Understand and deliver
One of the UK’s largest independently owned logistics companies, Howard Tenens provides flexible, tailor-made supply chain solutions across a diverse range of sectors
For Howard Tenens, everything starts with integrity and transparency. According to the company’s CEO, Jamie Hartles, it is this honest, uncomplicated approach to business that differentiates the firm from its competition.
“From an ethos perspective, we always do what we say we will,” he states. “When we make a commitment, we fulfil it and we invest time, effort, and capital in our relationships to make sure they are long-term. We don’t provide prices to undercut the market simply to secure new business and we always seek partnership relationships over transactional ones. As a company, we are very selective in the business we undertake and will always ensure there is mutual value in everything we do, whether that be with employees, suppliers or customers.”
With roots dating back to 1953, Howard Tenens is a family company with various business interests but is primarily focused on commercial property ownership and third-party logistics services. In 1983, perhaps the biggest year in the company’s history, Howard Tenens’ Chairman and majority shareholder Peter Morris completed one of the UK’s first management buyouts, purchasing the firm and making it a privately-owned business. Still a private company today, Peter’s sons, Ben and Dan, are now actively involved with Howard Tenens, providing added continuity to the operation and further solidifying its credentials as a family organization.
“Even today, in 2020, we still have some of the original customers that Peter brought with him in 1983,” Jamie reveals. “Clients stay with Howard Tenens because of our partnership approach to business and commitment to mutual value. As a privately-owned firm, we are not under the same pressure to grow as a listed company. This means we can expand organically and sustainably in collaboration with our customers and not sacrifice service or safety by overreaching.”
Favoring a bricks and mortar approach to business, Howard Tenens has always strived to own the properties from which it runs its logistics operation. The freehold commercial property portfolio has now grown to over four million square feet of warehouse space across the UK, and not only gives the company great flexibility when serving customers, but also represents a robust financial foundation, enabling the firm to invest in future growth. The logistics side of the business occupies around one third of the company’s owned warehouse space, with the remaining two thirds being rented to external clients as storage and commercial parking.
Serving customers across a broad spectrum of industries, including fast moving consumer goods, automotive parts, linens and medical scrubs, white goods, and construction and industrial products, Howard Tenens is a company unafraid to prove its worth to new clients. “Typically, customers start by giving us a smaller, more challenging aspect of their supply chain, but soon enough they realize we deliver where others fail. That’s when customers entrust us with additional work,” Jamie explains. “Our team try really hard to understand a customer’s requirements and ensure the solutions being implemented are as safe and efficient as possible. Our promise to provide exceptional service means we are not just storing a product and distributing it but undertaking value-added services to increase profit for the customer in question.”
Though the majority of its business comes from the food and drink sector, Howard Tenens is guided by customer demand and has recently experienced a significant increase in e-commerce activity. The agile nature of the firm means it remains open to change and is always prepared to adapt.
“At the moment, we have no plans to expand into other sectors, but it really depends on the client and requirement,” Jamie says. “If a customer asks for support in a new sector, we will always provide a solution for them.
“We are fortunate to work with numerous household names and blue-chip brands who come to us seeking value for money and great service. Our customers include companies like Honda, with whom we have established a strong relationship, built on trust. We serve every Honda dealership in the UK, every night, and the company provides us with keys and codes to its locations, knowing it can rely on us to put stock away so that parts are available to workshops in the morning.
“We also service Lavazza Professional on a dedicated, high quality coffee network,” he adds. “We have large alcohol duty bonded sites in the south east and south west providing flexible storage solutions to cater for the large seasonal peaks of the beer industry. Across the board, we are increasingly encountering e-commerce online retailers who need solutions requiring heavy capital investment in conveyor systems, which we are happy to support.”
At the heart of Howard Tenens’ offering is the company’s ability to work in partnership with a client to deliver customizable solutions that challenge convention, while proving good value for money. Whether it’s a first-time outsource or a transfer from a third-party provider, the firm boasts a proud track record of creating open dialogue in its collaboration with clients, committing itself to learn as much as possible about its customers. Jamie suggests that the company’s work with Mole Valley Farmers is a particularly good example of the way in which Howards Tenens operates.
“It was clear from the first meeting that Mole Valley Farmers was going to be an excellent cultural fit for us. The company is committed to ensuring greater choice and protecting farming members from the impact of fewer suppliers and the threat of higher costs,” he asserts. “They also aim to offer superior levels of customer service and the widest range of keenly priced, quality products.
“Mole Valley has grown significantly over the last few years and wanted a consolidated national distribution center, with a transport solution that ensured high-quality service levels. We have worked closely with the company since then and have now implemented a bespoke logistics scheme, servicing their store estate across the UK and making sure on-shelf availability remains high.”
As we move towards the halfway point of 2020, Coronavirus continues to present challenges for businesses across the world. Due to the diversity of its customer base, and the vital nature of its work, Howard Tenens has remained operational throughout the pandemic, employing a number of initiatives to help mitigate the risks to its workforce.
“First and foremost, our focus has been on our people and keeping our amazing employees safe,” Jamie declares. “This has meant investment in personal protective equipment and significantly enhanced cleaning and hygiene standards. We are committed to ensuring that the people who work at Howard Tenens are kept in the loop, especially those working from home, and that the health of all our employees is protected as much as possible whilst they fulfil their important role as key workers.”
Though the company’s two-person vending machine delivery and installation service has been forced to shut down – Howard Tenens has offered an enhanced financial package to furloughed employees on the Government Job Retention Scheme – some areas of the business are not only operating, but thriving.
“Online retail is very busy,” Jamie reports. “We have supported our customers by either increasing resources to cope with such a large and sustained uplift in volume, or by helping them pivot their offering from a storefront solution to one based in e-commerce.
“There has also been an increase in demand for warehouse space, the finding of which is one of our key specialisms. Our Property Division has exceptional contacts in the marketplace, which means we have access to flexible areas that may already be let to other tenants, as well as vacant spaces on our own estate.
“It’s a two-sided process though, and huge thanks must go to all of our clients who have helped us through this unprecedented time. Where we have had to review a commercial arrangement, we have received support from our customers, large and small, and will continue to work in partnership with them to evolve the solutions we provide until we arrive at a new normal.”
What exactly the new normal will be, nobody yet knows, but Howard Tenens has already got its eyes on the future. The company recently signed a six-year lease for Neptune Works, a 145,000 ft² warehouse in Newport, taking its overall number of commercial sites to 18. The firm has also received planning permission for the development of further locations, totaling approximately 600,000ft².
“Where we own the land and the site, we typically commission the facilities ourselves,” Jamie remarks. “The size and layout of the warehouse will vary, but typically, we make them as versatile as we can, with plenty of access and exit points and as much height as feasible, given the build parameters.
“All our new buildings are constructed to an extremely high standard, ensuring 35maximum natural light, and where possible, environmental features such as ground source heat pumps and photovoltaic or motion-activated low energy LED lights. Having strong environmental credentials is important to us and so we work hard to ensure our buildings take that into consideration.”
Recognized on numerous occasions for its environmental work – including Gold Status in the company’s EcoVadis CSR Supplier Evaluation – Howard Tenens remains a leader in sustainable logistics. An early adopter of dual-fuel vehicles, the firm operates seven sites powered by solar energy, saving around 200 tons of CO2 every year. Over the next five years, Jamie expects to see more investment in sustainability initiatives, eco-friendly technology, and automation as Howard Tenens pushes towards a target of £125,000,000 turnover. Having reported years of back-to-back growth – including a 20 per cent increase in turnover in 2018 – Jamie is confident that the current pandemic will not prevent the company from reaching its goal.
“Competition in the logistics market is fierce and Howard Tenens continues to be successful by hiring and retaining the best staff, who understand the firm’s objectives and work together for the betterment of each other and our customer base,” he proclaims. “The impact of COVID-19 will be far reaching and will undoubtedly change our habits and requirements for good, but Howard Tenens has weathered numerous economic storms before and is exceptionally well placed to come through this one where some of our competition might struggle. We will continue to invest in the business and our customers throughout this process and will emerge even stronger as a result.”
Howard Tenens Logistics Ltd
Services: A proactive logistics company, providing innovative solutions