Exel's newly acquired company, Tibbett & Britten, has won a top award in this year's Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (UK) CILT (UK) Awards for Excellence 2004. The award was presented at a gala dinner in Central London on 21 October.

Tibbett & Britten, which was acquired by Exel in August, was named winner in the 'Development of People' category for its work over the past two years with staff at the Preston Brook distribution centre (DC), near Runcorn, in the UK. This site has been operated by Tibbett & Britten since it was established over 13 years ago, and has been dedicated to Europe's largest home improvement (DIY) retailer, B&Q, throughout this time.

A team of 950 people work round-the-clock, 24-hours-a-day, 364-days-a-year at the 59,500 sq m (640,000 sq ft) site to ensure efficient and effective distribution to 64 B&Q stores across the North West of England and Ireland. The DC is also involved in trunking to eight other B&Q regional distribution centres nationwide for onward delivery to a further 250-plus stores.

Describing some of the achievements at Preston Brook, the CILT (UK) said in its winner's citation, "Facilities for staff to follow learning programmes of their own choosing are in place. As a result, 55 existing drivers have followed a safe driving course, 28 people have qualified in supervisory management and 49% of the total workforce is, or has been, involved in some formal learning programme."

Dave Haddock, B&Q's Retail Network Logistics Manager, added, "B&Q fully recognises the contribution of advanced learning in the workplace. At Preston Brook this has had a demonstrable impact on improving both morale and performance, and Tibbett & Britten are to be congratulated on their success. We were particularly impressed with the train-a-driver scheme, in which warehousing staff are given the opportunity to join the driving team."

As if to affirm the extraordinary success of the site, a Preston Brook-based driver-trainer, Dave Charnock, recently achieved second place in the LGV category of a nationwide competition run by Moto and the Institute of Advanced Motorists to find Britain's safest trucker. While earlier in the year, another Preston Brook employee, James (Jay) Owens, picked up first prize in the finals of the nationwide BT UK Fork-Lift Truck Driver Championship 2004, which was concerned primarily with safe forklift truck operation.

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