FPS Questions & Answers: Steven Hughan, F.S Mackenzie Ltd.

2:17am 16th July 2020

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FPS Questions & Answers interviewed Steven Hughan, Commercial Director of F.S Mackenzie Ltd.

Would you say that Brexit has so far affected your business and if so, in which way(s)? 

Brexit has certainly impacted our business over the past 2 year. From some of our manufacturer client base moving their plants into Europe from the UK resulting in lost business, to us as a company investing in staff and training to be able to cope with the demand of customs procedures for European road freight, only for Brexit to then be pushed back further. As many businesses from many industries we have had to act to be prepared. 

The UK has managed to reduce number of fatalities in the UK and business seems to be returning to something more like normal.


To what extent has the COVID-19 shutdown reduced your overall profitability? 
Are you confident that business in the UK will reach business levels enjoyed prior to COVID-19

FSM’s toughest period during COVID-19 was when China went into lockdown. A large part of what we do here at FSM is imports from China for both Sea & Air, of course with China manufacturers not working this heavily impacted our volumes from China during that period. 

Manufacturers in the UK have certainly found a way to continue to produce at a reduced level since the beginning of COVID-19, and it will be manufacturing that drives the economy forward once again. It is impossible to say how long it will take to get back to the levels of pre COVID-19 or if we ever will, but I have no doubt the UK as a nation and the rest of the world will pull the economy back to where it needs to be in good time.  


During the shutdown, have you had some personnel working from home?
If so, was this effective and can you envisage this as a future strategy to perhaps reducing your salary bill? Staff would save on costs traveling to and from the office as well as giving themselves more leisure time. 

From March through to July FSM office staff have been working from home, which worked out all ok. All staff where set up on Microsoft teams and this was a huge help in managing staff from home and for staff morale. Moving forward, we do not see a future of not utilizing an office space and staff working from home. FSM very much have the mentality of working environment within the office are best for our business.  


Over the past week, a sudden increase in the number of cases in the USA has caused alarm. Also China in the past few days has revealed new infections in Beijing creating fears of a further severe outbreak. 
How concerned are you about this and do you see this having an effect on aircraft and vessel availability?

Naturally due to the impact of COVID-19 you can’t help but have concerns when you hear media reports of further outbreaks. At the same time you can’t let what you can’t control derail you. FSM have domestic road freight services, European road and rail services, we have plenty of services and revenue streams to focus on if further disruptions to business due to COVID-19 or any other potential pandemic.  


As a member of Famous Pacific Shipping Group what would you say are the advantages in belonging to the Group?
In 2015 
F.S Mackenzie was bought by Famous Holdings Pte on behalf of Singapore Post.
What would you say are the main benefits as a result of this sale?

SingPost have been incredibly supportive since the purchase in 2015. They back our ideas and have invested where needed to support FSM in our growth strategy. Services wise, through our connection to SingPost we now offer e-commerce services via our warehouse facility at London Heathrow airport, working with the likes of Amazon and ASOS. 


Based on the lessons learned and experiences had from the COVID-19 pandemic, do you believe that the shipping, forwarding and logistics industries will see changes taking place in the immediate and longer term future?

I have no doubt there will be changes, from IT/Systems, reduction in staff levels to changes to services due to volumes at reduced levels. There are a lot of question marks currently. Our industry will have to adjust to the fall out of post COVID-19. FSM are also optimistic and see a bright future, manufacturing and supply chain will drive the world forward once again, and we are ready to help play our part in that challenge.  


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