Team Sky launched in 2010 with the ambition of winning the Tour de France with a British rider within five years. Under the guidance of performance director Dave Brailsford they managed it not just once, but twice in four years with Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome.
Dave Brailsford has said in the past: “Sport is about continuous improvement, it’s about getting better. It’s about being better next year than you are this year. It’s a bit like Formula One. You have a car and the designers might say ‘we can’t think how we’re going to make this any better’. But ultimately you can.”
As a former competitive racing cyclist who admires Dave Brailsford and his philosophy, Ian is applying a similarly successful mentality to his PD Portcentric Logistics operation.
“Team Sky’s focus was always about reduction, they always looked at every aspect of a bike as well as what a rider wears, the helmet, shoes and shorts, everything was looked at in microscopic detail to make them faster,” Ian explained.
“Everything was analysed and reviewed, that’s what made the team so strong and that’s one of the main reasons why we at PD Portcentric Logistics are so strong too.
“We are in a very competitive market and the byword in what we do is “quality”. By streamlining their logistics we reduce customers’ costs,” said Ian who ran Ikea’s UK distribution centre before joining PD Ports four years ago.
“My ethos is we do it right first time, that means a manager is not spending time discussing where things have gone wrong but is looking at how we can drive improvements through on safety, efficiencies and quality rather than dealing with customer non-conformances.
“This has made us efficient and profitable, for example with KP we have not had a single error over the past six months – that’s about 260,000 correct moves.”
Employees have had to buy into the concept of what Ian was trying to achieve - customer accounts are run as individual businesses within the business itself without staff being micro-managed from above – and have enjoyed the additional responsibility.
As well as looking after Billingham and Teesport sites, he is also in charge of portcentric warehousing at Felixstowe and Swadlincote in South Derbyshire which he visits regularly.
Two years ago when he turned 50, Ian decided to take up cycling more seriously again and, along with skiing and canoeing with his family, he can be found roaming the countryside on two wheels most Sundays clocking up 50 miles on his racing bike.
“It’s a big stress reliever and I use it as my pondering time to think through any issues at work. I definitely feel better for it.”