Silk Contract Logistics is looking to grow big in the next few years, and has a world-class growth and investment strategy to accomplish these goals.
SCL’s Executive Directors Brendan Boyd, John Sood, David Anderson, and George Lerias—in conjunction with Gandel Invest—acquired SCL in February 2014. With 22 distribution centres across Australia, SCL is becoming the leader in the Tier-2 Third Party Logistics (3PL) space.
“We have a growing turnover, a motivated workforce, and an enviable safety focus all coupled to Tier-1 technology, which is enabling SCL to emerge as the Tier-2 star” said Managing Director, Brendan Boyd.
SCL has been able to leverage its complementary strengths to provide value-based services, expand its operations, and provide seamless, integrated transport and warehousing services. SCL is expanding its services over a greater geography, meaning the company can do more for its customers.
“We’re focused on providing a quality service for our customers,” said Boyd. “We are a business that believes our success is based on the success of both our customers and our staff and we are completely committed to achieving this success for all stakeholders.”
Boyd has 25 years of experience in freight services and logistics, and has spent the last two decades in leadership positions turning around businesses’ performances. The privilege of leadership, he shared, was not one people should take lightly.
“People often forget that leadership is about people, not about power,” he said. “Leaders should empower people with the right tools, training, and technology to do their job.”
With a deep understanding of the duties he performs, Boyd, along with the Executive Directors and the employees at SCL, has been able to grow and mold the company into a brand that is ready to take on large projects and overcome all challenges into the future.
At the time of acquisition, the leadership team decided it was necessary to go back to the basics for the first year. As a result SCL has been focused on organic growth and driving the efficiencies and improvements within the business that were immediately available.
“We have grown 20 percent over each of the last two years with organic growth,” said Boyd. “Going forward, we are looking to acquisitions—which created the foundation of our business—to enhance our service offering. We are looking at scaling up the Import & Export division and the last mile distribution presence of the company. These are the services our customers are seeking from us” said Boyd.
The first letter in SCL’s company name stands for “Safety” and is its number one core value. It is therefore a major part of the way the company conducts business.
When Boyd joined the Silk Group—SCL’s predecessor and namesake—in 2011, the lost-time injury frequency rate (LTIFR) was 28, a high number for a company whose success is based on safety. Since the acquisition in 2014, the safety expectations were raised significantly. Boyd was proud to share that this year SCL has reached a record-low 4.5 LTIFR. Although this does not hit their goal of “zero harm”, SCL has made tremendous progress in its safety practices.
SCL’s key to safety excellence is knowledge, giving its employees the tools to understand what safety is about and the empowerment to do their jobs safely.
“Safety is something that is important to me personally,” said Boyd. “If you get the disciplines of safety right, it underpins everything else you do operationally. I’m very proud that the safety value is shared throughout the entire SCL workforce.”
Current and Upcoming Investments
As the company progresses in executing its strategy, significant investment will be required to ensure SCL has the staff and capacity to achieve its goals now and into the future.
Boyd is focusing SCL’s investment in two key areas: technology and personnel.
“Our Tier 1 technology is central to our customers and must continuously improve, so that’s a big focus of the business” he shared. “We need to continue to build robust infrastructure for the collection and analysis of data, and continue to enhance the customer experience in dealing with SCL.”
In regards to personnel, Boyd recognizes the need for additional skill sets and competencies among his employees and this is another key focus of investment in the year ahead.
“Revenues have nearly doubled in a short amount of time. We need to maintain that pace in other aspects of the business as well. We’ve instituted training programs to increase the competences and skills of our staff, and intend on adding supervisory development programs to the list. We also want to give senior people tools for planning, and a financial acumen they may not have had before. The key to it all is engagement, and providing our staff with the tools and training they need to be successful,” Boyd said.
These empowered employees will be instrumental to SCL’s future goals, as Boyd would like to see the company become a “Tier-2 star” in Australia. There are no aspirations to head offshore or enter the freight forwarding market, but the company is looking to reach $350 million in turnover over the next three to five years.