Busy season for Uni Baggage
Paul Stewart, managing director of Uni Baggage, is in the middle of his busy season as students pack up their bags and get ready for the start of term. NI Business Now caught up with him to talk about the business he started from scratch.
Describe your role:
My role is making sure the business runs smoothly and hits it’s targets. This involves a huge range of tasks from HR, marketing, accounting, business development and anything that lands on my desk!
What is the best part of your job?
I enjoy the varied nature of the job and the challenges it creates. I founded the business from scratch and I love watching it grow. It has expanded from a one man band, into a business with twelve staff, ships to over 200 countries worldwide and helps tens of thousands of students move to and from university each year.
What aspect of your job do you find the most challenging?
Expanding the business, it is the most exciting and most challenging role. I love working with my staff and outside agencies on how we can increase sales and bring in new business. We have being doubling sales each year since we started. As our business keeps expanding it means we are constantly looking down the line, when we need to recruit more staff and increase office space, this takes up a lot of time but it is very rewarding.
What are the key issues facing your sector at the moment?
We are under pressure to offer faster transit times and smaller delivery time slots, customers are no longer happy with a delivery date, they want a delivery time slot and this is something the whole industry has been working on over the past few years.
How is your organisation responding to these issues?
We offer next day delivery on most of our routes, alongside our economy services. The delivery time slots are a bit harder and we have been working with couriers to offer these to our customers. We currently offer a number of delivery updates via email and text message. We can inform the customer when their items have been collected, when they have been loaded to the van for delivery and if there are any issues with their shipments.
What is the biggest goal on your agenda for the year ahead?
To expand the business into more international markets, there is a huge number of international students in the UK and we intend to grow this side on the business exponentially over the next 12 months.
If you had to give one piece of business advice, what would it be?
Just do it, I have said this before but just get it started, research your market and find out what is the least amount of money required to get it off the ground. Plan out your first few years and then get on with it.
What work experience and qualifications helped you to get to your position?
I am a structural engineer graduate, and I had no experience in the logistics world before starting Uni Baggage. I founded a few small businesses before but had relativity little business experience, I learnt a lot from starting Uni Baggage as it was my own money on the line and the stakes were very real. When it is your money and you make mistakes you learn very fast.