Lee Nichols of Bedfords Group
Lee Nichols of leading West Yorkshire logistics provider Bedfords Group catches up with BQ as part of our Meet the MD series to tell us more about his background in business and what his day-to-day job involves...
What does your role involve?
Bedfords Group is a business with excellent pedigree, and a mix of corporate and family value cultures. I am fortunate to work with and lead a team that are highly professional and capable within their key fields.
I have no routine in my days, managing change through evolution rather than revolution is one of my core beliefs.
Working in a sector which is heavily legislative, alongside normal company rules and requirements, presents challenges and I ensure that all aspects are robustly supported and achieved without compromise.
Our Customers are key to our success, a significant amount of my time is focused on both developing improvements with existing clients and fostering new opportunities.
What is it the company does?
The Bedfords Group is an established West Yorkshire based logistics provider delivering haulage and warehousing solutions. With operating centres located in Leeds and Milton Keynes we have a comprehensive range of skills and expertise within the logistics sector which enables us to deliver a customer driven service across the markets we operate in.
Bedfords have established themselves as a first class supplier of inventive, cost effective solutions that offer levels of service and reliability that few can match. We are a privately owned business and as such our client relationships are always personal whether we are working with small to medium sized businesses or international customers.
The Bedfords Group philosophy is straightforward; we are committed to providing the highest standards of service, flexibility, transparency and commitment throughout all our solutions and services, for every client, regardless of size or location.
Bedfords Group is successful across various market sectors by providing innovative sector-specific, added value operations.
Our qualitative solutions already benefit a number of our clients operating in the printed media, packaging, retail, construction, horticultural and manufacturing sectors.
Where did you start your career?
At the bottom!
I started my career as a Timber Yard Operator at Magnet Joinery after leaving school and whilst waiting to join the Army. After working with Magnet I enjoyed the role and variety it offered, as such never pursued my initial aim of joining the REME.
I elected to go back to night school and studied Business and Finance at Bradford College for two years followed by a further three years at night school studying for my professional qualifications as a Chartered Member Of The Institute Of Purchasing & Supply.
In the interim periods I was fortunate enough to be given opportunities which resulted in career progression and broadening of my core skill sets as well as business sector experience.
Give us a brief timeline of your career so far.
Magnet Joinery Limited
Grattan Mail Order
HJ Heinz Limited
Corners Direct Print Solutions
Polestar UK Print Limited
What do you believe makes a great leader?
Open, honest, transparent and approachable at all times, allowing people the time and attention they deserve, as I believe they are a business’ key asset.
To be consistent in your approach and demeanour and have a passion for what you do each day. As well as challenging yourself daily.
What has been your biggest challenge in your current position?
The Group has undergone significant changes over the last year in particular, recovering from the impact of these changes and forging a clear plan for the short to medium term has been essential.
Getting the business to a position where it can grow in a phased and measured manner was essential.
I believe in giving people ownership, accountability and responsibility for actions, learning from inevitable mistakes that this strategy brings about is challenging, but equally rewarding as this encourages change.
How do you alleviate the stress that comes with your job?
I enjoy being outside especially hill walking and Mountain Biking, I run (well that's what I claim it is but perhaps more like a slow jog!) 4 times a week regardless of weather.
Spending time with family including my over enthusiastic Cocker Spaniel!
When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I had little idea of what wanted to do when I left school, as such I opted for joining the Army, undertaking initial assessments for the REME.
Any pet hates in the workplace?
Rather than pet hates I would describe them as mild frustrations, lethargy and complacency have no place in a forward thinking business and I actively encourage our teams to challenge “what they believe to be true”.
I like to encourage all employees to take a helicopter view of their roles and responsibilities and how the bigger picture can be improved by looking broader.
• Where do you see the company in five years time?
Bedfords Group will continue to re position itself within its sector, developing its growing general haulage sector, growth will be both organic and through acquisition should the right opportunity present itself.