Diamond Distribution MD leads the way to National Award


What’s the problem?

Initially published in 2001, the Skills Gap Report which was published in partnership with Deloitte was a study which indicated a mismatch between the skills of available working people and the skills that the manufacturing industry required. The reports that followed confirmed that gap and showed an increasing mismatch of skills.

The shortage of senior, highly-skilled engineers across the board in the UK has been highlighted by figures released in the latest manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) which has now reached its lowest level in more than three years, following the EU referendum.

Keely Priestman MD Diamond Distribution
Keely Priestman MD Diamond Distribution

To understand the skills gap, we have to understand how the public understands manufacturing. Many people still see manufacturing as a dark, dirty and even dangerous industry.

Most students at secondary school level recognise that science & maths subjects could be useful for getting a good job. However, far fewer feel such jobs are attainable or relevant to them. To add to the problem, the profile of those who do go on to study particular Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) subjects and pursue certain STEM careers is too narrow. Women, working class and some minority ethnic groups remain under-represented in some disciplines and occupations, particularly in engineering. This not only means a pool of potential talent is being lost, but that those industries are missing out on the many benefits of a more diverse workforce.

Studies show that these groups tend to have limited exposure to the world of STEM, which those with high levels of exposure generally gaining this through family members’ qualifications, occupations and interests. The greater the level of exposure to STEM, the more likely a student is to study STEM subjects post-16 years of age.

Putting emphasis on the relevant technical skills

STEM subjects are hugely important; however, much of the current technology curriculum for university and college education doesn’t place enough emphasis on the relevant technical skills needed in today’s manufacturing businesses either. The challenge is that new technologies are emerging at an unprecedented pace and the education system is struggling to keep up with it. Often college and university curriculums are running out of date courses and subsequently graduates leave with outdated skills impacting their employability.

If a new technology does emerge, it can take 6-18 months for this to get onto a curriculum aligned to exams by which time the technology landscape will have moved on again. There is clearly a lack of synchronised technical skills training at college and university level which is struggling to keep pace with the accelerated technology change in industry.

Traditionally working in manufacturing meant manual jobs needing vocational skills and on-the-job training through apprenticeships. Over time, industrial engineers and IT professionals have become in demand as manufacturing has become more automated.

Collaborative manufacturing is creating a greater need for up-to-date IT and technical skills. Employers are needing to upskill both entry level candidates as well as existing staff with advanced skills.

Upholding our position as a leading engineering nation

A strong British engineering sector is vital to the long term sustainability of our economic recovery, and increasing the supply of engineers is at the heart of this. As a country we excel in hi-tech industries but we need engineers to make sure the UK stays ahead of our competitors. The rest of the world is not stagnant, so we must do everything we can to uphold our position as a leading engineering nation. The Government’s Engineering UK report finds that engineering businesses have the potential to contribute an extra £27 billion to the UK economy every year from 2022 if we can meet the demand for a quarter of a million new vacancies in the same timeframe.

Businesses and government bodies are already working hard to attract and retain talent within their workforce, but there is always more that can be done to improve the image of the UK’s manufacturing sector and promote the benefits of pursuing a career in this area. With the decision to leave the EU causing increased uncertainty, business and the Government must act quickly in order to keep the UK and the sector an attractive employment option.

Using technology to bridge the skills AND generation gap

To bridge the skills gap, there is a trend for companies to recruit new staff with 50-60 percent of the skills required, as they are unable to find workers with all of the skills required. Employers are bringing these staff into their business with base-level skills and then providing comprehensive training to bring them up to the required level.

At the other end of the spectrum, highly experienced senior managers over 40 years old within the industry, have an immense amount of knowledge to pass on, but can be reluctant to change and be less patient with new technology.

Modern technology helps recruit and retain new workers, propelling manufacturing to a new era of innovation. The right technology allows multiple generations of workers to “meet in the middle” and support manufacturing’s transition. As an example, modern enterprise resource planning (ERP) & product lifecycle management (PLM) solutions reinforce the traditional best practices, as well as meet expectations of younger generation users who can get up to speed quickly on best practices and easily obtain critical historical data for reference and training. Employees of all ages have the opportunity to share knowledge with new recruits through the use of collaborative tools.

Continuing to engage with educational establishments

The skills gap is most noticeable in the STEM sector, however it is important not to solely focus on this area. The requirement for a flow of highly talented, creative and original workers into the UK holds the key for the future development of companies across the spectrum.

As employers, we must take steps to narrow the skills gap now. This comprises of ensuring existing employees are up-skilled and being committed to finding new talent, both of which will help future proof businesses.

Many manufacturers are making great effort to engage with educational establishments, from primary to university level, which is already leading to greater enthusiasm for manufacturing & engineering amongst young people. Additionally, apprenticeships can play a key role in creating a more prepared and qualified workforce, benefitting both the individual and the employer.

Apprenticeships play a role in preparing skilled workers

Apprenticeships can certainly play a huge role in preparing skilled workers whilst offering employers the opportunity to strengthen and diversify their workforce providing a future talent pipeline tailored to the individual business needs.

Apprenticeships offer substantial training and the development of transferable skills. Most training is on-the-job working with a mentor, to learn job specific skills in the workplace. This means that technical skills vital to business performance and growth are gained and strengthened, helping to develop our industry as a whole. Apprenticeships bring opportunity; to attract new talent, offer progression and develop a motivated, skilled and qualified workforce.

Moving towards employer led standards

In April 2017, a new levy will require all companies that operate within England to pay 0.5% of their payroll towards funding apprenticeships. There is an allowance of £15,000 therefore in reality only companies with an annualised payroll of more than £3M will pay the levy.

The levy will support the existing frameworks as they move towards the employer led standards. Current frameworks are currently being phased out and are expected to be removed completely by 2020.

To formulate a new Apprenticeship Standard requires 10 companies to design and submit the standard. Only when this has been approved, can it proceed. This standard can then be used by the company who submitted it, as well as every other companies in the UK. The overall idea being that the levy will support the Government's commitment to improving productivity by increasing the quantity and quality of apprenticeships.

Employers need to take a leap of faith and make the extra investment on supporting new applicants, so they can deliver the skills needed for the business and industry in the long term. The levy could be very powerful for closing the skills gap in the manufacturing industry. Some of the investment is a sunk cost which lowers the threshold for making the business case weigh up to recruit apprentices.

The Apprenticeship Levy will not solve all of our skills problems, but a supply of thousands of skilled apprentices every year will make a positive difference. The levy will most definitely help to transform the skills landscape in the UK manufacturing industry.

Making career choices within the sector more inviting

A positive image of the sector portrayed by the media is vital. Helping to change historic perceptions of the industry will make career choices within the sector more inviting.

In order to accelerate the narrowing of the skills gap, the Government now needs to help businesses by promoting employment on every level. The decision to leave the EU without doubt poses a serious problem for talent acquisition as many businesses source much-needed talent from the EU. Adapting to marketplace changes as and when new agreements are made will be needed to overcome the ramifications of the Brexit vote.

Continued improvement in the co-ordination, quality, reach and impact of engineering outreach activity by the whole engineering community, business and industry is essential. Building on existing programmes is necessary to positively influence the perceptions and subject choices of young people and get more of them interested in a career in engineering.

Education programmes such as Tomorrow’s Engineers have made it clear that this is best achieved through collaboration and support from local, regional and national STEM employers. Government, working in partnership with business, the education sector and the engineering community, needs to ensure the provision of a national coordinated employer – led, informed and relevant approach to careers inspiration in educational establishments.

Meeting the forecasted demand

It is not unreasonable then, to think that every child should have an engineering experience that is linked to careers and the curriculum, with all schools and colleges being held to account through their relevant inspection authority. This should in turn help us achieve the latest Government target of a two-fold increase in the number of Advanced Apprenticeship achievements in engineering and manufacturing technology, which will be fundamental in us meeting the forecasted demand for skilled engineers by 2022.


Jess Penny

General Manager, Penny Hydraulics Ltd


01246 811475


Leading agricultural fertiliser producer, CF Fertilisers UK, has opted to switch its tire policy to Continental Tires for the heavy-duty forklifts and on-site trailers at its Cheshire headquarters and manufacturing site.

The company runs a fleet of 14 heavy-duty Kalmar DCE 10 forklifts and some 12 two-axle A-frame trailers at its Ince plant. These tackle the heavy-lifting and movement of 600kg and 1000kg bags of fertiliser from the point of production to storage and despatch facilities elsewhere on site. The site itself, at Ince in Cheshire, sits on 124 acres of land next to the Manchester Ship Canal and includes one Ammonia and three 3 Nitric Acid plants, a further Nitrogen fertiliser plant and 3 compound lines. With approximately 400 employees on site, CF Fertilisers produces 1 million tonnes of fertiliser a year and supplies key market sectors in grass and arable farming. So intensive is the process, its continuous production lines at Ince, and sister site in Billingham in the northeast, account for some 2% annually of the nation’s natural gas usage.

Anthony Jones, Day Handling Team Leader, explained the change in tire policy. “You have to understand that the site is very demanding on tires. Though it is largely flat land, like any major site there is a degree of unevenness at points around the working area that test the wear patterns and life of tires, but our main concern lies in safety-challenges emanating from tire wear. Our Kalmar fork-lifts can pick up four 1000kg bags of fertiliser at one time, and, because they are suspended on straps, each load is effectively ‘live’ in terms of the danger of swinging during transit; while our trailers, which we run as pairs at all times, can also carry that much each.

Because of the nature of the site, safety is a major everyday consideration, and that works right through everything we do. Handling and moving loads with this sort of weight, 24/7, is a key part of the inherent risk on the site, so we take it very seriously indeed.”

The company first looked at Continental Tires in late 2015, and a trial was initiated that was due to run for a full six months. Continental Tires along with local dealer, Nation Tires, offered to set up the trial on both fork-lifts and trailers.

Anthony Jones recalls, “We decided to give ‘Conti’ a chance. We felt the tires we had been using were being changed far too often – so something had to give. We liked the ideas the Continental team put forward and the confidence they had that they could improve on both safety and economy; and we especially liked the fact that they had a very competent and professional local dealer, Nation Tires, the Continental Tires Industrial network partner at Ellesmere Port. A blow-out on a tire, quite apart from the huge safety risk, can also have a very damaging commercial effect on us. We run 24/7, 365 days a year, and if a forklift or pair of trailers is unavailable to us, we soon see back-logs of product needing to be cleared from the end of the production line and moved to storage areas. We produce some 21 different varieties of fertiliser, including our top-selling Nitram brand, and that’s over 1 million tonnes a year: a continuous process that simply cannot be put at risk.”

The initial trial was scheduled for six months, but the immediate improvement was so noticeable that, within just three months, the decision was made to switch the whole fleet to Continental Tires products. The big, heavy-duty Kalmar forklifts feature six tires on two axles. Again, for safety reasons, CF Fertilisers decided to go for the heavy duty pneumatic tires, ContiRT20 11.00 x 20s, but also to inject them with foam. ”Continental said we’d get 12 months wear out of these,” says Jones, “but nine months into their usage, we are still only 50% worn and looking good. It is great economically, in terms of purchase price and saved downtime, and a real bonus from the safety angle. The trucks have special rising cabs in order to be able to deal with the work, and a tire blowing out on a heavily laden truck with the cab raised to its full 10 foot extension could cause it to tip over- and that’s simply unthinkable!”

The onsite trailers used to move bagged products from production into storage areas are two-axle A-frame draw bar units, hitched in pairs and pulled behind agricultural tractors as prime movers. The major problem, again, was too-frequent changes due to wear. Anthony Jones adds, “There was also a major safety risk here. The tires were wearing, and the most worrying part was that it was the sidewalls that were exhibiting most stress, so a blow-out was a constant threat.” The trailers have standard draw-bar configuration of steering front axle and rear fixed axle, both with twin tire hubs. As with the fork-lifts, Continental tires, in this case Continental IC40 10 x 20s, are delivering longer wear times and enhanced safety.

Nation Tires, the local dealer to CF Fertilisers, had a major part to play in the success of the Continental Tires trial and take-up. Managing director, Tony Glennon, said, “For a site this size, with the variety and significance of the vehicles we are talking about here, having a local dealership of our size and capability was an important part of reassuring CF Fertilisers in their switch to Continental Tires. We understood their need for a genuine 24/7/365 support service and were both prepared and able to bring this to the mix, with 17 staff and nine mobile site-service vehicles. They demand a 60-90 minute callout response in the event of a tire needing any sort of attention, and we deliver.”

Anthony Jones has the last word, saying, “No new relationship is going to be entirely free of teething problems, but with Continental and Nation Tires I think we have got as close to a problem-free start as anyone could have wished. I now feel we have a superior level of site safety because of the switch, and the fact that the company is saving money, by getting far fewer tire failures and significantly longer tire life, is an added bonus.”

The latest Continental Customer testimonial video is available via ContinentalTiresTV: https://youtu.be/qIn3Qtsto70





Barton Fabrications, the UK’s largest manufacturer of aluminium storage silos, has achieved accreditation to CE mark its vessels to EN 1090: this ensures compliance with the latest Construction Products Regulations. The standard gives customers the confidence that the silos, pipework, gantries and ladders supplied by Barton, which are all considered structural products, have traceability and conform to mandatory structural requirements.

Commenting on the accreditation Mark Barton, Managing Director and owner of Barton Fabrications said:

“We are delighted to receive the accreditation as this recognises the high level of design, procurement, manufacturing and quality control standards we adopt. We have further enhanced our processes as part of the accreditation assessment – this has included using coded welders for all structural components and improving our job card system.

“Buyers have a responsibility to ensure that the structural products they procure from their suppliers meet all relevant standards and the CE Marked certification we issue with every silo gives buyers the confidence that they have minimised procurement risk”

The now mandatory Construction Products Regulations replace the Construction Products Directive and dictate that any steel or aluminium construction product, which includes silos, are CE Marked to the harmonised European Standard EN 1090. Barton supply full CE documentation electronically following installation of any silo or other structural component supplied.

For more details on Barton Fabrications’ silo solutions, contact Mark Barton:-

Tel: +44 (0) 1275 845901

E-mail: sales@bartonfabs.co.uk Web: www.bartonfabs.co.uk

Terex Trucks will exhibit the old and the new at Hillhead 2018 with its Gen10 TA300 and its R17 hauler – which dates back more than 40 years.

Terex Trucks is set to return to Hillhead once again – this time, to showcase the latest TA300 alongside the vintage R17 hauler. “We are excited to be at Hillhead this year, it’ll be a good opportunity to show customers what the Terex Trucks brand is all about,” says Paul Douglas, Managing Director of Terex Trucks. “Having the R17 on our stand gives visitors a rare opportunity to take a glimpse into the history of hauling. Terex Trucks’ heritage can be traced back to 1934 when the world’s first off-road dump truck was created. It’s not often that you get to see a 40-year-old truck that’s still in working condition; we hope this highlights the level of quality we build into our machines. Of course, our current machine, the TA300 articulated hauler, will take pride of place too and shows that we remain committed to creating quality trucks that are built to last.”

A strong partnership

Occupying stand N14, Terex Trucks will be joined by its official UK dealer, TDL Equipment, which will be located on stand A7.

“Since the very beginning, TDL’s ethos has been to provide local support on a national basis – and that’s something we still strive towards today,” says John Black, Sales Director at TDL Equipment. “This, together with our partnership with Terex Trucks, means that we are able to offer haulers to our customers that help them to provide an enhanced level of service to their own customers.”

With 476 exhibitors and 18,601 visitors from 71 countries, the 2016 Hillhead show was quite literally record-breaking – and the 2018 show is set to be even bigger. It will take place from June 26th - 28th at Tarmac’s Hillhead Quarry near Buxton, Derbyshire.

The old and the new

Based in Scotland, Terex Trucks has been building robust haulers at its Motherwell site since 1950. Taking pride of place on the Terex Trucks stand will be the new TA300 articulated hauler and the R17, which dates back to the early 1970s. Achieving a payload of 28 tonnes (30.9 tons) and powered by a five-cylinder Scania DC9 EU Stage IV compliant engine, the TA300 hauler is designed to withstand the toughest conditions at quarries, infrastructure developments and commercial projects. With a maximum torque of 1,880 Nm, the machine has great traction and an effective power-to-weight ratio to ensure material is moved quickly and cost-effectively across all kinds of terrain and in any type of weather. Additionally, the machine features an ergonomically designed cab, complete with plenty of space and a commanding view for maximum operator comfort.

More than 40 years old, the R17 13.5 tonnes (14.9 tons) hauler represents the history of Terex Trucks. Originally, the engine was manufactured in Cumbernauld and the machine itself was built in Motherwell. A team of apprentices have been working hard at the Motherwell factory to restore the machine back to its original glory. With the work now complete on the truck, visitors at Hillhead will be able to appreciate the historic craftsmanship of the R17 for themselves, from the simple yet effective operating system to original features such as the driver’s seat and engine.

Street Crane has announced that Andrew Pimblett is stepping down as managing director after 49 years with the business, 38 of which he served as a board member. His successor is Gus Zona, who has worked for Street in the roles of both sales director and operations director.

Andrew, who has been managing director for 28 years, has spent his whole career with Street Crane. He joined the company as a technical apprentice in 1969 and quickly worked his way up the ranks. He was made sales director in 1980 before being appointed deputy managing director and then managing director in 1990.

Throughout this time, Andrew has not only been instrumental in transforming Street from a local crane fabricator into the UK’s largest crane and hoist manufacturer but establishing the company as a leading supplier of hoists and components to other crane manufacturers worldwide.

Andrew and his team has consistently grown Street’s UK crane manufacturing operation in a period which has seen a sharp decline in crane purchases from British manufacturers and competitors go out of business. From a standing start, he led the company into the global hoist and crane components business, which is now the larger part of Street.

He said: “When I joined Street it was a very small company which manufactured custom-made cranes predominately for the Sheffield steel industry. It was always my ambition that one day we’d be able to compete with the big names in the pre-engineered volume crane and component sector, but most people told me that would never happen.

“To have proved them wrong is very satisfying. Street has grown and evolved rapidly, achieving phenomenal success driven primarily by our commitment to investing in product development and innovation.

“We now have a vast engineering team, including many experienced designers as well as a large number of younger graduates, all of whom are focused on designing new products. This has helped us to create one of the biggest ranges of cranes and components in the world, which we sell to more than 100 distributors globally and to end users in a vast number of sectors in the UK.

“I’m incredibly proud of these achievements and of all the people at Street which have been instrumental in this success.

“Being Street’s managing director is however, a very demanding job that takes you all over the world, so I feel the time is right to pass the baton. I have no doubt that Gus is the perfect person for this job. His appointment is a result of a long-standing succession plan and I wish him every success.”

Gus is an experienced and long-serving member of the Street team having joined the company in 1988. He worked initially in production control and purchasing before serving two terms on the board firstly as sales director and latterly as operations director. In between these two roles at Street, Gus was managing director at Lloyds British Testing.

Gus added: “It’s going to be a challenge stepping into Andrew’s shoes but I’m looking forward to taking on this new role and building on Street’s achievements.

“There is a huge opportunity to grow the business even further by expanding our distributor network and continuing to bring technologically-advanced products to the market. This will include cranes that self-monitor safety, servicing and maintenance and will have a huge impact on the sector. With our R&D and engineering capabilities, our aim is to be at the forefront of these digital developments.”

Andrew will remain at Street Crane as a non-executive director advising on strategic matters and working three days per week.


The British Safety Council has appointed Paul Fakley as Engagement Director. This is a new post in the organisation. Paul joins the charity and membership body from Travel and General Insurance Services (which included the Association of Bonded Travel Organisers Trust), where he was Sales and Marketing Director. Prior to this he was Group Marketing & Business Development Director for Circle Housing.

At the same time, the British Safety Council has appointed Dave Parr as Policy and Technical Director. Dave Parr has been heading Audit and Technical Services at the organisation for the last six years and has worked for BSC since 2005 in various roles including auditor, NVQ Manager and Product Development and Delivery Manager.

Paul brings with him 26 years of marketing and business development experience gained in B2B and consumer-focused roles. He spent a significant part of his career in the insurance industry, heading up marketing for brands such as Direct Line and Churchill.

Commenting on his appointment, Paul Fakley said: “The British Safety Council has been the beating heart of health and safety in the UK for more than 60 years. It is with great pleasure that I join the organisation at such an important time. Workplaces around the world are changing dramatically and the role of the British Safety Council needs to evolve to meet those needs and keep workers free from injury and illness. I look forward to working with the senior management team, trustees and broader business to build on recent initiatives and reaffirm the British Safety Council’s position as the leading voice in health and safety.”

Dave Parr said: “I am looking forward to the challenge of ensuring that the British Safety Council remains a leading voice on health, safety and wellbeing issues. Its strong corporate membership base, both within the UK and internationally, gives the organisation a unique position of influence to ensure that the welfare and safety of workers are the primary factors in business planning and regulatory change. I would like the British Safety Council to use that leverage to help all workplaces to continually improve.”

These two appointments have been made following the resignation of Louise Ward, Policy Standards and Communications Director, who for the past two years has been the driving force behind policy and engagement activity at the British Safety Council. Louise will be returning to the industry, taking up a new role in environment, health and safety.


Just three weeks after the unveiling of Volvo Trucks’ first all-electric truck, the Volvo FL Electric, the company is expanding its product range with yet another electric truck - the Volvo FE Electric. Designed for heavier city distribution and refuse transport operations with gross weights of up to 27 tonnes, sales of the new vehicle will commence in Europe in 2019.

“With the introduction of the Volvo FE Electric we have a comprehensive range of electrically powered trucks for city operations and are taking yet another strategic step forward in the development of our total offer in electrified transport solutions. This opens the door to new forms of co-operation with cities that target to improve air quality, reduce traffic noise, and cut congestion during peak hours since commercial operations can instead be carried out quietly and without tale-pipe exhaust emissions early in the morning or late at night,” says Claes Nilsson, President Volvo Trucks.

The first Volvo FE Electric, a refuse truck with a superstructure developed together with Europe's largest truck bodybuilder, Faun, will start operating in early 2019 in Germany’s second-largest city, Hamburg.

“Hamburg, which was named European Green Capital of the EU in 2011, has worked long and successfully on a broad front to enhance green and sustainable urban development. This applies not least in the transport sector, where electrified buses from Volvo are already being used in the public transport network. The experiences and ambitions from this venture make Hamburg a highly interesting partner for us,” says Jonas Odermalm, Product Line Vice President for the Volvo FL and Volvo FE at Volvo Trucks.

Prof. Dr. Rüdiger Siechau, CEO of Stadtreinigung Hamburg, sees large potential for environmental benefits with electric trucks in the city. “Today, each of our 300 conventional refuse vehicles emits approximately 31.300 kgs carbon dioxide every year. An electrically-powered refuse truck with battery that stands a full shift of eight to ten hours is a breakthrough in technology. Another benefit is the fact that Stadtreinigung Hamburg generates climate-neutral electricity that can be used to charge the batteries.”

The new Volvo FE Electric will be offered in several variants for different types of transport assignment. For instance with Volvo’s low-entry cab, which makes it easier to enter and exit the cab and gives the driver a commanding view of surrounding traffic. The working environment improves too as a result of the low noise level and vibration-free operation. Battery capacity can be optimised to suit individual needs and charging takes place either via the mains or via quick-charge stations.

“Our solutions for electrified transport are designed to suit the specific needs of each customer and each city. In addition to the vehicles, we will offer everything from route analysis to services and financing via our network of dealers and workshops throughout Europe. We also have close partnerships with suppliers of charging infrastructure,” says Jonas Odermalm.

Croydon-based haulage provider, Diamond Distribution, is celebrating after the company’s managing director scooped an award at the recent 2018 Everywoman in Transport & Logistics Awards, which was supported by the Freight Transport Association.

Keely Priestman, who received the Leader in the Freight Industry Award, has been in the logistics industry for 14 years, starting her career as a PA. She established Diamond Distribution, which is a member of Palletways, the Europe’s largest and fastest growing express palletised freight network, in 2013 and the business now has 22 members of staff and 18 vehicles under her leadership.

Everywoman runs a portfolio of high profile awards programmes that celebrate the achievements of women across a diverse range of sectors and industries. This latest award is a major coup for Keely and the Diamond team, and the business aims to continually provide opportunities for women in haulage. While women account for just 8% of the haulage industry, the team at Diamond Distribution is one third female. In addition to this, all of the senior management roles at the company are currently held by women.

Keely, who was presented with the prestigious award at last week’s ceremony in London, said: “I’m absolutely thrilled to have won this award and would like to congratulate all of the other winners and nominees on their achievements this year. To be recognised as leading the way for women in logistics is a great honour and it’s great to see other hardworking women getting the recognition they so rightly deserve in a male-dominated industry.

“Since establishing Diamond Distribution just over five years ago, I’ve worked with some fabulous people and I’d like to thank them all for their ongoing support. I couldn’t have won this award without my Diamond team and it’s not only a reflection of me, but also recognition of their hard work and success.”

Palletways Network Development Director, Barry Byers, added: “Keely has made a conscious effort to provide opportunities for women in the logistics industry and we’re delighted that she’s been officially recognised for her continued excellence as a leader. She is a true role model for women looking to join the industry and we’re sure this is the first of many awards that she’ll receive.

“Diamond Distribution continues to make a significant contribution to the strength of the network and sets an excellent example to other members and businesses across the industry. Palletways is a people-based business and we’re delighted that the Diamond team is part of our family. We’re glad to be a part of their success story and look forward to celebrating their next award again soon.”

The company, which offers palletised freight, dedicated loads and storage facilities, covers the CR, SM, RH and TN postcode areas and has a wide range of customers from tile manufacturers to beauty product wholesalers. Diamond Distribution is a regular ‘Palletways Platinum Club’ member in recognition of its first-class customer service and was a finalist for ‘Best SME’ at last year’s Croydon Awards, where Keely was also a finalist in the ‘Women in Business’ category.

Diamond Distribution is one of over 114 independent transport providers that are part of the Palletways UK network. They benefit from shared expertise and resources from within the group to deliver consignments of palletised freight to market faster and more cost effectively than ever before. The Palletways Group comprises 450+ depots and 20 hub operations, through which it provides collection and distribution services across 20 European countries, including the UK.