The changing faces at SFS!

April 09, 2021  |   News

With the freight industry stretched over the past 12 months for many reasons, not only Covid, the addition of Brexit and the lack of knowledge of the new procedures, on the continent especially, has certainly challenged our team.

After a few changes in our business, Dave Scotcher retiring, Steph Ryves and Katie going on maternity (both we are happy to report have had their babies and doing well!), and Carol leaving for pastures new – plus a surge of economic confidence post Brexit and with the economy beginning to show signs of a kick start, it was important for us to act quickly.

With experienced personnel who were a fit for our family business not readily available, we decided to take a different approach, working with our partners SDW Recruitment and Totton College, to identify customer service and administrative talent who are looking for a new challenge.

In January we made the call… and we were delighted with the level of talent that applied. So, we decided to invest in our operation and offer employment to six wonderful individuals to join the family!

On our busy import department, we have two new starters.

Owen Frampton

Owen was keen to start a career in logistics and loved the concept of the industry but wanted to check us out before we could see his CV! That was a nice touch that we appreciated. His previous experience is customer facing, front of house, and a recent apprenticeship at Exxon Mobil. Very different to the industry he is now starting in! But with a keen attitude and sharp attire, Owen has settled in really well since joining the company on 22nd February, and already completing customs declarations in this post Brexit world!

Next, we have Rosie Arrow, who joined us on the 22nd March, bringing a wealth of administrative experience from gaining NVQ levels 3 & 4 in Business Administration on top of already excellent A level and GCSE grades. Rosie wanted to join the world of shipping and logistics, and we are thrilled to have another bright young talent to join the family, from previous work with Wightlink. Very focused, tuned in and a fast learner! Great attributes to join the world of freight forwarding!

Holly Welch

Holly Welch joined our sea and road export department on 26th February, after working with a cross channel ferry operator in Portsmouth. Previous to that, she worked as a retail manager onboard luxury cruise vessels for five years, gaining a wealth of experience in an industry that is also very dear to our hearts, and key to our business! Holly brings a clear grounding and experience in customer service, some impressive certifications and diplomas, and a really lovely warm personality – and a desire to learn a new industry on firm ground! We hope the model of the Queen Mary 2 in our boardroom will also remind her of some fantastic memories onboard the vessel whilst navigating the globe. Holly hit the ground running and is busily getting involved with everything from ice cream and cookie dough to customs clearances and navigating the tricky European road export in these post Brexit/current covid times. Holly was really delighted to join a family business… it certainly feels like we’re at sea sometimes in this industry, and this is one of the most challenging times to join, but now with covid restrictions lifting, we can show a little more of our family spirit throughout the coming months!

Continuing with our ‘marine’ theme … Vanessa Smith joined our air export and int’l courier department on 22nd March, bringing a real wealth of administrative and customer service experience over many years, always with an eye on the marine sector. From working for cruise lines, in the port with ABP and at the Harbour Master’s office, crew managers office, maritime and coastguard agency and most recently making cruise bookings for Norwegian Cruise Lines. With such a depth of administrative knowledge, and such varied experience, she was the perfect fit to join our busy air export & int’l courier team. After week one we had order new pads for note taking – always a good sign and a sign of experience! She also loved that we are a family business, and we are thrilled to have Vanessa as part of the team and also with her depth of love for the marine industry, and specifically cruising, it’s another string to our bow, as we hope it is for Vanessa.

And finally, but certainly not last … we have a new apprentice in the form of Callum Bulley, who also joined our air export and international courier department on 22nd February. Callum’s family have worked in the logistics industry, mostly air cargo, around the Heathrow area, and he was keen to get an opportunity to break into it too. Callum has a great attitude, picks up the new operation very quickly, and his energy to learn and develop is a great attribute to his positive personality. Previous experience was front of house customer service and customer facing, and also working in his family’s business, so we appealed also by being a family business with a good ethic and reputation. We’re thrilled to add Callum to an amazing line of apprentices that have been developed at SFS and look forward to watching him develop!

Rod Pumares

But we also say a farewell to Rodrigo Pumares (Rod), our smashing young Spanish lad, who joined us in January 2020, before all the craziness kicked off. Rod started work on our UK & Int’l Courier team, before moving across to the newly created Air Export & Int’l Courier department.

Moving from Spain at 20 years old, leaving behind his family, friends and even girlfriend to create his own path in the UK freight industry, he has been battling through the most unprecedented year we could possibly imagine. With Covid increasing again in Europe, and more travel restrictions coming into force, it’s a long time to be away from his family, friends etc, it doesn’t look promising on the travel side for a little while. With that in mind, Rod decided it is time to call time on his period working in the UK and return to be closer to his family.

At such a young age, to move to the UK and make your own path – just before a global pandemic hit – and to keep plugging away has shown great strength in character. This past year has been incredibly tough on all of us, and I think even more so being away from your homeland and personal comforts. We really wish Rod all the best very luck, love, and health for the future, and thank him for showing such professional conduct. Perhaps we will see him back here in the future, when all the craziness has ended! Thank you and good luck from the Ross, Chris and the SFS Family

Its certainly been a challenging time in our industry of late. As a company we are thrilled that we can attract great minds and personalities of all ages and back grounds, and our newest editions we hope will become part of the family furniture!

But we haven’t quite finished !

In January we also welcomed Iren Pilliny to our accounts team, working as a purchase ledger clerk to assist the busy department, especially with Katie heading off on maternity. Iren, originally from Hungary and moved here in 2016, brings a wealth of accounting experience and expertise with her, fulfilling financial controller and associated high level accounting roles in Hungary. In the UK, she was similarly worked in several different roles, for some interesting businesses including Just Eat (I think we are all familiar with their Snoop Dog affiliation during lockdown!!). Iren also has a bachelor’s degree in economics, AAT accounting level 2 and 3, and a wonderfully polite and warm demeanour. Fitting swiftly into the company Irene calmly and quietly ploughs through the reems of invoices we handle week to week and is using her vast experience to help us improve fluency and functionality of the department.

In our busy warehouse, we have taken on Richard Hickman, who was working through agency with us for several months, on a permanent basis from May, to continue our development of the warehouse capabilities, especially with the summer cruise ‘staycation’ coming into effect. With our direct cruise line accounts, and associated agency agreements with UK port agents and overseas partners, our cruise consolidation operation and last mile delivery is expected to grow dramatically as the industry looks at ‘project restart’. With his hard work over the past few months, learning our systems and embracing the company ethos, we are thrilled to offer Richard this opportunity, which we know he is chomping at the bit to get started on!

We feel its also important to note a big birthday in April 2021 …

‘Del Boy

The legend that is ‘Del Boy’ aka Derrick Etherden – who joined us when he was 65 years old, turned 75 in April, and is almost at the 10-year milestone with the company!

Still ‘doing the business’ for our import department, breaking down multi headed customs entries and helping train the new crop of talent, Del is a testament that age is no boundary! Legend doesn’t quite cover it.

Happy birthday Del from the SFS Family!

We certainly love positive changes here at SFS, and we accept and deal with the not so positive ones! But most importantly, our family remains strong, driven and ready for the challenges ahead! And we thank you for your support, and your time to read this update.

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