MATTHEW VELLA joined Express Trailers in 2004 and today he is responsible for the management of the company’s freightforwarding team. He was recently tasked with the creation of a new Order Department to increase the level of service to external customers & internal departments.
Tell us about yourself at Express Trailers. When did you start and what positions did you serve at ET?
After finishing 6th Form at St Edward’s College, I joined Express Trailers in 2004 as a sales clerk selling the group’s multiple products. After several years in this position, a group reorganisation presented me with the opportunity to lead the newly formed Air & Sea Department. I was promoted to this managerial position in 2013. In 2019, I was then tasked with the management and transfer of all sales related data to our state-of-the-art ERP. This role also included the training of the sales team in their day-to-day tasks, implementing the operational system for the Air and Sea team and the review of internal processes to maximise efficiency to finally achieve a paperless system.
What is your designation today and what are your responsibilities?
Today I manage the freight forwarding team in the day-to-day operation within Express Group, comprising of our weekly ocean groupage lanes, regular full load containers and airfreight shipments. My aim was to maximise contribution whilst providing the highest possible level of service to our customers. I also continued to cultivate and promote our relations with the agents of all major shipping lines & airlines and our foreign partners. In parallel I also continued to work within the commercial function of the group and as a lead on all sales & freight forwarding matters related to the newly implemented ERP.
Tell us about this new Order Department. Why was it created?
The need to create an order department came about after implementing our state-of-the-art ERP, when we realised the need to adapt to our new IT system, thereby increasing our service level to our external customers & internal departments. This new department brings together tasks that were traditionally in three different departments: new order creation (new bookings), invoicing of these orders and the management of all selling contracts between our company and our customers.
Our scope is three-fold; to speak to our customers and obtain all the needed information for a perfect new order to be created with our system, to transmit this information to all internal departments & foreign partners in an accurate and efficient way through the same IT system so that they can plan ahead increasing operational efficiencies and finally, to invoice our customers in a correct way according to our agreement making our transactions as seamless as possible.
What were the main stages in setting up this new department?
Once we got the go ahead, we started selecting the appropriate team members from different departments within our group and who could bring with them experience from various fields which would contribute to this new department. Once the team members were selected, we started a rigorous training process with the assistance of the BI Department. The aim was for team members to become experts in the processes of this new department, to know what needs to be done and to enjoy full flexibility to do each other’s jobs. In the meantime, meetings were also held with other departments to understand better how our new department would fit into their processes as efficiently as possible. A new e-mail, phone number & booking confirmation form have been created which will be launched shortly.
How many people work in this department?
The team consists of 7 members, including myself. All of them already worked at Express Trailers in different departments such as international operations, finance and freight forwarding. We wanted team members who already knew how we operate and who with their input, could contribute their respective experiences of different processes to this new department. Having worked on this project with my colleagues makes me very proud and I am looking forward to seeing the fruits of this project translate into a better service for our customers.