Tuesday, March 30, 2010

From A to 3B


3B INTERNATIONAL is a worldwide delivery business based in Helston and owned by Ann Booth and her daughters, Claire Culm and Suzie Hackland. They manage deliveries on behalf of their clients and offer storage and a pick and pack operation. “Both Claire and Suzie have their forklift licences,” says Bryn Hackland, Managing Director. “I'd like to think we're the first contact point for anyone wanting to ship goods out of the area.”
The company was originally formed in Halifax in 1998 by Ann’s late husband Geoff after he retired from TNT, and named after two other partners whose surnames also began with B. After Geoff's sudden death the family decided to make a fresh start and moved to Cornwall.
“I think Dad would be amazed at how we've managed to turn the business around, move it 400 miles and sustain a living,” says Suzie. “We used to be a despatch company for bigger companies but when we came down here we realised that there were a huge amount of small businesses that needed servicing. They'd been penalised by big carriers on rates so we opened up avenues for them to get their products out without being penalised on prices. It was a huge learning curve!”
3B now have a client base of over 500 and 100 regular weekly traders. “Being a family business counts for a lot with Cornish people,” says John Harvey, Business Development Manager. “The company is owned and run by women, and that's gone down well.”
They soon found that business in Cornwall was very different from Halifax. “People are more loyal down here so you build better relationships,” says Bryn. “There are about 9,000 business in West Cornwall that employ under 5 people and we work for a lot of them. They want to concentrate on their business, not have to worry about where their product's gone.”
3B believe that flexibility is very important for their customers. “If customers come to us with a cashflow problem we will work with them to get through it,” says Bryn. “The recession has actually been good to us because a lot of people have traded down,” adds John. “Deliveries are an easy area to cut costs and we can help with that.”

3B have two vans which cover West Cornwall, and for collections further afield send in courier companies. Their second warehouse allows them to offer storage facilities, same day deliveries throughout the UK and hold stock for a handbag company based in London.
“Because 3B are a small company, we are able to take on specialist jobs that require project management from start to finish,” says John, who has years of experience in the business. “We have a very personal approach, are cost effective and very friendly. We're tapping into a lot of experience here.” Thanks to John's many contacts, he recently coordinated a seemingly impossible overnight delivery from Cornwall to London, Paris and Brussels, when half the stock was stranded in the West Midlands due to snow. “That's job satisfaction!” says John with a smile.
The company have just undergone a rebranding exercise. “We have new vans arriving with the new logo, our second warehouse will enhance our storage facilities and Ann Booth has decided to take an active role in the company again,” says Bryn. “We like to help small businesses help each other, so we've rented some office space to a new design company. Their first job was to redesign our website and logo!”
Looking to the future, expansion is definitely on the cards. “At the moment we're well known in this area but there's the rest of Cornwall to tap into,” says John. “There's massive potential.”
Perhaps what makes them so special is that unlike most larger companies, 3B treats customer service as paramount. “Most of our business is personal recommendation,” Claire says. “We're on first name terms with our customers – we care about them.” And one of their strengths is that whatever the product, it is treated with the same care. “We might send out a tender document worth £500,00 or a box of pasties worth £15,” explains Claire. “It doesn't matter what it is – it's how it gets there that's important.”

Clients include: Roskilly, Ballardsfield Farm, Cornish Cider Farm, Cornish Seafood, Polgoon Vineyard, Crepe Cuisine,Cornish Crisp Company, The Cheese Shop and daffodils from Scilly.

3B International
15/16 Tresprison Business Park
TR13 0QD
01326 572636
email: bryn@3bint.co.uk

Website design - www.kidesign.co.uk

No comments:

Post a Comment