CSL celebrates 20th Anniversary!
1997 was the year that Princess Diana sadly died, Tony Blair swept to a landslide election victory and huge progress was made towards the future Good Friday agreement and peace in Northern Ireland. 1997 also saw Corporate Solutions Logistics commence trading.
To celebrate CSL’s 20th anniversary we are going to be posting the 20 key milestones in the company’s growth and development over the last two decades.
Please keep an eye on our social media sites and website over the next month as we celebrate. We are immensely proud of our history and excited for the future!
Milestone 1 – 1997
In late 1997, Corporate Solutions Logistics was formed with a view to building on the strengths, ethos and health and safety achievements of the legacy family business DJ Ponsonby. There was a conscious refocusing on the growing demand for contract logistics providers offering low cost, high service solutions backed by technological innovation.
At the time a new vehicle livery was established (see photo below), proudly displaying the butterfly logo; signifying the care taken with each and every parcel, pallet, load that we take through to this day 20 years later
Milestone 2 – 1998
1998 was the year that construction of the Millenium Dome commenced and the £2 coin went into circulation. It also saw CSL pick up its first contractual business; a 24/7 automotive contract supplying cockpits to Land Rover in Solihull on behalf of Siemens VDO (the company name was later changed to Continental, see photo) in Witton, Birmingham.
CSL continued the ‘just in time’ contract provision until 2010 when the cockpit production facility was moved onto site at JLR. We believe in building long term relationships with customers, assisted by developing an in depth knowledge of their business and integrating responsive and committed employees into it. In this instance, veteran DJ Ponsonby drivers Tony Jenkins and Bill Slaymaker helped us to provide a seamless service. They are guests of honour at our Christmas Party and first to the dance floor to this day!
Milestone 3 – 1999
1999 saw Millenium bug fever grip the nation. It was feared when the clock struck midnight and moved us into the year 2000, planes would drop from the sky and bank records would be lost forever. 1999 was a year of consolidation for CSL, focusing on the detail of providing excellent service to Siemens VDO and working on internal processes.
Technology was to play a massive part in the internal improvements and in 1999 CSL implemented its first traffic management system, Haulier. This provided much needed transparency, and data that allowed for both operational improvements and seemless invoicing.
Milestone 4 – 2000
Construction of the Dome finally completed we were ready to enter the new Millenium and the year 2000. A year that saw BMW sell Rover, Harold Shipman sentenced to life imprisonment and there was the largest snowfall in the UK for 50 years; it also saw Corporate Solutions Logistics go from strength to strength.
For the growing CSL, the Sydney Paralympic games provided an opportunity to display flexibility and a focus on dynamic requirements. CSL were engaged to ensure that equipment and competitor baggage was transferred between Midlands locations into air-freight hubs UK wide. Clearly attention to detail was of crucial importance, ensuring that all consignments arrived down under at the right time!
Milestone 5 – 2001
2001 was the year that Sven Goran Eriksson took over the job of England Manager; the appointment would prove to be moderately successful, sportingly the real value was to the tabloid journalists!
The year also saw Corporate Solutions Logistics establish a key relationship with a new customer that would last approaching a decade. We began to provide a time-sensitive line-haul operation for DHL between Birmingham and Brussels / Amsterdam to fit in with their air-freight operations. It was a relationship that lasted until 2011 and further enhanced our growing capabilities and client base.
Milestone 6 – 2002
2002 was the Queen’s Golden Jubilee year and also sadly saw the Queen’s Mother die at the age of 101.
For Corporate Solutions Logistics, the business continued to expand and was given a boost when brothers Des and Mark Ponsonby joined the company. Des with his vast industry experience and Mark’s drive, knowledge and enthusiasm were to provide great impetus for the growing company, and do to this day.
Milestone 7 – 2003
2003 was the year that Iraq was invaded on the back of Blair’s ‘dodgy dossier’, DVD’s took over VHS in sales and Dirty Den miraculously returned to Eastenders having been killed off 14 years hence.
It also saw Corporate Solutions Logistics pick up a major new customer; sealing a 3 year contract for the collection of baled cardboard and delivery of finished paper reels on behalf of the then named ‘Kappa SSK’. 14 years later we are still proud to manage Smurfit Kappa’s transport requirements from the Mill in Nechells, Birmingham.
Milestone 8 – 2004
2004 saw fox hunting banned in the UK and Great Britain winning 9 gold, 9 silver and 12 bronze medals in the Athens Olympics!
Corporate Solutions Logistics continued to grow, moving on from the legacy Witton site into a new HQ, ideally located; in close vicinity to the NEC in Solihull. 2004 also saw Alcan brought on board as a valued customer; providing next day, nationwide, palletised distribution of aluminium foil products.
Milestone 9 – 2005
2005 saw the ‘Miracle of Istanbul’, Liverpool’s dramatic 5th European Cup triumph against AC Milan. It also saw the Freedom of Information Act to come into effect, championing and revolutionising the transparency of both Government institutions and businesses themselves. The merger of Paper and Packaging giants Smurfit and Kappa occured in the latter parts of the year.
For Corporate Solutions Logistics, the year involved both consolidation of existing customers and the development of exciting new ventures. As a result of the creation of Smurfit Kappa, an opportunity to develop an innovative solution for the storage and distribution of GB manufactured paper products in Ireland presented itself. A solution involving 3 storage hubs was built and the implementation plan for 2006 devised.
Milestone 10 – 2006
2006 was the year that Sven Goran Eriksson, following on from another major tournament failure, resigned to be replaced by another uninspiring and ultimately unsuccessful appointment, Steve Mclaren. GB won one silver medal in the Winter Olympics and ex Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko was assassinated on the streets of London through Polonium-210 poisoning.
For Corporate Solutions Logistics, three new Irish storage hubs were sourced, warehouse management system implemented and go lives navigated in Cork, Dublin and Warrenpoint on behalf of Smurfit Kappa. We commenced the delivery of products from production facilities in Birmingham and Kent into Ireland in the summer of that year and things were in full swing for the Q2 & 3 peak period.
Milestone 11 – 2007
In 2007 after 10 years of Tony Blair, Gordon Brown took office as Prime Minister. There was a historic landmark in July that year when the environment in pubs and restaurants was to change forever when the smoking ban in enclosed public spaces came into effect.
For Corporate Solutions Logistics, there was rapid growth when an agreement was made with valued customer Smurfit Kappa to provide the collection of baled recovered fibre and the delivery of finished reels from their Kent production facility, Townsend Hook. Implementing a mirror operation to our transport solution at the SSK facility in Birmingham. Synergies were established between the two operations and integration with the Smurfit Kappa Corrugated division were established.
Milestone 12 – 2008
2008 was a year of great economic uncertainty triggered by the collapse of the sub-prime mortgage sector in the US. The year began with the nationalisation of the Northern Rock that led to a full blown recession and meltdown in financial services. Great Britain competed in the Beijing Olympics securing 19 gold medals and Boris Johnson won the mayoral election in London.
For Corporate Solutions Logistics, continued growth necessitated a move to a new HQ at Knights Court in Birmingham Business Park. The office was officially opened by Ashley Giles MBE at a fantastic opening party in the latter part of the year.
For Corporate Solutions Logistics, 2009 saw the go live of another major new customer. Swedish Kraft manufacturer Pitea paper. We commenced a port-centric distribution solution from Sheerness in July delivering significant savings and service level improvement.
Milestone 14 – 2010
In May 2010, David Cameron took over from Gordon Brown as PM after the UK General Election ended with hung parliament. Volcanic ash grounded planes worldwide for a week and beavers bred in the wild in Scotland for the first time in 400 years.
At Corporate Solutions Logistics, our bespoke Traffic Management System, CSL Live was implemented in June that year. A web based collaboration platform, our system enables us to share work with our partner hauliers and customers with ease. Designed to fit our growing business the system has proved invaluable in providing excellent service to our customers and simplifying our administrative functions.
Milestone 15 – 2011
2011 saw the VAT rate rise to 20% as the impact of the 2008 financial crisis bit; England won the Ashes in Australia 3-1 and sadly Amy Winehouse was found dead in her house.
For Corporate Solutions Logistics, the benefit of investment in our Traffic Management system, CSL Live was proving hugely beneficial. Increased visibility and transparency saw improvements in our operational agility, which was proven when distribution was ceased for refurbishment at Smurfit Kappa’s Townsend Hook Mill in Kent and volumes moved to / from other UK locations.
Milestone 16 – 2012
2012 was a year of great sporting success; Bradley Wiggins becoming the first British rider to win the Tour de France, Chelsea winning the Champions League for the first time and Team GB winning 29 Gold as a part of 65 medals in total in the London Olympics.
For Corporate Solutions Logistics, we commenced operations for new customer, Lidl, at their Lutterworth DC. A relationship that has developed and grown in parallel to the fantastic success Lidl have had. We began with 2 vehicles and dual evaporator refrigerated trailers in March 2012 and now operate from 11 UK locations with approaching 100 vehicles.
Milestone 17 – 2013
2013 saw the death of Margaret Thatcher, Same-sex marriage became legal and the UK set off on the road to Brexit when the EU Referendum Act passed through parliament.
For Corporate Solutions Logistics, we established operations at 3 Lidl DCs; Weston Super Mare, Bridgend and Belvedere. In a very busy year we also resumed operations fully at the Smurfit Kappa TH site after their new paper machine roared back into action.
Milestone 18 – 2014
2014 saw Andy Coulson jailed for phone-hacking, the Church of England in a landmark decision allowed women bishops to be ordained and Scotland voted to reject independence from the UK by a margin of 55-45%.
2014 marked the 10 year anniversary of Corporate Solutions Logistics providing logistics services to valued customer Smurfit Kappa. To mark the event, Managing Director, Des Ponsonby, held a replica photoshoot with Smurfit Kappa Paper UK CEO Chris Allen. We also commenced operations at our largest Lidl DC to date, providing 20 vehicles on the Northfleet, Kent site.
Milestone 19 – 2015
2015 saw a surprise victory for the incumbent PM David Cameron and the Conservative Party, £200m in jewels were stolen from a facility in Hatton Garden, London and Tim Peake became the first Briton to set foot on the International Space Centre.
For Corporate Solutions Logistics, 2015 was another year of growth as Sales Director, Mark Ponsonby, brought onboard another major customer, Vax. Operating from their purpose built Droitwich DC we navigated an August go live for distribution of palletised products in a challenging peak period. In October that year we commenced operations as Lidl’s DC in Enfield to take our fleet to 60 vehicles at the 6 centres.
Milestone 20 – 2016
2016 was dominated by the Brexit referendum and its aftermath, where vote leave succeeded. Labour MP Jo Cox was murdered after a constituency surgery and Theresa May replaced David Cameron following on from the referendum.
For Corporate Solutions Logistics, 2016 was a year of exciting growth, new Lidl DCs were established at Newton Aycliffe and the new facility at Southampton. We also brought onboard another new customer, Kronospan, whilst evolving our service offering to Smurfit Kappa. A new contract was agreed with Smurfit Kappa Paper UK and a dedicated fleet was implemented to service the M1 / M6 corridor.
20 Year Milestone – 2017
2017 has been a curious year, the Brexit process tortuously continuing to a backdrop of Donald Trump’s inauguration as US president and Hull seeing out the year as European Capital of Culture.
2017 has been a fittingly exciting year to mark Corporate Solutions Logistics’ 20 year anniversary. Major new operations at two brand new Lidl DCs, Wednesbury and Exeter have been navigated expertly by the implementations team. This increased our number of UK operating centres to 12 whilst we increased the fleet size to over 100 vehicles!