FTA: Evolving to strengthen and support the UK’s logistics industry
After 10 years with the Freight Transport Association (FTA), the business organisation representing the UK’s logistics industry, Chief Executive David Wells reveals his ambitions for the association’s next decade, which he believes will drive even more achievements for its members.
The past 10 years have been really fulfilling from a personal and professional point of view, as our work has brought logistics to the forefront of many people’s minds. In that time, the industry has changed beyond all recognition – when I started at FTA, things like autonomous and electric vehicles were in their infancy, while the idea of drone deliveries was the thing of imagination, yet, now, they are accepted as part of our supply chain. I am incredibly proud of what we have achieved as an association in the last decade, but I am now looking to the future to ensure that we continue to shape the industry of tomorrow, and get the best possible results for our members.
Membership numbers at the association have grown by almost 25 per cent over the past five years, and I am confident this is testament to the efforts of the association’s team and the language used in communications.
Our mission is always to achieve more for our members, who represent all of logistics – with members from the road, rail, sea and air industries
Our mission is always to achieve more for our members, who represent all of logistics – with members from the road, rail, sea and air industries, as well as the buyers of freight services, such as retailers and manufacturers whose businesses depend on the efficient movement of goods. I have worked closely with the team to ensure we are representing the needs of those we represent at every level of government and industry. Our policy team, which now consists of more than 30 people, is one of the most influential of any business group, with contacts at all levels of government, and the personal relationships they have developed with opinion formers on all aspects of transport and logistics have enabled us to drive more than 70 quantifiable policy wins – on topics ranging from infrastructure to regulations, recruitment, the environment and the future shape of the industry – in the past year alone.
FTA to become Logistics UK
Among new initiatives to be implemented in 2020 is a change of name for our organisation – from FTA to Logistics UK.
It is important to note that we are not changing our focus, or the important services, support and advice that we provide to members. This is a natural progression in our name, which has been under way for several months already. Evolving our name is not something that I or the Board take lightly, but it’s something that we believe is essential if FTA is to continue to grow and achieve more for its members in a fast-changing world.
Evolving our name is not something that I or the Board take lightly, but it’s something that we believe is essential if FTA is to continue to grow and achieve more for its members in a fast-changing world.
I’m really proud of what FTA has achieved over the years, and while we already provide a broad range of high-quality services to the industry, the core of what we do is representation of our members’ interests through effective lobbying and negotiation with policymakers. Our change of name is designed solely to support and strengthen the many policy wins we already achieve on behalf of our members.
To understand why we need to continue evolving our name, it’s important to understand how we achieve those policy wins. FTA is strong because of its size and scale, and because we already represent all of logistics, a very large sector critical to the success of UK plc. Our breadth, size and scale is unique, and gives us strength and depth in expertise across important issues in all of the sectors we represent. Increasingly, policymakers and the media look to consult with organisations which can represent the whole sector. This has been especially important, and continues to be so, in our discussions regarding Brexit.
We have been really successful over the past couple of years in raising our media profile, and achieving the long list of policy wins which that profile has helped to secure. That’s testament to the hard work of the team, but also to the changes in language and logo that have already been positioning us as leading UK logistics. Most broadcast and national media now describe us as ‘FTA, the organisation that represents all of logistics in the UK’. This has been a very natural and frictionless evolution for FTA, and our latest change of name will continue that journey. We’ve worked hard to take that space, and our media coverage and influence are growing, but sometimes our name does not reflect what we do.
The logistics industry of the future
We are not alone in recognising that the logistics industry of the future will be very different from the one we all operate in today.
We are not alone in recognising that the logistics industry of the future will be very different from the one we all operate in today. The creation of a new ministerial role – the Minister of State for the Future of Transport, to oversee and shape the development of the logistics sector – directly acknowledges the interconnectedness of supply chains. This is another example of how the world around us is changing, and why evolving our name now will help strengthen our voice and our influence. The Minister will be visiting the Innovation and Technology in Transport Expo in May 2020 – a major new event in the logistics calendar, where FTA has brought together the biggest flagship conference programme in the sector. It’s free to attend, so I would encourage you to register.
A stronger voice
FTA is really well known and respected in the industry, but increasingly it’s the people outside our sector, like politicians, young people (who may never have considered careers in our sector), and journalists who will be critical to us achieving even more for members. It is vital in today’s fast paced media environment that those stakeholders quickly understand who we are and what we do. We need to continue to raise our voice in the media, to give us extra strength with government, and our name is an important part of achieving that. Rest assured that FTA itself will not change – we will continue to provide the excellent services, support and advice that our members depend on – but we will also have a stronger voice with the media and policymakers and achieve even more policy wins for members.
FTA is a great organisation that I am incredibly proud to lead, with a long and proud history, and these changes are all about protecting our heritage, and, ultimately, achieving even more for our members by strengthening our voice and increasing our relevance in a fast-changing world.
FTA is a great organisation that I am incredibly proud to lead, with a long and proud history, and these changes are all about protecting our heritage, and, ultimately, achieving even more for our members by strengthening our voice and increasing our relevance in a fast-changing world. I believe this change will enhance the leading position we occupy in the industry, and give us a great opportunity to achieve even more for members in the months and years to come.
Efficient logistics are vital to keep the UK trading, directly having an impact on more than seven million people employed in the making, selling and moving of goods. With Brexit, new technology and other disruptive forces driving change in the way goods move across borders and through the supply chain, logistics has never been more important to UK plc. A champion and challenger, FTA speaks to government with one voice on behalf of the whole sector, with members from the road, rail, sea and air industries, as well as the buyers of freight services, such as retailers and manufacturers.