"I have no regrets about what I have done in my life"
Andy Boyle OBE, Founder,
It's May 1972 and Andy Boyle Enterprises opens its cab doors and the wheels start turning.
In these early days, most of the work comes from the agriculture and horticulture sectors in Herefordshire and the company has just two vehicles, both Seddons, both knackered, received in discharge of a debt.
On a personal note, Andy met Julia in 1974. They marry in 1975 and she joins the business, later becoming Company Secretary.
Recession hits the country hard but having invested some money in improved vehicles and premises, Andy ventures into new sectors such as the automotive industry and sawmills.
ABE becomes a limited company in 1989 and is also an early adopter of the mobile phone after many years of hunting for pennies and phone boxes.
As an act of benevolence rather than malevolence Andy withholds a pay rise and starts the company pension scheme.
Another recession. This time hitting ABE hard, almost to the point of hanging up the lorry keys. Diesel prices virtually double in this decade from 34.09 to 66.2 ppl inc taxes excl VAT. Still mainly trading within the agricultural sector the company loses its largest customer, a crushing blow. But, a combination of Andy's entrepreneurial drive and "necessity being the mother of invention" ABE joins the newly established co-operative, Palletline, bringing a more efficient method of moving smaller consignments.
As this new shared method of transporting goods evolves, ABE also changes. Doubling in size during this decade with a variety of customers excited to use the Palletline service to increase their own customer geography especially with the beginning of online trading.
The new century brings big changes and challenges. IT makes huge advances with the boom of the internet and email. Digital signatures become mainstream in the pallet sector. ABE moves into larger premises and enters the warehousing and storage markets.
But there are also some exceptionally challenging times - Fuel prices are crippling and for the first time in the company's history ABE adopts a fuel surcharge. September 2000 sees the first fuel protests, bringing the country to a near standstill and resulting in a cut in duty although oil prices continue to rise throughout the decade. The collapse of the financial system hits all businesses hard and ABE is not immune. The staff pull together in support of the company whilst it waits out the storm.
As the business passes its 30th anniversary, Andy considers the future and appoints Clive Brooks as Chief Executive. Clive brings 20 years industry experience with him to ABE and has skills in the UK and international transport as well as warehousing and Palletline.
ABE is celebrating 44 years in business, and is proud to be able to say that there are staff who have seen every decade with the Company.
ABE is its people, who all believe the core values of reliability, honesty and communication.
Andy believes these are essential ingredients for building successful business relationships and as the business has grown he has developed a professional workforce who share these values; they genuinely care about customers and take pride in their work. He has ensured that all relationships be it with customers, staff or suppliers are nurtured towards long-term partnerships.
Accordingly, ABE has a broad customer base of some 375 active customers from many sectors stretching far into the 3 Counties, Mid-Wales and Shropshire and beyond, employing 85 full-time employees and a further 15 casuals for seasonal fluctuations.
Andy campaigning to keep fuel costs down
Whilst he has no plans to retire Andy has been careful over the past decade to plan for the future and build a strong management team ensuring that the business continues to thrive and prosper and provide not only continuing excellent service to its customers but also continued employment for his staff for many years to come.
Although, there is no doubt that the pains of fuel prices, economic downturns and the occasional flat tyre will always be waiting in the wings...