D.E.S is a delivery service for printed mail and parcels. SME caught up with Phil Coleman, chief executive of the company, to find out more…
What have been your biggest challenges? How did you overcome them?
There have been many but having to deal with a close to £200k debt from a bankrupt client was very hard to face when I discovered the reality of the situation on Xmas eve 2012.
The challenges and situations that I had to deal with for the close to 2 years that followed were absolutely overwhelming at times. My main focus and dedication was to keep every customer happy and their accounts maintained to a higher level than ever during the months of financial planning, re structuring and rebuilding that followed. It really was quite a negative time for me as the bad debt had caused a huge knock on effect whilst crippling cash flow. Banks or the authorities at this time did not see companies in such a state as worth saving in my opinion and we fell under very heavy scrutiny.
We managed to trade out of a very negative situation within an 18 month period, paying all of our debts and returning to a healthy profit position.
How, I cannot say exactly, there were so many quick decisions made at the time, but the feeling of nearly losing everything I had worked to build up was enough to keep my determination and tenacity levels higher than ever.
What have been your greatest successes?
The company has achieved so much and it's actual existence and positive, profitable situation today speaks volumes given the hyper-competitive landscape that we have always worked within.
I could list many answers such as the building and development that has gone into PacketPort – our tracked software that rivals that of any of the world’s largest delivery companies, or the partnership that we have with our like-minded friends Austrian Post. I would say that knowing who to work with and when has been a nice and simple rule to our success, bar only a couple of examples.
What are your top tips for SMEs?
Always be ready to change your ideas, look to the future and don’t dwell on any mistakes that have been made as usually they lead to better solutions.