As Johnson Partners celebrates its 10th anniversary, Managing Director, Bernie Johnson, reflects on the last 10 years in business.
After spending a large part of my career working for large forwarding organisations, I started the company in 2004 with two full time employees (and no clients). I knew that we could not compete with volume shippers but passionately believed that we could offer something different – namely, a more personal service to clients.
Up until 2008 the company grew steadily and had seven employees before the recession hit and we were forced to take a step back. Nevertheless we regrouped and secured the first big project for two vessels being built by MPI Offshore in China. This would prove to play a big role in the next three years as we were successful in being appointed as the sole project forwarder.
In 2011, a highlight proved to be our role in managing suppliers and shipping for over 40 shipments (in French) for a power plant in Madagascar. We also moved into the rail sector, working with Progress Rail in the USA and this continues to be a key sector for us.
Up until this point, most of our business had come from my own contacts that knew and trusted us to do a good job for them (which we did). With ambitions to grow further we needed to find new clients and moved Beki Blenkinsop into a sales development role. In the first month she brought in her first new customers and made a contribution of around 10% of sales for the month, so it was an easy decision to continue this approach.
Over the last two years we have brought over 100 new clients on board. We have updated our operating procedures and systems, and recently undertook a review of the company image which led to a rebrand and new company website. Johnson Partners is sitting on firm foundations but we know we cannot rest on our laurels and must continue to improve the way we do business.
As I come to the end of my career and I step back from full time day to day operations I have total faith in Paul and the team to take the business further. Our ethos remains as it has always been: we never say no to a challenge and we provide competitive, personal service.
Thank you for your support.