The SDW story, so far – told by Steve himself….
Prior to starting SDW, on leaving college I accidentally fell into shipping after applying for a Trainee Dock Runner Role with Allport Freight in Southampton (now of course Allport Cargo Services). Those too young to remember, the role of the Dock Runner was to lodge Customs entries, both Route 1 and 3 within the timeout period (or there would be hell to pay!) at the Long Room at Customs House. I still remember the almighty bang the time stamp machine made to this day. A Dock Runner would also drive around the Port and Shipping Lines, lodging Bills of Lading & Phase 1 Removal Notes – along with other duties such as picking up sandwiches, newspapers, cigarettes and anything else the guys back in the office wanted. I thought this was a fantastic job, and still look back with fond memories and with plenty of stories I could share, but probably best not.
After showing initiative & enthusiasm, I was promptly promoted to Trainee Import Customs Entry Clerk, where I was trained in all aspects of Customs entries, tariff classification & various Customs procedures. From there I progressed to Senior Freight Forwarder level. where I handled a number of large retail key accounts.
From Allport, I joined Jardine Logistics (now Toll Global Forwarding) as a Senior Import Freight Forwarder, managing again a number of key accounts, from origin to final destination.
What became clear at both companies, was the difficulty the managers were having when recruiting. The managers would engage with a number of recruitment agencies, mostly generalists – they would come in, not really understand what the company did and then send completely irrelevant CVs. If a candidate was a keen canoeist, this to them was shipping experience, and they felt that they had found the one!
Then came the light bulb moment – I could offer a much better service, fully understanding what the different shipping & freight companies did and what experience each role required – SDW Recruitment was born!
Then on the first Monday morning of trading back in August 2002, the penny dropped – I had started a specialist recruitment company with, okay yes, a wealth of shipping & freight forwarding experience, but no actual recruitment experience and never having ever recruited anyone directly or indirectly! I don’t think many gamblers would of backed me back then.
From the very first day, I wanted to ensure that SDW offered something different. I wanted SDW to stand clear from all the other recruitment agencies, not just by the fact we specialised solely in shipping & logistics and had previous industry expertise – but in the way, we operated, the core values behind the business and what we stood for.
Which is – transparency, always acting in the best interest of our clients & candidates, exceptional service, always looking for a better way & of course, passion for all things shipping & logistics, bordering on geeky.
Our aim is also to provide a fresh approach to the way we communicate & treat our candidates. A lot of recruitment companies provide a really poor candidate experience. At SDW we strive to be different – we aim to provide regular updates, feedback, offer friendly & honest advice. whilst providing a full pro-active, tailored & confidential service. After all, a recruitment company is only as good as their candidates!
To this day, not one of the team at SDW have come from a recruitment agency background, and this is something I am keen to continue as we grow further. One of the core principles of SDW, and one of the main reasons I believe we are trusted by so many companies as their trusted recruitment partner is that the company has been built on the opposite of all that is not quite right within the recruitment industry. You know exactly what I mean I’m sure.
In 2008 we expanded to Felixstowe, which has grown considerably over the last 8 years, and we are now recognised as the ‘go to’ recruiter in Felixstowe & Ipswich for the shipping & freight forwarding industry. I am certainly looking forward to building the brand further in Felixstowe over the coming years.
Things are moving fast in the recruitment space, along with every other industry and as a company we need to ensure that we are innovative and keep pace with the changes. We’ve gone from the antiquated days of faxing CVs and putting job adverts in the newspaper. There are so many online recruitment solutions available from job boards, indeed, LinkedIn etc… and companies now have access to much of the same recruitment platforms as we do as recruiters, so we need to add true value to the process, which must not only be in the form of our established network of industry professionals but also in our human recruiting skills – something technology can never replace. However, things are changing & companies are looking for alternative hiring solutions, so we have introduced our SDW eRecruit service.
We can offer a range of recruitment solutions depending on specific requirements & budgets, from a simple online advertising package utilising all the main job boards & platforms, through to a fully managed online recruitment package, managing every aspect of the process. SDW eRecruit draws on our extensive industry knowledge and insight, combining this with the latest technology & online recruiting methods, coupled with human interaction – influence, empathy & compassion, whilst making the whole recruitment process completely transparent, fair & affordable. A fresh approach to recruitment.
However, there will also be a need for our traditional recruitment service, in which the true value comes from our expertise and contacts gained over the last 17 years & bringing people together.
I am always happy to discuss anything shipping/logistics, or recruitment related or a combination of both. Please do not hesitate to contact me either at the office on 023 8033 6633 or by email email@example.com or connect with me on LinkedIn by clicking here.
Founder & Director