A courier firm founded 15 years ago by a young entrepreneur has beaten competition from across Europe to win an international award.
Dynamic Despatch, based in Beeston, Leeds, received the Best Company Culture award at the European Business Excellence Forum awards held in Brighton.
Founder and MD Andrew Edwards said:
“I was shocked to hear my name called out. I’d heard a whisper that I was on a shortlist, but there was never any formal notification.
“There were about 20 awards being handed out and luckily mine was an early one so I could relax and enjoy the evening afterwards! As well as winning this category, we were shortlisted for best entrepreneur award.
“There were companies there from across Europe, the Middle East and Africa as well.
“Some of the people there had much bigger businesses than ours, with great financial results.
“This is one of the things we have worked really hard at, so it’s great to have that recognised.”
The award follows a renewed focus on the company’s internal culture and values, which Mr Edwards said has given an enormous boost to the business.
“We have developed company vision, mission and culture statements.
“They are all on the wall here and we all live up to them.
“I didn’t realise before how important our culture points were and hadn’t made them explicit to the team.
“Just saying things openly and having them on the wall actually has an effect on people.
“For example, we don’t listen to sarcasm or gossip; we don’t use them in our work life.
“It took a while for everyone to get used to it, but it has really sunk in now – we just don’t have those things in the business.
“The atmosphere and culture of the business is something we have really focused on over the last few years.
“We spend so much of our lives at work – I want to enjoy myself in that time, and I want everyone else to feel the same.
“One of the things that was recognised with the award was a really low driver turnover.
“We operate using subcontractors and they can walk out any time they like.
“In the courier business, drivers do tend to move around a bit, but our driver turnover is fantastically low – more than 60 per cent of our team members have been here for over five years.
“We even have people coming back to us after they’ve worked elsewhere.
I’ve lost count of the number of times a driver has come up to me on a night out and told me this is the best company he has ever worked for.”
Although Mr Edwards’s hands-on experience has given him a natural understanding of how to get the best out of his staff, there are other areas of the business where he has benefited from outside support.
“When you go from an entry level job to MD with no training, there’s nobody to guide you through it all.
“I’ve been working with Stuart Johnson at ActionCOACH for three years now – not just on the company culture and values, but on getting the right processes in place to make us as successful as possible.
“We have five-year, three year, one-year and quarterly plans that we review regularly.
“We’re at a step change now.
“When you reach this level, you move from having to be really cautious about any investment and marketing to being able to spend money.
“We’re investing a further £80,000 in IT systems this year, in order to improve our customer service experience and maintain our competitive advantage.
“Where growth has been quite linear until now, it starts to become exponential when you reach this point.”
Stuart Johnson of ActionCOACH said:
“It has been a real pleasure working with Andrew and seeing his business develop over the last few years.
“This award is thoroughly deserved and a real recognition of the hard work and focus that has been put into Dynamic Despatch.
“There is no doubt that the strong company culture he has developed has played a huge role in the business’s impressive growth and success.”