When Richard Southern junior set up his own transport company with just one van last year he had little idea how quickly it could grow with the help of the Fortec Distribution Network.
In February he is celebrating the first anniversary of RTS Central Logistics Ltd which now boasts a fleet of four vans, two 7.5 tonners, an articulated lorry and an 18-tonne truck.
Business has grown so fast that five people are now employed by the company including Richard Snr, his dad, and his brother Robert are now directors. RTS Central Logistics ltd is based in Kiln Way, Swadlincote, Derbyshire.
Originally Richard junior, who once auditioned to appear in The Apprentice television hunt for Lord Sugar's next protégé, set up a same-day courier service but he quickly expanded his horizons and has never looked back.
The company now delivers to DE postcodes in the Derby area and also collects freight to be despatched all over the UK and even European. RTS is already looking to expand the fleet to take on extra work.
Between them the family have a wealth of experience – Richard senior was Central operations manager for another pallet network, where his son was a day operations manager.
Richard Southern junior said: "The first month was a struggle – I threw everything into the business. I had to sell my cars and I moved out of my rented house back in with mum.
"Having started with just a van I was soon getting a lot of contracts. To be honest I wasn't expecting to move into trucks so soon but it has all moved very fast and I like a challenge. Joining Fortec has had big benefits for the family run business.
"We'll just keep expanding now, as much as we can for a family business. We're looking at getting a couple more trucks in the future and eventually getting a bigger warehouse, bigger yard and more staff."
Fortec has recently invested in a significant upgrade of its IT in order to offer members a range of improved services that can be accessed while on the move and which provide total transparency of the network.
The MapIT, ReportIT and TrackIT functions come on top of Fortec Connect, the robust signature capture facility that enables all members to see quickly when consignments have been delivered and accepted.
Richard added: "Fortec has 24-hour tracking and I make sure when I go to customers that they understand they have their own login and they can track freight – it's a great advantage to them."
MapIT allows members to plan their drivers' routes quickly and easily on a computerised map simply by dragging icons called 'pins' across the screen. The information is then automatically sent to drivers via their mobile phones. MapIT also gives planning teams instant cost control benefits and route optimisation tools as well as highly visible service level expectation.
ReportIT is an instant message board embedded into Fortrack, Fortec's bespoke TMS system that allows members to communicate with each other, and for Fortec to contact members, leaving a fully auditable trail and alerting users to new incoming messages.
Members can also track their vehicles through the TrackIT portal whenever there is a live and operating Fortec Connect app running in the cab, enabling them to see where all their vehicles are at any one time.