Alistair Houghton meets IAN JONES, managing director of Warrant Group
WHEN others facing recession are looking inward, Ian Jones and Warrant Group are looking to global growth.
The Liverpool-based supply chain management company already has clients worldwide and turns over £50m a year.
Mr Jones, managing director at Warrant since 2008, took over the company last year and is now – despite the ongoing economic downturn – investing in his business.
Warrant aims to win more clients looking to ship goods from Asia to Europe and also plans to move into new markets such as South America.
It has also invested in its own IT products so clients can track their goods throughout their journey.
The quietly ambitious Mr Jones, 43, has worked in the logistics sector since leaving school at 16. Sitting in Warrant’s head office in Regent Road, amid the hustle and bustle of Liverpool’s docklands, he is clear he intends to stay in the sector for many years to come as Warrant continues to expand.
“I’ve found it a very interesting industry to work in,” he said.
“No two days are the same. We face different challenges.
“But Warrant is a solutions business. That’s what we’re here to do – innovative logistics thinking. We do think outside the box.”
And he added: “We are already a very successful business and we’re now pushing our business on.
“We are investing in a downturn and we are showing a long-term commitment.
“By developing these new products, it’s going to bring value in the long term.”
ORIGINALLY from Wirral, Mr Jones left school at 16 and joined a YTS scheme at freight company Bahr Behrend, in Liverpool’s India Buildings.
“Whatever I’ve done I’ve done through hard work and through learning my business from day one,” he smiled.
“I’ve been the lackey running round delivering letters. I’ve been everything. I’ve come up from the bottom.”
After working his way up through a number of different firms, he joined Warrant 17 years ago.
The group was founded in 1989 to offer port agency services. In 2001, the year Mr Jones became a director, Warrant’s individual companies were merged into one centralised company in Liverpool.
In 2007, Mr Jones joined three other directors to launch a buyout.
“The existing owners at that time were open to an offer to purchase the business,” he said.
Last year Mr Jones bought out his three fellow directors to become 100% shareholder at Warrant.
“In my opinion, I was always going to be here much longer than them,” he said.
“The management tier below the directors was very strong and was ready to come through.
“When I approached the other directors, we came to an agreement for me to purchase the shareholding. Two of them are still in the business today and still directors. I’ve brought in four new directors.
“For me as an individual it was an opportunity for me to take the business on and drive it forward with a new team longer term.”
Today the group employs 55 people, most of them based in Regent Road, while it has another office in Southampton.
“The big thing for us is that our business is about people and service levels,” said Mr Jones.
“Warrant is very much dedicated to high service standards and commitment to the customer and delivering excellent service. It’s all backed up with technology.
“We have a lot of long-serving staff members here at Warrant. We don’t have a big turnover of people.”
Warrant works in seven key areas – sea, air, road, supply chain management, its IT platform Ingot Portal, logistics and port agency.
The group has a particular focus on two key areas – the chemical industry and the shipping of commodities for recycling including paper, plastic and metals.
Its clients include retailer JML and Co-operative clothing, while it provides port agency services to United Molasses and Rio Tinto.
It is also a founder member of EURTEAM, an alliance which provides supply chain services to the chemicals sector. Mr Jones is the alliance’s current president.