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The Storage Place on track to fulfil ambitions as region’s fastest growing small business

Felling-headquartered The Storage Place (TSP Fulfilment) was named the fastest growing small business at the 2022 Ward Hadaway North East Fastest 50 Awards which takes place annually in partnership with The Journal.

As winners of the small category and second fastest growing business overall, we spoke to chief executive Michael Meredith alongside managing director Paul Griffiths to discuss their path to rapid growth and future plans.

“Our goal is well-defined – we want to become the best fulfilment business in the UK,” says Michael Meredith, chief executive of The Storage Place. “We’ve set out to completely transform how the fulfilment industry operates. It’s often seen as the amateur counterpart to the supply chain sector in terms of processes, people management and technology innovation but we’re striving to change that – and quickly.”

It’s clear The Storage Place means business. The company was established in 1999 initially as a general warehousing provider before the 2008 financial crash brought the company’s direction under the spotlight.

Michael explains: “The 2008 recession was a wakeup call as our warehousing market disappeared pretty much overnight. This is when we quickly diversified, realising the growing demand for order fulfilment services by retailers and other online ecommerce firms. After a lot of experimentation around software platforms and what systems and processes to put in place to provide a comprehensive fulfilment service, we finally cracked it. By 2018 we were a fully-fledged ecommerce order fulfilment business in both B2B and B2C markets, offering a complete order fulfilment and logistics solution.”

Growth was modest until the business fully transitioned to fulfilment services and then it steadily grew to a point where, in December 2020, The Storage Place fulfilled more orders in one month than in the rest of 2019. Add in a global lockdown because of the Covid pandemic, where online demand grew, The Storage Place experienced exponential growth and turnover, as well as headcount, rapidly climbed. Revenue for 2022 is set to be £8.6 million and the company has around 70 employees. The company started with a 60,000 square foot warehouse in Felling but now has facilities in Peterlee, Team Valley and Port of Tyne, boasting over 400,000 square feet of storage space.

Michael continues: “When Covid hit a lot of warehousing businesses were laying people off, but we were able to quickly adapt to the opportunity lockdown presented because of the way we’ve innovated our processes and IT systems, the backbone of our business, and win new clients, quickly.”

The rapid growth of the company saw the establishment of a leadership team with Paul Griffiths joining in 2020 as sales director. With many years of experience in the supply chain sector working with companies such as Nissan and Hitachi, Paul’s objective was to make The Storage Place function more effectively across every area of the business so that it could develop and become a leading player in the fulfilment services sector.

Paul, now managing director, says: “From processes and communication to people management and data use, it was clear that not just our business, but the industry overall, needed an operational overhaul. What was required was a strategic approach across the board. As a company, we needed to change our mindsets and that’s exactly what we did. Michael and I share the same vision of redefining the blueprint for growth for a fulfilment business – and this is what we are achieving with The Storage Place. I won’t lie, there’s been a lot of pain along the way – rapid growth and transformation brings many challenges – but we’re on the road we want to be on now and central to this has been hard work, a unified team and an ability to adapt quickly to meet our customers’ needs.”

With many companies in the fulfilment sector using outdated systems and processes, The Storage Place is disrupting the space and reinventing the industry by offering end-to-end order fulfilment service solutions. It is one of the only businesses in the UK to provide all of Amazon’s ecommerce services including Seller Fulfilled Prime and Merchant Fulfilled services.

Alex Wright, a partner at Ward Hadaway, said: “I have worked with Michael and the team for many years, helping them with business and legal issues throughout the company’s phenomenal growth journey. The Storage Place is now over 20 years old and is a great example of why a growth mindset is vital to success, having cultivated a culture where challenging the norms, testing new ideas and learning from mistakes is encouraged. Being named this year’s fastest growing small business is credit to the team and how they’ve transformed The Storage Place into a business that is leading from the front in its sector, creating a new and innovative path where others follow. It’s an incredible achievement.”

By 2024, The Storage Place is aiming to become a £50 million turnover business with over 500,000 square feet in storage facilities across the North East.

“It might seem like a huge goal,” adds Paul, “but we’re confident that we can achieve it because of the foundations that the business is built upon. All of our growth is the result of our interactions with people whether that’s employees, suppliers, competitors, customers or partners. We’re honest, transparent and driven. As we keep growing, we also keep learning and that’s what every business leader needs to hear – success doesn’t come without failure. You need to make mistakes so that you can learn from them, adapt, evolve and, ultimately, grow.”

Please note that this briefing is designed to be informative, not advisory and represents our understanding of English law and practice as at the date indicated. We would always recommend that you should seek specific guidance on any particular legal issue.

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