Since our national final on 28th February, we’ve been posting about all businesses who won a 2018/19 national Rural Business Award. Along the way, we’ve delved into some truly inspirational stories, and hope you have enjoyed reading about some of the very best rural businesses in the UK. This is the last profile for this year, but we can’t wait to be back with a new collection of award-winners next year!

The winner of the 2018/19 Rural Employee of the Year award is Mat Bonner of DG Light Haulage! Mat is the operations manager for this transport, logistics and warehousing specialist, operating from three sites in the East Midlands. The judges praised his contribution to the company’s growth, and the glowing testimonials Mat has received from both clients and colleagues. They commented that “all companies need employees like this.”

Working both in the UK and internationally, DG Haulage’s modern fleet includes vans, light commercial and heavy haulage vehicles up to 44 tonnes. They are an in-demand logistics specialist with a great reputation, and for the last five years, with no proactive sales or marketing, have achieved impressive growth. In the current climate, where some of their competitors are struggling, they are thriving.

Mat Bonner’s customer service and management talent was spotted by managing director David Guilford in his local pub in 2015. Since then, Mat has become a core part of the DG Light Haulage team. As operations manager, Mat is responsible for the day-to-day running of the company’s 10 drivers, multiple subcontractors and fleet which includes everything from a van to a low loader trailer.

With a background in financial services, Mat’s strong skill set supports his operations manager role, including excellent communication, organisation and negotiating skills and the essential ability to juggle and respond to the challenging and changing needs of many clients.

DG Light Haulage commented “Mat deserves to win this award because of his ongoing and relentless focus, commitment, loyalty, vision and dedication to DGLH, his colleagues and our customers. He has made a marked difference to the company’s competitive edge and our bottom line by excelling in his day-to-day role and sharing his innovative ideas and contributions.

“Mat considers business issues from a perspective that is wider than his current role and which benefits DGLH at a strategic level. And, importantly for us, he is passionate about being involved in his local community and is dedicated to ensuring that our business success benefits others.”

Customer service is at the heart of Mat’s role; his responsiveness to customer enquiries and commitment to giving every customer the best service has built an exemplary customer service reputation and retained +90% of customers since he joined.

His overview of the entire business operation has influenced the business’s speedy and significant growth: under his watch since 2015, turnover has increased by 90%. Specifically for transport, it has grown by 135%.

With his spreadsheet and data prowess, Mat’s created tailor-made forecasting models for the business which have been extremely useful and accurate to develop their five-year business plan.

Alongside his ‘day job’ Mat has proactively developed a ‘Pallet Platform’, a specialist stock control system which enables more detailed outputs than anything currently offered by competitors, putting DG Light Haulage firmly one step ahead of the competition.

In fact, his dedication to collating data, evidence and detail was exceptional when it came to the business being offered £250,000 of European Funding, as well as a £15,000 regional development grant.

Alongside all this, he continually reviews and refines the business’s supplier list to ensure best value for investments and ensures they have the necessary processes and industry-critical supporting material in place for a company of their size.

Without Mat, DG Light Haulage wouldn’t be the company it is today.

Following his award-win, Mat said “I am thrilled to have won the Rural Employee of the Year Award. I have really enjoyed working for DG Light Haulage over the last few years, and find my role as Operations Manager immensely rewarding. I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to David Guilford for nominating me, and can’t wait to celebrate this win with the rest of the team.”


To find out more about DG Light Haulage, visit: www.dglighthaulage.com

To see all the blogs in this series on the winners of the 2018/19 National Rural Business Awards, click here.

If you think your business has what it takes to win a Rural Business Award, why not enter? You can learn more by heading to: www.ruralbusinessawards.co.uk/enter

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