Question: How did you get into the temperature-controlled distribution sector and what is your role within TEK?
Answer: I left school and went onto college to learn a trade whilst at the same time working in demolition to earn some money, during this time the UK had gone into recession which sadly meant I had lost my job and no one was employing apprentices. I lived at home at the time and my Dad owned TEK freight, in typical fashion my dad told me I couldn’t just lie on the sofa in the house and suggested I wash the vans on their return from Europe, after a few months of washing vans we had a driver not turn up to work so I jumped into a van and over the next few years I drove the length and breadth of Europe making deliveries.
After a few year and a very steep learning curve learning on the ins and out of European operations at the sharp end I started doing the odd few days helping out in the office.
I soon moved over into the office full time after this and working in or alongside every department in the company, the biggest thing learnt is that service is King, we have always been open and honest with our customers on what can and can’t be achieved this has earnt us the trust of our clients.
At the turn of this year Tek was sold to PHSE a global a leader in temp controlled distribution to the healthcare industry and I became the Managing Director of TEK.
Question: Can you firstly tell us what temperature-controlled vehicles that TEK operates?
Answer: TEK runs a fleet of Mercedes Benz Sprinters with V200 Thermo king temperature-controlled units, all equipped with sleeper cab due our drivers going all over Europe and sleeping in the vans, all our vehicles are dedicated to the healthcare market.
Question: What has been the most important technical development in your temperature-controlled bodies and refrigeration systems in recent years and how has it impacted on your operations within TEK Freight?
Answer: One of the many improvements along with improved fridge units, multi temp units, improvements in telematics and security measures is better insulation coming to market meaning the temperature-controlled units do not have to work as hard and in turn making the units much greener and lowering the number of breakdowns.
Question: Are you using telematics across your fleet currently? If so, what advantages do you see this gives your clients?
Answer: Yes, due to the nature of the products we carry in the healthcare industry it’s imperative that we have real time temperature data and GPS locations making sure we are in constant communication with the TCV ensuring we are running at the correct temperatures.
All of our TCVs are on one system making it easier to see locations and temperatures at the click of a button our clients can also see their product temperature and location in real time.
Question: Customer needs are constantly changing, so what are you finding is now the biggest request from your customers?
Answer: The need to be Flexible but still delivering the best service level, in the ever changing Pharmaceutical and life sciences industry, we have to ensure we are consistently offering the customer the best service levels one example is complexities of customs post Brexit when taking pharmaceutical products in and out the UK, we need to be flexible in our approach but still ensuring things are done in quality focused manner making sure the end users medicines arrives on time and in temperature. Fortunately, we were at the front of the pack as we had been dealing with Customs for 18 years and gained a lot of respect and business.
Question: What environmental measures does TEK Freight incorporate to ensure best practice?
Answer: TEK now part of PHSE family are constantly looking at ways of cutting down our carbon footprint, we have set up a dedicated task force to ensure we are at the for front of new technologies, we are working closely with Marshalls Fleet solutions in creating a bespoke carbon cutting temperature controlled solution, we are also working with Mercedes on multiple solutions that they are looking to bring to market.
The PHSE group is financing farmers in planting over 1000 trees, supporting their work in the early years, when trees are not yet productive, bringing environmental, social and financial benefits to communities in Kenya.
Question: The last 36 months has thrown us all a curve ball, how has business been for TEK since the pandemic started?
Answer: The Key words would be Adapt and Overcome, pre pandemic a lot of TEKs work came from on-going clinical trials and comparator drugs that due to the pandemic got put on hold. We were very fortunate that we had already completed various clinical trials for Vaccine drugs and was a trusted courier at this very important time in bringing the Covid vaccine to market.
Question: If you could give one piece of advice to a newcomer to our industry, what would it be?
Answer: There 2 key pieces of advise I got told when I started :-
Number 1 – SERVICE, SERVICE, SERVICE provide everyone with the best and most honest service you can.
Number 2 – It’s not the problem that is important but what you do to over come it that is.
Question: Lastly, would you like to share any news about your company that you feel would benefit the TCS&D readers?
Answer: TEK a PHSE company works 24/7 to ensure that products are delivered on time and in temperature please feel free to get in touch any time.