A logistics powerhouse

Established in 1932 by its visionary founder Gerald Knowles, Knowles Transport began life with just the single vehicle in its possession, which it used to deliver agricultural produce to London markets. The company has spent the succeeding decades becoming a premium provider across a wide range of logistical services and is now widely considered to be a powerhouse player in the UK logistics sector, under the guidance and strong leadership of Gerald, his sons Tony and Gerald (with Tony succeeding his father to lead the company) and, more recently, Tony’s son Alex who has taken over the reins as Managing Director and continued to build on his father, uncle and grandfather’s success.

Today, Knowles Transport is able to offer unparalleled supply chain solutions, bolstered by a broad range of distribution and warehousing services. Combining this with a wealth of managerial experience in different industries, which has delivered excellence for more than 87 years, the company is trusted by some of the biggest and best-known businesses in the country to provide superior supply chains and best in class service with a competitive advantage.

“Being a service orientated, customer focused company with a high emphasis placed on family values, we have found ourselves being approached consistently over the years and we have expanded naturally in line with this,” explains Knowles Transport’s Operations Director, Simon Woodward. “In the last two years alone, we have seen the company grow by no-less than one third, and that is a pattern that is continuing to occur year-on-year.”

Knowles Transport’s distribution network gives its customers complete coverage of the UK, while its fleet of 110 vehicles and 200 trailers – which operate out of a number of distribution hubs – allow it to provide flexibility and best-in-industry OTIF service levels. Among the myriad of logistics solutions that the company has to offer one will find, contract logistics, full load, part load and small pallet quantity distribution, dedicated traction only solutions, short lead time fulfilment, web-based POD viewing, bespoke IT integration and returns management, to name a few.

In addition to the above, the company is also proud to partner with Palletforce – the UK’s leading pallet distributor – as its palletised distribution network provider. Through its Palletforce division, Knowles Transport offers its customers a tailored and professional palletised distribution service that allows them to grow their respective businesses. It delivers on behalf of Palletforce across Cambridgeshire and East Anglia, and, as a result of its national presence within its contract logistics division, it has the capacity necessary to manage customer supply chains wherever they are located. A dedicated team will tailor the palletised distribution solutions a customer receives to align to its corporate, supply chain and customer’s current and evolving requirements.

When it comes to warehousing, Knowles Transport provides both shared user and dedicated solutions to a variety of industries and customers. Operating over two million square feet of freehold warehousing space, its warehousing solutions include, open and closed book accounts, national groupage, manual and mechanical handling equipment infrastructure, a range of racked solutions, and advanced warehouse management IT systems. Some of the best-known names in the world of UK food manufacturing trust Knowles Transport to manage and optimise their warehouse management, and all of its warehouse operations are BRC A grade accredited.

On the subject of business within the food industry, Knowles Transport can also claim to offer superior expertise in consolidation – through its Knowles Consolidation Unit (KCU) – for all the major supermarkets, and is renowned in particular for the outstanding results delivered to Sainsbury Consolidation. The concept behind KCU operates as follows: At 11am each day it automatically receives loads direct from the retailer in question into its warehouse management system. Here, details are generated as to where and when the loads need to be delivered, as well as the stock keeping units from each KCU partner. These are then carefully picked, loaded and allocated to a relevant vehicle and driver via experienced traffic co-ordinators and KCU’s traffic management system. The loads are then delivered from midnight onwards, and throughout the rest of the next day.

Across all of its operations, the company aims to carry out its activities sustainably, working to make sure that the environmental impact of all of its services are measured, monitored and minimalised continuously. Taking its responsibilities seriously, its primary corporate goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions year-on-year.

By measuring its emissions through its telematics partners, Knowles Transport constantly analyses its progress, and has implemented a series of initiatives aimed at securing a successful future.

These initiatives include identifying the most fuel-efficient vehicles – all of its vehicles are a minimum of Euro 5 emission class and the majority are Euro 6 class – and the production of its own renewable energy. The company has been praised in particular for its recent investment in a 500kWh solar panel project, situated on a number of its warehouse roofing spaces. This project is one of the largest commercial solar panel projects in the UK, and is projected to save over 210,000kg of CO2 every year.

“As a family business, we understand as well as anyone else that it is our responsibility to ensure that we act appropriately for the benefit of future generations,” states Alex Knowles. “As well as introducing solar technology at our sites to create our own renewable power, we are also doing more work with trialling different fuel saving and carbon reduction technologies, trailing the use of LNG vehicles, and switching the last of our Euro 5 tractor units to Euro 6. Furthermore, we are playing an active part in the Government’s extended trailer trial to reduce the environmental impact of road haulage.”

Knowles Transport also appreciates that the themes of efficiency and safety extend to its people, which is why its drivers are educated in ways that they can enhance energy efficiency, and also undertake their work in a safe, courteous manner. Said drivers attend dedicated CPC programmes and one-to-one workshops, providing them with complete training and awareness of the latest guidance and best practice protocols. The company’s experienced driver trainers target driver behaviour and spend time with each individual, both in the classroom and the vehicle, in order to highlight and overcome any possible areas of weakness.

As Simon goes on to add: “We are proud to be a multi-award winning company, the most recent of which came at the recent Palletforce Awards, where we were awarded the prize of Network and Brand Ambassadors of the Year 2019. However, we take just as much pride in the support we provide to the local community, in which we sponsor local sports teams, host school visits, provide work experience opportunities and support HM Forces, which many of our employees having either previously served or presently represent.”

As should be clear, Knowles Transport has devised the best ways of leveraging almost 90 years of experience in delivering excellence into its present-day operations. Together with a modern foresight to continually adapt and develop, it is best poised to ensure that its customers remain the recipients of world class supply chain services.

Knowles Transport
First established in 1932
Offers a tailored palletised distribution system
Trusted by the biggest names in UK food manufacturing