AV Dawson won the Excellence in Customer Service award 2016 sponsored by the AA

Members of North East England Chamber of Commerce

Company overview:
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.

2017 Business of the Year, AnyJunk, opens the London Stock Exchange
Flynn, winners of the Health & Wellbeing Award 2017
DNA Worldwide Group, winners of the Small Business of the Year Award 2017
Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce, winners of the Excellence in Membership Services Award 2017
2016 Business of the Year, Scientifica, opens the London Stock Exchange
See more winners
Castle School Education Trust (CSET) winners of the Education & Business Partnership award 2016, Members of Business West
Scientifica Ltd won the Export Business of the Year 2016 award sponsored by DHL Express
Plimsoll Productions won the High Growth Business of the Year 2016 award sponsored by the London Stock Exchange
Groundsure Ltd won the Best Use of Technology 2016 award sponsored by BT
West & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce won the Most Effective Campaigning 2016 award sponsored by BT
St Helens Chamber of Commerce won the Chamber of the Year 2016 award sponsored by Qdos Consulting
Convey Law won the Commitment to People Development 2016 Award sponsored by Westfield Health
Northamptonshire Chamber of Commerce incorporating Milton Keynes Chamber of Commerce won Excellence in Membership Services 2016, sponsored by Composite Legal Expenses
Mark Rutherford School won the Education and Business Partnership Award 2015
PJA Distribution won the High Growth Business of the Year Award sponsored by Dell in 2015
Advanced Industrial Solutions Ltd won Export Business of the Year Award sponsored by DHL in 2015
Hodgson Sayers Ltd won People Development of the Year Award in 2015
Clothes2order won the Best Use of Technology to Improve Business Performance Award sponsored by BT in 2015
Titania Ltd won the Small Business of the Year award sponsored by NFU Mutual in 2014
Larkfleet Group won the 2014 Sustainability Award sponsored by Utilitywise
Peter O’Brien of O’Brien Contractors – winners of Outstanding Personal Achievement and Business of the Year at the 2013 Chamber Awards
DB Shoes – Member of Northamptonshire chamber of commerce – National Winner 2004
Ramsden International – Member of Hull & Humber chamber of commerce, industry and shipping – National Winner 2012
Unruly – Member of London chamber of commerce and industry – National Winner 2011
Harland Corporation – Winner of Innovation Through Technology and Outstanding Business Achievement Awards 2010
Concrete Canvas – Winner of Innovation through Technology and Outstanding Business Achievement Awards
2018 National Winners
2019 National Winners