Ace Express Freight have been very aware of the need to constantly review our strategic goals and plans and build on our culture of continuous improvement. The objective is to ensure that each and every part of the company is aligned in its endeavors to achieve an excellent level of quality and service for our customers. Our success has been built on 6 KPI Pillars, recent innovations within each of the pillars include:
Safety: Staff right across the company are being trained to very high levels in different aspects of Health & Safety and we have hired a dedicated full-time Health & Safety Officer. Daily meetings take place on the warehouse floor to discuss areas for improvement in health & safety. Our H&S Committee meets on a weekly basis and H&S is on the agenda at all weekly tiered management meetings. One key initiative is the introduction of the iAuditor app which provides an electronic checklist to identify potential safety hazards, allowing immediate resolutions of possible safety issues. iAuditor is a paperless system that collects safety information from all over the business and facilitates weekly H&S audits.
Quality: The company operates to ISO 9001 standards and we have recruited a Dedicated Compliance Management Officer. We have also implemented a dedicated system for reporting of complaints and non conformity to identify and address quality and service infringements. We have renewed our focus on non-conformance by running weekly reports on service failures and customer complaints, which are then analysed to find areas for improvement and identify where we can implement corrective actions.
In addition, we have also invested in developing a new dedicated customer service team that will become the first point of contact for all our customers, helping to deliver a seamless and rewarding customer experience. This approach reduces non value added activity while improving the customer experience, and it also allows our team to take the time to educate customers on the use of our online systems for regular, low urgency tasks. Our continuous improvement and staff development programme is helping us to significantly improve our customer satisfaction levels, motivate and retain staff, achieve excellence in compliance, and win important industry accolades and awards. This has given our customers, staff and partners renewed confidence in our commitment to the business and it continues to strengthen brand loyalty.
Cost: Control of costs for any company is a priority even more so when you specialise in logistics and the movement of freight for and on behalf of client companies. On going investments include all warehouse and office electric heat and light fitting audited and replaced, resulting in reductions in the use of power nearly every year for the last ten years. We have also dramatically increased warehouse pallet storage capacity, without increasing the current square footage in use.
Investments in electric battery operated forklift fleets have also been proven to be extremely efficient use of power and resources. Training and implementation of new systems and processes in health and safety, and facilities management has had massive ongoing benefits not just in cost reductions but also in the improvement of excellent levels of health and safety measures being implemented and complied with. We have also heavily invested in the training of staff in LEAN, in the last twelve months alone 9 additional staff secured Lean Six Sigma Green Belt status. These training programmes have resulted in the staff not just recommending but implementing in excess of 50 Lean programmes in the past year.
Delivery: Ace Express Freight have been at the forefront of investment and innovation for the last few years as we aim to grow our business and improve our delivery capability. We have made significant capital expenditure in facilities, infrastructure and equipment, as well as investing in staff training and development, allowing us to reach the next level of service excellence. In addition, Value Stream Managers (VSMs) have been appointed for each vertical market of the business, responsible for all touch points in that vertical end to end.
We have undertaken a complete root and branch review of our current top 200 customers, audited the various services we provide, and identified the areas in which we can improve and gain sustainable growth. This review has enabled us to develop a strategic plan that will see us target the core areas of our business that we can expand, whilst maintaining or even reducing the current cost base. We have also commissioned a best in class Transport Management System which will streamline all areas of the business, connect us with our Irish, UK and European Customers, Agents and Partners; while fully integrating with both Revenue and HMRC to facilitate efficient and timely customs clearance with minimal manual intervention.
People: We have implemented formal quarterly review with all staff, setting their tasks and objectives to align with the overall company targets and ambitions. In addition to this we have also implemented full salary reviews and benchmarking across the whole company adjusting and aligning salaries where needed. A comprehensive staff training and development programme has also been implemented including an online training platform with 420 modules providing over 400 hours of training. Selected staff have also been sent on Further Education degree courses and we have also started a Graduate Training Programme.
To improve staff retention we have introduced a Workplace Wellness Programme and a series of social events. This includes ice cream on hot days, an extra holiday day during their birthday month, a VHI employee advice line, Blue Monday massages and team building CSR projects.
Environment: We have remodelled and refurbished a large portion of our office and warehouse space and invested in an electric warehouse cleaner. Four of our staff have completed a train the trainer Ergonomics programme and all staff work stations are continuously reviewed to ensure optimum set up. Also desks are now set up with dual screens and telephone headsets, and we have implemented a clean desk policy. We actively recycle waste electrical goods via the WEE programme and all wood waste is collected and reused. We have also invested considerable amounts in ensuring that we are future proofed by way of energy consumption by replacing all bulbs with LED lighting, saving money, reducing CO2 levels and providing a better quality of light.
In addition, we have recently taken delivery of a fleet of new electric forklifts to be based in our Blakes Cross Warehouse Facility. The 6 new Forklifts which are fully representative of both innovation and compliance have been designed with safety, comfort, productivity and efficiency in mind and will see Ace Express Freight having an increased capacity across our warehouse as we aim to cater for the inevitable challenges that lie ahead as our industry becomes more demanding.