Track & Trace

THE Pallet Network (TPN) has demonstrated its trademark agility by opening a second ‘pop-up’ Hub at Coventry which was transformed from empty industrial unit to modern Hub space in only one week.

Key points include:

  • TPN has perfected its rapid response ‘pop up’ Hub model
  • The system benefits Partners, premise owners and the network
  • Modern logistics success requires strategic fixed assets and tactical agility
  • TPN’s commitment to sustainable business means it adapts existing empty sites where possible
  • Its rapid response team has now proved itself on two pop up Hubs and two depots, all achieved in remarkably short order

The Coventry Hub is in the Central City Industrial Estate and has 150,000 sq ft of space.

It will replace the pop-up facility the network opened in the unoccupied NEC during 2020. The NEC opportunity was identified, pursued and made operational in less than a week and, says TPN MD Mark Kendall, it also demonstrated one of TPN’s most important values: mutual benefit.

“I saw a news item one evening about the NEC’s lockdown losses and realised immediately that we could use the space while they couldn’t,” he said. “We contacted them, sent a team in, and had a fully functional Hub in former exhibition space within days. The NEC got a tenant and we got valuable extra space while we develop plans for our next Hub.”

TPN has done the same with the Coventry Hub, choosing a space which has been empty for some time. “We always look for the simplest and most beneficial solutions for all parties. We make things work,” says Mark.

A good relationship with Partners is an important part of the equation. “We consult our Partners, and keep them informed, and all those who use the NEC Hub were fully in agreement and aware of the switch to Coventry before it happened.

“We genuinely support and value our Partners and their response is to support us in return,” says Mark. “We are very grateful that the whole network is responsive and adaptable.”

The ‘Pop-up’ Model

The pop-up Hub model, which TPN invented, contributes to the network’s operational resilience. It means that any sudden or seasonal surge in volume can be rapidly met with extra Hub resource thus keeping vehicle turnaround times low for Partners.

“We have a long-term strategy for Hub development which includes new central Hub facilities,” says Mark. “However, large fixed assets will only ever be one part of a successful strategy.

“To have resilient service levels you need to plan well and react fast. The seasonal lulls in the market are gone, and volumes surges can be unpredictable, both in quantity and region.

“The pop-up Hubs are our fast-reaction mechanism and we’ve deployed it twice now with great success.”

TPN is very experienced at deploying its rapid response teams:

  • It created its Preston and Northampton Hubs each within three weeks of Partners indicating demand.
  • In 2019 they set up depots in Dagenham and Teesside, going from empty yard to fully compliant working transport operations in less than two weeks.
  • The NEC and Coventry Hubs have both been fully fitted and made operational within one week of taking possession.

“Our teams are very practised and know their jobs. Whatever the network requires, we find an efficient, rapid solution,” says Group Transport Manager Lee Noble. “We can literally take sites from zero to hero in less than two weeks.”

Noble finds TPN’s directness refreshing. “There is no red tape. The senior management team is always talking to Partners and is very alive to any issue in the network.”

This same approach creates TPN’s first class on-boarding for new Partners, with specialist team members offering IT installation, training, and support in operations, marketing, sales and resource management.

“We invest in new Partners from the outset to set them up for success,” says Mark. “TPN is the ultimate can-do network.”

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