A go-ahead warehouse and distribution company has recruited an industry “legend” to drive ambitious expansion plans that will create 30 new jobs.
Julian Richards, 60, has been appointed commercial director at Wrexham-based McCarthy Distribution and he is also aiming to increase turnover to more than £15 million over the next three years.
The strategy to take the company to the “next level” will include increasing warehouse capacity and securing contract packing work.
The ambitious firm, headed by managing director Mike McCarthy, opened a new £3 million headquarters and 42,000 sq ft warehouse on Wrexham Industrial Estate in 2019.
It also invested in £500,000 worth of forklift trucks and racking in the new 21 metre high warehouse to increase capacity for palletized freight.
According to Mr Richards, McCarthy Distribution which currently employs 70 people, has huge potential to grow and become even more successful.
His rise through the ranks in the industry was meteoric after starting out as an office junior at a transport company in Buckinghamshire – and it’s all down to his love of football.
After leaving school at the age of 16, he joined Cavewood Transport in his home town of High Wycombe where many famous furniture brands like G Plan, Ercol and Parker Knoll were based.
He said: “Cavewood were sending lorries all over Europe delivering furniture and other products to places like Madrid, Munich and Belgrade and Milan.
“I was thinking football – AC Milan and Real Madrid and Red Star Belgrade – so that’s the job I took as an office junior making the tea and running errands.
“I just loved it. It got under my skin immediately. It was exciting watching all these trucks leaving for these exotic destinations.
“Part of the training involved going on a trip with a driver which I loved. My trip was to Southern Germany with deliveries to several industrial estates and then we brought back wine from the Ruhr Valley.
“All my friends were working in furniture factories turning wood and I was having a lot more fun.
“I would take on any bit of overtime or weekend work. Every time there was a promotion, I would put my name forward – just because I needed the money – and I got most of them.
“At weekends, I’d be driving a van to Copenhagen or Paris so I would be getting cash in hand, virtually a week’s wage – and they’d give me Monday off.
“I took so many promotions so at quite a young age I was a manager picking my company car.
“At that age you have so much capacity for learning and energy as well. The hours I worked would be illegal now.
“I stayed with them for 10 years and ended up as the general manager of a £60 million turnover business, looking after all the UK operations.
“I then went to work for a friend of mine who ran a smaller haulage company and I stayed there for two years before being asked back to Cavewood where I stayed or another 10 years.”
Then in 1999 he was headhunted by a haulage company, AK Worthington, based at Trafford Park in Manchester.
Mr Richards said: “Within three or four months of arriving, I realised the company was pretty close to being insolvent. But we turned it around and the rest is history.
“We took it from a £6 million turnover, losing £160,000 a year to a £35 million turnover making £3 million profit.”
It was during this time he got to know Mike McCarthy because he was part of a hauliers’ organisation, Partnerlink, which was set up by Mr Richards.
He added: “Mike and I are very similar in that the quality of the service we provide rather than profit is the most important thing. If you do everything right, everything else flows from that.
“McCarthy Distribution is a very well-run company and hugely respected but it also has great potential to grow and I want to help them get to the next level.
“The service levels here are as good as they can be and the potential is huge so I am very excited to be part of that journey.
“The strategy for growth includes expanding our warehouse capacity and starting to do contract packing which will complement what we do already.
“As well as providing extra work, the contract packing helps tie the customer in and we’ll see the turnover increase exponentially and the profit will go up.
“On transport you make one or two per cent while you make five to 10 per cent on contract packing. It’s a logical extension of the business.
“At the end of my third year, if we do all the things we’re committed to, turnover will exceed £15 million with a stronger bottom line.”
Mike McCarthy said: “I am delighted that Julian has joined us to help take McCarthy Distribution to the next level.
“Julian has an incredible track record of success and he is something of a legend in our industry.
“One of the reasons I was so keen for him to come on board is that our values and approach to business are so well matched in terms of providing the best possible service to our customers.
“Together we can build on very firm foundations and drive the company forward to an even brighter future.”