PADDOCK WOOD & TAYLOR LOGISTICS
We moved into Paddock Wood Distribution Centre in 1991, a massive 21,000 sq ft, with 30ft to the ceiling. Now we could get down to some serious storage, demands from Waitrose and their customers just never stoppd increasing.
We were handling between 2 and 4 containers a day, palletising pasta and dried fruit, tinned fruit and vegetables, chocolate and beers and wines. We were delivering 4-6 mixed loads per day to Waitrose at Bracknell or Milton Keynes, and could now store up to 4,000 pallets.
The high windows were our office, and gave us magnificent views out across the Medway Valley as far as Coxheath and Linton.
It always puzzled us why every other office in the whole estate had all the desks turned away from the windows. (slavedrivers)
This picture was taken at the height of the fleet numbers and shows the bulk of the fleet on a weekend. It was taken from the warehouse roof, (clinging on for grim death).
Another new truck delivered by Dave Sears from Maidstone Commercials.
I first became involved with MC when I bought an F88 from them for little more than scrap value, and within a couple of weeks the crank went. Most dealers would just say tough, but MC stood the cost of fitting our spare engine, and a replacement clutch, some £2000 worth of work. Now thats what I call service, and we repaid them by never going to another dealer.
Above Some of the trailer fleet, and Tony Rob, one of the warehouse staff doing a bit of shunting.
Below: Jackie driving the Mitsubishi forktruck.
At the end of 1996, the pasta supplier to Waitrose lost the contract, and that was over a third of our work, so we had a serious problem. Our landlord's recievers had offered to sell us the warehouse, we had negotiated a mortgage, and had arranged refinance of all our equipment to make the deposit.
We approached Waitrose, who we had now worked for for 15 years without a contract, and asked if they would give us a letter of intent agreeing to make their best effort to maintain our levels of storage for the mortgage period of 10 years. Despite our history, and despite the fact they had recently awarded Hayes a 25 year contract, they declined.
We had always trusted Waitrose, because the terms of their contracts are extremely fair, and we were seriously let down by them. we advised them that if they couldn't help us, we would cease to take any further goods in from 1st April, and we would shut the doors on the 30th April 1997. As the lease for the premises was in my name as a sole trader, the Landlord's receivers filed for bankruptcy, and on the 27th Sept 1997 it was granted.
The pictures below show how big the warehouse was, a fact that you don't appreciate when it is full to the roof.
With a lot of luck, I managed to go through bankruptcy without "stitching" a single supplier, only the banks and government were hit. This stood us in good stead, because Jackie's company was able to get credit to buy and operate a single truck for me to drive, and away we went again............