Baxter Freight: Peter Isler

The MD of the fast-growth logistics start-up explains how its offering is turning the freight industry "on its head"...

Name:  Peter Isler
Company Name: Baxter Freight
Staff numbers:  41
Location:  East Midlands
Date Launched:  13/1/14
Website: www.baxterfreight.com

Tell us what your business does:

We use our knowledge and expertise of the freight industry to source the best freight solutions in the market for our customers.

Where did the idea for your business come from?

Quite simply, we know the freight industry inside out– through our experience. When we thought about setting up a new business within the sector, we asked ourselves “what can we do to make ourselves different?” In the UK, there seemed to be a gap for a logistics company that could truly understand each customer’s needs and connect them with the right freight solution, enabling the best possible value for the client. So this was our starting point.

How did you know there was a market for it?

Having worked within the freight and logistics industry for more than 30 years, we had an advantage in starting a business with an existing wealth of industry experience, knowledge and contacts. We turned the industry model of own assets on its head by removing the need for heavy investment in vehicles and created a business that could offer clients the best solutions for their freight requirements by using the very best third party solutions. We felt taking this approach would offer real value to our clients and set us apart as a logistics solutions provider of choice.

What were you doing before starting up?

Prior to Baxter Freight, I was UK sales director at Kuehne + Nagel following the company purchase of RH Freight in 2011 where I had worked as sales director for over 17 years. Throughout this time, I built a close working relationship with Ian Baxter, who was managing director and co-owner up until the point of sale. When Ian asked me to join him in the launch of Baxter Freight, I was excited by the challenge and to work inside a business that I felt would be a real industry game changer. Whilst I’ve worked in the freight industry for many years, it feels extremely refreshing and rewarding to be part of a new company which genuinely has the customers’ needs at the heart of its business model.

Have you always wanted to run your own business?

It was never a burning ambition to be an owner manager and I consider myself very fortunate to be in the position I am, working in a fantastic business with a great team of people. I really believe we are creating a logistics enterprise that will redefine the industry and deliver an unparalleled quality of service. Already this year we have grown rapidly and have ambitious short, medium and long-term targets. I firmly believe in the philosophy and values of Baxter Freight.

How did you raise the money?

We have been financed by private capital. We have no need for bank debt.

Describe your business model and how you make money:

Our model is marketing and sourcing freight solutions, whilst adding exceptional value and customer service to the process, based on our knowledge and experience. We develop relationships with different suppliers assessing each one’s strengths then using our experience to offer the best solution for each customer’s individual requirements, giving them a single point of contact within the Baxter Freight team.

What challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?

The biggest challenge has been recruiting employees to take up roles as account managers. Training and developing them from scratch can be challenging but very rewarding. Today, we can proudly say that we have 30 expertly trained account managers, with this number continuing to grow.

What was your first big breakthrough?

In a short period of time, we have already hit some important milestones, including finding fantastic premises for the business, giving career opportunities to over 40 people (a third of whom are under the age of 25). In just two months active selling we have established over 100 clients.

What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?

My advice would be constantly challenge your plans and don’t be afraid to change direction if a better course of action presents itself; it’s ok to be wrong as long as you can learn from the experience.

Where do you want to be in five years’ time?

Our next target is to have employed 100 members in our team by mid-2015. The most important thing for us as a business, like any other business, is to be successful in hitting our financial targets. Developing our client base, establishing a strong reputation and having a happy work force would also make the next five years a great success for Baxter Freight.

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