Logistics firm Stiller Warehousing and Distribution is already reaping the rewards of becoming the North-East distributor of a hazardous freight network.
The Newton Aycliffe firm has already won more than £100,000-worth of new contracts after becoming the regional member of Hazchem less than a year ago.
Stiller can now transport hazardous products around the UK and Europe after it teamed up with established national network Hazchem, which has 60 members around the UK, Ireland and in 28 European countries.
Hazchem is similar to a standard pallet and parcel network but specialises in the movement of hazardous packaged goods, liquids or difficult-to-handle products.
One local firm already benefiting from Stiller’s Hazchem link-up is Newcastle-based Hobbyweld, which supplies rent-free industrial gas cylinders.
Stiller co-ordinate daily collections and deliveries for Hobbyweld, using its state-of-the-art online booking system and dedicated customer services team, based at its purpose-built premises on Aycliffe Business Park.
Hobbyweld’s products include a small but comprehensive range of welding and cutting gases which are supplied in a high-quality, easy-to-handle package. These cylinders are supplied to the end user via a network of independent retail outlets around the UK and Republic of Ireland.
All Hobbyweld products are refilled at their industrial gas plant in Westerhope, Newcastle, before they’re distributed to their network of stockists by Stiller, who collect and deliver to all regions of the UK, including remote locations.
Stiller commercial manager Lizzie Brophy said: “We’re delighted to be working with Hobbyweld and helping them to improve their services to customers.
“Joining the Hazchem network in April 2019 opened up new avenues for us to explore, and having direct access to the Hazchem network has proved a real game-changer for the business.”
Paul Robson, general manager for Hobbyweld, said: “Typically, industrial gas is supplied on a rental model, where an end user would pay a monthly or annual charge to use a gas cylinder.
“While this method is both convenient and cost effective for business users, the low volume user may find this monthly expenditure & complexity unwarranted.
“The only other alternative for a low volume user historically, was to use disposable gas cartridges. In addition to being larger and generally better value than disposables, our gas cylinders are re-usable and offer the user a greener option to these “throw-away” style products.
“Stiller collect and return empty canisters to be refilled for another sale Once a customer has a need for a refill, they would simply return to their local outlet and swap their empty cylinder for a full one.
“The fact that end users receive a professional quality product without a rental charge is the primary reason our business continues to grow.
“Typical low volume users include classic car and motorcycle enthusiasts who use the gas primarily for restoration, as well as small agricultural holdings, metal sculptors and artists.”
Hobbyweld has been working with Stiller now for several months, and Mr Robson added: “The relationship with Stiller had to be developed quickly.
“Stiller offered a professional, well-tailored solution for us – and it was very quickly evident that they had many innovative tools to help the new relationship. Their online booking system was particularly beneficial to our Hobbyweld team and brought some immediate efficiency to that part of the process.”
Stiller last year opened a new £2m freight distribution centre at its 22-acre site in the heart of Aycliffe Business Park and also converted its former logistics centre into a new 50,000 sq ft warehousing to accommodate 6,000 pallets, taking the company’s total investment in property, facilities and people to £11m in the last four years.
Formed in 1954, Stiller provides cost-effective warehousing and distribution services to businesses in the North-East region as well as commercial property lettings and is also a member and major shareholder in Palletline, a national co-operative network of 70 companies specialising in overnight palletised freight distribution.