When it comes to managing a commercial operation there has to come a point when issues like Brexit have to take the back seat. However existential that process has become over the past three years it eventually sits there alongside death and taxes in the list of inevitables. So we may just as well crack on and keep this show ion the road.
And so to Aylesbury for the opening of a new Logistics Hub for Integral – and, lest we forget, this is a EURO Logistics Hub, because regardless of what hell our politicians deliver us into, there is a land mass a few miles eastwards of us that WILL be doing business with us. Its only the bottom line that we don’t know about.
The pioneering line at Integral is a simple one: if we have a new distribution facility then we can distribute . . . if we DON’T have a distribution facility then there is no opportunity of anything, so let’s crack on, shall we?
The opening event provided a couple of highlights: the local MP is David Lidington, recently knighted by Theresa May and benighted by Boris Johnson (like the rest of us) and I claim the right of the editor to quote him at length in this piece, because I think that politico-red-tape-cutting-speak needs to be savoured at leisure.
“Thank you for inviting me this afternoon.
It’s always important and it’s always good news when a new business, a new enterprise, opens up here n Aylesbury and I very much welcome the vote of confidence that Integral has given to Aylesbury and to the business future of Aylesbury. I’ve been learning this afternoon that there are now 150 jobs here at Integral and about the opportunities for sales and distribution centre both here in the UK and more widely in Netherlands and elsewhere in Europe.
It is heartening, in particular, to learn how this company is doing what 21st-century companies need to do to be a success, which is to listen to the customers, who are asking questions about the product and in some cases asking for the product to be re-designed in a way that gives the end-customer better, or less expensive, value for money service for the cash that they are putting down. That is the way to stay ahead of the game, because I think that whatever sector that we are looking at, the truth today is that the need for innovation is never going to let up.
A combination of global competition in a world marketplace and visual technology making it possible for knowledge and technology to be shared across continents at the click of a mouse means that no company, however large and well-established, can afford to rest on its laurels. It means, too, that there will continue to be opportunities for the canny, innovative, new entrant or small contender in the marketplace to grow and move towards and seize an increased share of the business.
Integral has located its European hub here in Aylesbury. Whatever happens on Wednesday 31st October, or 31st January next year, or whenever, the basic facts of geography are not going to change. For as far ahead as I can see, the European Union is going to remain the most important trading partner, the singlemost important market, for companies here in the United Kingdom, and whatever the differences that I may have with the Prime Minister about the European question, what I have been pleased by is, when I discussed this with him in the last weeks he has been very clear to me that his intention is to secure a deal to enable the United Kingdom to leave the European Union in an orderly fashion with a transitional period to allow businesses to adjust and to negotiate a long-term trade agreement with the European Union so that companies like Integral can continue to flourish.
So I wish, not just the directors and the top management but every member of the team here at Integral, success.”
(JB: Apologies to Sir David for any mis-hearings. I trust that I haven’t altered any of the intended meanings)
The real highlight of the afternoon, though, was a delicious, though I suspect wholly unintended, piece of irony art. What better to illustrate the risk of opening a Euro-centric Logistics Hub in the English home counties than a chap juggling LED light bulbs. You’d want a heart of stone not to wish Chris Marley ( ) a perfect performance in that arena, with no catastrophic fumbles. And afterwards Chris was good enough to deliver a few impromptu juggling lessons – and we could all do with that at the moment.
Congratulations and best wishes are due to Sunil and Sanjiv Kotecha and the team at Integral and we’ll be keeping a reporterly eye on the progress of this fine new facility.
Still photography by Derek Pelling Photography