Primeline Group – Ireland’s Best Kept Secret
Primeline Group, the largest Irish independent provider of end-to-end logistics, sales, marketing, AND storage solutions, is set to accelerate its growth over the next two years.
The private Irish business, based in Ashbourne, some 20 km from Dublin airport, employs around 1,000 people across the island of Ireland and with facilities in UK is the largest company in its sector in the country. The business was founded over 30 years ago by Danny Geoghegan who is now Chairman of the company.
“We provide game-changing solutions for the world’s leading brands. That means that we manage the supply chain from the point of manufacture to the retailer shelf and end consumer using our Business Divisions: Primeline Sales and Marketing, Primeline Logistics and Primeline Express,” Group CEO Tim Cummins describes the core business.
He explains that Primeline is effectively a supply chain business, unique in the sense that its core offering will range from warehousing, transport, customs management right up to sales, merchandising, promotion management as well as full product ownership. The breadth and depth of this offering is what makes the company unique in Ireland.
Last year, Primeline acquired an e-commerce company, expanding its range of services even further with an e-fulfilment capability, making it a one-stop shop for leading brands including Mars, Nestle, Colgate, Molson Coors, Japanese Tobacco, Boots and many more.
Wide Coverage, Fast Service
“Our well-spread infrastructure covers every town, big and small, and any retail outlet regardless of its size,” affirms Mr Cummins, adding that on a weekly basis, the company makes some 25,000 deliveries, servicing around 7,500 retailers.
Group HR Director Nikki Mullin points out that the sheer scale of the capability is a strong selling point: “While we have competitors in all of the different areas in which we operate, there isn’t anybody doing everything that we do. With the comprehensive service offering and our extensive assets, including in excess of million square feet of warehousing space, I often say that Primeline is Ireland’s best kept secret.”
Yet another point of difference is the company’s express logistics business, Primeline Express, in charge of UK-Ireland deliveries on a next-day basis – a much appreciated service as it removes the need for customers to have a warehousing capability within the island of Ireland.
Primeline manages the customs clearance using its sophisticated proprietary customs solution, with the software embedded in the HMRC and Irish Revenue platforms, enabling quick clearance.
Tim Cummins admits that Brexit was a major challenge at the beginning, but Primeline has managed to turn it into an opportunity. “Challenges remain in terms of every customer having different needs. We deal with different types of commodities, covered by separate sets of rules, so if needed, we bring in external expertise to minimise any duty for our customers and to ensure free flow of goods.”
Primeline’s outstanding per-formance has been duly recognised. Last year, Primeline Group achieved the BRCGS accreditation (Brand Reputation Compliance Global Standard), the gold standard in terms of food safety auditing – an achievement the company is rightly proud of.
Primeline has also collected numerous awards for its human resources initiatives. Ms Mullin explains: “We have embarked on a huge cultural transformation over the last couple of years, a cultural transformation rooted in a values-based culture.”
“As a result, we have rolled out a number of different initiatives, including really powerful employee development programmes for all levels, from operators to senior managers.
“What has been particularly brilliant about these programmes is that that they bring in not only new talented people but, equally, recognise the colleagues that have been here for long periods of time, those who have contributed to the success of the business to get us to where we are today. This combination of fresh ideas and experience and knowledge benefits us all.”
She explains that staff engagement is key for the company. For example, as part of one of its award-winning programmes, the management launched the 10K challenge, asking the staff to come up with ideas for major savings and improvements.
“As a senior leadership team, we were blown away by the breadth of thinking and the calibre of talent that we have in the business. There have been many brilliant proposals, some of which have now been, or are planned to be, implemented. A good example is energy savings by means of installing solar panels, a project that we are now actively working on. Sustainability has been an important topic and we all work towards minimising our carbon footprint.”
The company is recognised as a good employer, with staff turnaround lower than the industry average, and with job vacancies filled quickly. In this respect, the company appreciates the support of Kaizen, the provider of workforce solutions, which optimises the power of people to drive organisational & personal growth.
For its efforts in the human resources development area, the Primeline’s HR team became the finalists in 4 categories for the Irish HR Champion Awards and took home two awards: its Forward Thinking Leaders Programme won the category for Champion Leadership Programme 2022, and Nikki Mullin herself became the Irish HR Champion of the Year 2022.
Despite the continued turbulent market conditions, Primeline is preparing for further growth. The company won several major contracts over the last few years and has embarked on a full business transformation programme to enhance its technology and capability.
“Those solid foundations centred around a people-based culture, technology and infrastructure have enabled us to achieve double-digit growth over the last few years, while demonstrating a fantastic resilience through challenging times,” says Tim Cummins. “We are projecting double-digit growth also for 2023 and are going to further invest in business expansion.”
Reflecting on the coming years, he affirms that Primeline will further build on its core strengths, with a view to move into the B2B space, and explore potential acquisitions. The plan is also to expand Primeline’s traditional FMCG sectors, potentially adding pharma and healthcare.
“In the next 12 months, we’re looking at another two to three hundred people joining the business. We are now embarking on a ‘multi-million’ investment in a new, state-of-the-art RTC facility of 350,000 square feet equipped with the latest automation technology, with 40 to 50 thousand pallet positions of storage, probably the largest of its kind here in Ireland for a 3PL Provider. This investment, quite significant for an Irish company, demonstrates the trust in our business model, and the trust in our growth.”
Nikki Mullin, Group HR Director & Tim Cummins, CEO, Primeline Group