Not many DIYers who pick up a paint brush ever give a moment’s thought to how their chosen colour reached their retailer. But for Cavan based Fleetwood Paints, distribution hasn’t always left them in the pink.

Fleetwood Paints is a 100% Irish-owned company and was founded in the early 1970s. Today it employs more than 130 people at its 20-acre site in Virginia, County Cavan. Fleetwood is dedicated to producing the highest quality solvent and water-based decorative paints and products possible for both the home consumer and industrial maintenance markets.

As a modern, innovative company, Fleetwood always has its eye on new trends and customer requirements, including the need to be more environmentally friendly. The result was the opening of its own Paint Laboratory in 1978 which was expanded incrementally each year to where it is today – the largest in Ireland. Here the company develops and tests new products, such as weatherclad and quick dry paints, which offer customers the same high quality they expect from Fleetwood, while at the same time using fewer components that are damaging to the environment. Over 15% of personnel is actively involved in research and development.

Such dedication does not go unrewarded: Fleetwood was the first paint manufacturing company in Ireland to be accredited with both the ISO 9001:2000 for quality management and the ISO 14001:1996 for environmental management.

However good the product, though, if it is not delivered on time, customers could well go elsewhere. Until four years ago, Fleetwood were using different carriers for different areas “…But this was not very satisfactory, nor cost-effective,” explains logistics manager Michael Yore.

“Cost is a major issue, and one way to reduce it is to improve efficiency. So we decided to find one carrier to handle the majority of our business and, in 2007, we turned to Langan Couriers. Dealing with just one company, instead of many, has created a standardisation which helps to streamline processes. It also reduced empty running of trucks and was an environmentally friendly decision, especially as Langan’s was part of TPN.

“In addition, thanks to Langan’s membership of TPN, we know the vast majority of orders can be delivered the next day, and all orders will be with our customers within 48 hours. We weren’t able to promise that sort of delivery before. We’ve increased the number of days we deliver, too, from three per week to five, Monday through Friday. And we use Langans and TPN to serve the UK.”

It’s a shame Langans doesn’t deliver elsewhere in Europe, for Fleetwood now exports to places like France, Belgium, Greece, Lithuania and even Israel. “Trucks always come in on time,” Michael emphasises, “collecting our orders in the evening. It is now a reliable part of our infrastructure and our customers appreciate the regular deliveries. They know if we say goods will be there on a certain day, they will arrive as promised.”