Thursday 22 February 2018

Good housekeeping keeps prudent family transport group on the road to success

Siobhan Creaton

The O'Connell Group has been in business for almost 40 years and is continuing to thrive despite the deep Irish economic recession.

Colm O'Connell, who works with his parents and three brothers, says it is in the lucky position of not having any bank loans, thanks to his father's philosophy that they only built a new warehouse when the previous one was paid for.

The company has 21 trucks, 134 trailers and 746,000 sq ft of warehouse facilities. It ships goods, mainly for multinational companies, to 87 countries.

It employs 45 full-time staff and had a turnover of €12m last year.

"A lot of customers are coming to us now because they see us as a solid company and they want to sign a contract with someone they know will be around in a year's time," he said.

It hasn't cut wages or laid anyone off but has introduced monthly meetings to talk to staff about the challenges the company faces. "We told them under no circumstances would we expect them to curb their lifestyle. We just needed them to do more and to make a bigger effort with the customers," said O'Connell.

"We have survived by being prudent. Making the quick buck wasn't our way," he said, referring to the property mania that has crippled many businesses.

"We take the view that if you are good at what you do, you should stick to it," and it has proved a successful formula.

In fact, while others are worried about their bank debts the O'Connell Group is more concerned about the state of the banks themselves and how this could impact on their business. They still look a bit "shaky", he says, and would urge the Government to fix them as a priority to help Irish businesses to grow.

Irish Independent

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