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T&B wins Queen's Award
Feature: 3/4/2002

The Queens Award for Enterprise: International trade 2002

Tibbett & Britten Group plc has become the first specialist logistics service provider to be presented with a Queen's Award for International Trade - the UK's premier accolade for international businesses (director-e News, Wednesday 24 April).

The UK-based group is a world leader in logistics and international supply chain management - handling warehousing, physical distribution and systems integration on behalf of major retailers and multinational manufacturers.

The 2002 Queen's Awards for Enterprise: International Trade (formerly the Export Achievement Award) was conferred on Tibbett & Britten on the Queen's official birthday, in recognition of the company's achievements in its international operations.

As recently as 1989 the Group's activities were confined to the UK and Ireland. Yet today it generates 60 percent of its revenues and profits overseas - and this is in spite of growth in the home market of more than 15 percent compound per annum for the past 12 years. Overseas growth has been mainly organic, arising from the successful translation of skills and expertise into foreign markets.

Specialist business

Tibbett & Britten has developed into the largest specialist distribution business in Canada and one of the biggest in the USA. It employs over 11,000 people in North America alone, and operates from coast to coast.

The Group is also the largest distributor of clothing in the UK & Ireland and is a major player in Austria, France and Hungary. It operates the largest consumer distribution network in sub-Saharan Africa, and is a logistics market leader for consumer products in China, Hong Kong, Mexico and Portugal.

The UK developed an early lead in the marketing disciplines of logistics and supply chain management, and Tibbett & Britten - which was founded in East London in 1958 - was instrumental in the development of these disciplines. It is now exporting this expertise.

John Harvey CBE, chairman of Tibbett & Britten Group, said at the presentation: "I am pleased to accept this coveted Award on behalf of our 15,000 staff in the UK and Ireland, plus our 21,000 personnel in overseas territories.

"Nearly all our overseas growth has been organic, and we realised early on in our international development that for reasons of culture, local regulation, market preferences, etc., it would always be necessary to translate our services into the local context, rather than simply attempt to transfer them. If there is a single reason for our overseas success then this is probably it".

Recent growth

The Group's recent growth - both at home and overseas - is shown in this table:

Overseas revenues (%)£466m (50%)£577m (52%)£739m (55%)£842m (60%)
Total Group revenues£919m£1107m£1341m£1406m
Overseas revenues exclude Republic of Ireland.
Figures based on continuing operations.

The selection process for the Queen’s Award also took account of corporate and social responsibilities, including the Group's impact on society and its relations with suppliers, employees and customers.

In addition, the judges looked at its commitment to charitable support and the environment.

Tibbett & Britten has a record of establishing long-term partnerships with leading blue-chip companies. 15-year-plus relationships have been forged with IBM, Kingfisher, Marks & Spencer, J Sainsbury, Tesco and Unilever, among others.

The Group employs a total of 36,000 people in 34 countries on five continents.
Author: John Gibbon
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