine as COVID took its toll, but I’m hoping that if we are all back by Christmas (its only 19 weeks) then every branch should have a double whammy Christmas & anniversary double budget ‘proper’ night out.

Lastly, as everyone will appreciate 25 years ago was a completely different world in almost every respect…but not least because way back then (I know…a lifetime !!) suppliers seemed slightly more friendly and customers, certainly in the early years, paid their accounts in a more accommodating fashion; and I don’t think I would repeat that gamble today…probably !!

Martin Johnson MBE
Managing Director