Members of North East England Chamber of Commerce
Arthur Vernon Dawson and his wife Eleanor started the business in 1938 with £50 and a horse called Dina, selling coal. They soon diversified into hauling timber, furniture and construction materials and moved to new larger premises. As the business grew, and several moves later, it finally relocated to Dawsons Wharf where it developed its quayside and shipping operations. In 1988 it expanded further with the opening of its rail freight arm of the business.
The business recently completed a £12.5 million investment included the construction of a deepwater quay, an intermodal rail terminal for container storage and transportation and a state-of-the-art, climate-controlled, rail-connected steel coil store which serves the region’s automotive sector, including car giant Nissan. AV Dawson’s 100-acre freight handling facility is now one of the largest independent rail terminals in the North of England.
What the judges said:
Their customer service excellence strategy is centred around People, Relationships, Quality & Efficiency. And within this strategy, four company-wide critical success factors have been identified. These are people development, relationship management, IT optimisation and waste minimisation.
AV Dawson believe that colleagues who truly embrace their values will always be motivated to deliver improved standards of customer care, they therefore ensure that their people best represent its values and these values are incorporated into the recruitment, training and development process.
The company recently completed a £12.5m master plan which enabled them to grow their workforce by more than a third and as part of this master plan AV Dawson opened the automotive steel distribution centre. This new energy efficient facility is due to deliver over £800k savings over the next 20 years, savings that AV Dawson plan to pass on to their customers and it’s enabled them to reduce unloading times by 75% from 12 hours to 3 hours increasing efficiency for the customer.
Why did they enter and what has it done for their business:
Historically, we wouldn’t usually enter awards; we’ve tended to keep our heads down and just get on with the job. However, the world has changed dramatically over recent years and in this competitive market it’s become more important than ever to maintain awareness of our business and the support we provide. Entering the Chamber Business Awards has helped us to do this and winning an award has provided added credibility for our brand. The process also enables us to benchmark our business and continually challenge ourselves to work harder for our customers.
Why would you recommend businesses to enter?
We would encourage businesses to enter as it is an excellent opportunity to raise your profile; not only at the event but in all of the supporting activity that the Chamber do around the awards. Winning a national Chamber Business Award undoubtedly provides extra kudos that can be utilised to support your own marketing activities.