Logs for Sale

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Logs for Sale's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Logs for Sale is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

www.logsforsale.co.uk/

1LOGS FOR SALE |
BEST PRACTICE SPONSOR 2020
Director Peter Owen
Logs for Sale premises
In 2015, Peter Owen, director of Logs for Sale, recognised a gap
in the market. Unable to find a sufficient quality of dried wood
for his stove, he set about importing kiln-dried wood to meet
this need. Peter tells
The Parliamentary Review
about the trials
and tribulations of finding a reliable supplier, educating the public
about kiln-dried wood and managing cashflow as an importer.
I first came across the idea for the business in response to my own need; I had just
moved into a new house with a wood-burning stove and required properly dried
wood for the first time. When buying from local garages or larger retailers like
B&Q, I found it difficult to source products of sufficient quality, and so I decided
to fill this gap. Harnessing my entrepreneurial spirit, I began to research importing
kiln-dried wood and established the business in 2015.
Our first task was to find a reliable supplier. While this was difficult at the very
beginning, by the end of 2015 we had found a Latvian supplier with whom we
quickly developed a relationship. They remain our main supplier to this day and
supply us with roughly 75 per cent of our stock.
We are primarily an internet shop and distribute across the entirety of the UK. As
our sales are predominantly completed online, we do not focus on our local area
but distribute across the country, utilising our pallet network.
Educating our customers
While there are plenty of businesses in the UK that are similar to us, we feel a
number of factors set us apart. The first, and arguably most crucial, of these is our
FACTS ABOUT
LOGS FOR SALE
»Director: Peter Owen
»Established in 2015
»Based in Beverley, North
Humberside
»Services: UK-wide distribution
of kiln-dried wood and
wholesale kindling
»No. of employees: 4
Logs for Sale
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
2| LOGS FOR SALE
focus on customer education. Our
website is centred around educating
our customers, and while a lot of
our competitors may provide similar
products at a similar price, they do
not provide this level of information.
We aim to inform all of our customers
about the specifics of the product
they will need, whether this be which
species of wood to purchase or the
accessories they will need.
While the wood-burning public may be
fairly well educated about the need to
use kiln-dried wood, there is a variety
of options to choose from. We provide
the advantages and disadvantages of
all of our products on the first page
of our website. This online presence is
supported by our office team, who are
available to take orders over the phone
and provide advice directly to the
consumer. Roughly a quarter of our
sales are conducted over the phone,
and this level of advice leads to a high
rate of repeat business. Our product
is inherently consumable, and so the
retention of customers is the lifeblood
of the business.
Enforcing high standards
Beyond the functionality and
informative nature of our website,
our other key strength is the quality
of the product we provide. If you
are to import wood, it has to be kiln
dried rather than fresh. Alongside
satisfying the requirements of the
Forestry Commission and preventing
invasive insects being transported
into the country, this method leads to
the highest quality of product. Kiln-
dried wood is far more efficient and
cleaner than fresh wood, which can
include up to 50 per cent more water
and thus be hard to burn as well as
emitting far less heat and far more
pollution. As the water prevents the
wood from combusting entirely, it
will emit pollutants which are banned
throughout the UK. Wood must
therefore either be seasoned over a
year or two to lose this moisture, or
kiln dried – a far quicker and more
efficient method.
Importing this dried wood is essential
to being able to distribute across the
Popular add-on products
Our product is
inherently
consumable,
and so the
retention of
customers is
the lifeblood
of the
business
3LOGS FOR SALE |
BEST PRACTICE SPONSOR 2020
entire country. There is simply not
enough dried wood in the UK to satisfy
the market, and while local businesses
may be able to produce their own
wood, they will always be limited in
the amount they are able to provide.
Managing cashflow as an
importer
One of the main challenges we have
faced, especially at the beginning of
our company journey, has been the
delays that are inevitable when dealing
with an overseas supplier. Essentially,
we must pay our suppliers up front but
are then forced to wait for a long time
for the product to arrive in the UK.
This was a particular issue when the
company was first established, as not
only did we have to find a trustworthy
supplier, but we had to cover the cost
of our first shipment, which was in the
region of £7,000, before we were able
to generate any income.
Once the business was established,
this challenge developed. Rather
than just finding a reliable supplier,
we now needed one that was able
to keep up with our growth and our
growing demand. As we were gaining
new customers each year, with old
customers consistently returning,
over the first three years our sales
were doubling. In order to meet this
demand, we needed to find a supplier,
or a range of suppliers, that could
provide us with the necessary product.
In order to ensure we always have
stock, we have also worked to manage
our cashflow. We often buy towards
the end of the major season, when
prices are cheaper, in order to build
up our stock in advance of the new
season beginning.
As we’re an importing business, Brexit
has naturally had an impact on us.
The primary way Brexit has affected
us is through the fluctuation and
the drop in the value of the pound.
Aswebuy all of our stock from
Europe, and thus use euros, the value
of the pound is crucial. As exchange
rates have become less favourable to
us, our growth has been restricted,
and I believe we would currently be a
bigger business if the referendum had
notoccurred.
Looking ahead, we are not sure if
logistical challenges will affect us.
There has been a dearth of clear
information on this topic, but,
fortunately, as we already import some
of our wood from outside the EU, we
are experienced in this field and will be
able to adapt.
After our first four years, we believe
our customer base has solidified and
that we have reached a limit in the
size of this base, as there is simply
a finite number of customers in the
UK market. As we do not anticipate
further growth in our kiln-dried wood
sales, we have diversified to sell
wholesale kindling to both individuals
and suppliers. This will likely be our
main avenue of growth going forward.
The primary
way Brexit has
affected us is
through the
fluctuation
and the drop
in the value of
the pound
Wholesale kindling

www.logsforsale.co.uk/

This article was sponsored by Logs for Sale. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it.

Rt Hon Michael Gove's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Michael Gove

This year's Parliamentary Review comes at a momentous time for parliament, as we collectively determine the destiny of the United Kingdom. 

On October 31, the UK will leave the European Union. The successful implementation of this process is this government's number-one priority.

Three years after a historic referendum vote, we will deliver on the decisive mandate from the British people. Trust in our democracy depends on it. Until that final hour, we will work determinedly and diligently to negotiate a deal, one that abolishes the backstop and upholds the warm and close relationship we share with our friends, allies and neighbours in the EU. But in the event that the EU refuses to meet us at the table, we must be prepared to leave without a deal.

As the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, it is my job to lead on this government's approach, should that scenario happen. Preparing for Brexit is my department's driving mission. But while I am leading this turbocharged effort, the whole of government is committed to this endeavour.

Ministers across Whitehall are working together to ensure that every possibility is considered, every plan is scrutinised and every provision is made. A daily drumbeat of meetings means that we are holding departments accountable, so that preparations are completed on time.

The chancellor has confirmed that all necessary funding will be made available. And we have mobilised thecivil service, assigning 15,000 of our most talented civil servants to manage our exit from the EU.

We will make sure that on November 1, there is as little disruption to national life as possible. Our trade relationships will continue to thrive, thanks to agreements with countries around the world worth £70 billion. Our country will remain secure, thanks to nearly 1,000 new officers posted at our borders. And the 3.2 million EU nationals now living and working among us can remain confident, with absolute certainty, of their right to remain in the UK.

Above all, our goal is to be transparent. Soon, we will launch a public information campaign so that citizens, communities and businesses are ready and reassured about what will happen in the event of “no deal”.

In my first few weeks in this role, I have travelled to ports and tarmacs, borders and bridges, all across the UK –from the seaside of Dover to the rolling green hills of County Armagh. I have heard from business owners and border officials, farmers and hauliers. They are ready to put an end to uncertainty. And they are ready to embrace the opportunities ahead.

Our departure from the EU will be a once in a lifetime chance to chart a new course for the United Kingdom. Preparing for that new course will be a herculean effort. But this country has made astounding efforts before. We can do it again.
Rt Hon Michael Gove
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster