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James Pontin in Profile

Many of us will have worked with James as a colleague and Depot Manager, and many more will know James from his travels and help with acquisitions. But what does his role as a Business Integration Manager involve and how does he compare the experience of managing different depots? We caught up with James to find out..


How has your role progressed at NWF Fuels? 

I have been with the business for nearly 9 years now. Having started at Kenilworth in 2015 as a sales trainee, I then moved into the Assistant Depot Manager role in 2017 before moving to manage Droitwich between 2018 and 2019. Moving back to Kenilworth as Depot Manager in 2019, I had my first experience with acquisitions after helping integrate Midland Fuel Oils into the NWF network, which was a fun and challenging experience, managing, and running two depots side by side out of one office. We successfully did this and from then on, I managed both depots until Christmas 2022.

My role has been developed due to NWF’s growth and expansion strategy. Most recently my core responsibility entails onboarding and integrating each new acquisition. From everything to codas implementation & central function liaison to customer relationship building as well as driver management. It is a role that is ever-changing, with so many facets to a depot, no day is ever the same!

Each acquisition and project poses different obstacles and hurdles, but it is always satisfying to see each depot progressing and going from strength to strength. It is also important to learn from each acquisition. How can we better onboard an acquisition next time? What can we learn from the new business and apply to NWF Fuels?

What has been your focus for 2023?

The acquisition of Sweetfuels was my first experience of seconding to a depot to help bring them into the NWF Fuels family. This involved relocating to Faringdon and helping support the team day to day throughout our busiest period to integrate the depot into our systems. The team were brilliant and couldn’t have been more helpful and supportive of the job we were doing. Nick Seabourne was then hired as Sweetfuels Depot Manager which freed me up to go back to Kenilworth where I finished the financial year.

In June I then took the role of Business Integration Manager and relocated again to Edenbridge to integrate Geoff Boorman Fuels. Again, this was another new acquisition and very different to Sweetfuels! From transitioning from Fuelsoft to Codas and manual metering systems, the challenges were unique for each depot. However, it is good to see a strong team in place and improvements and momentum being gained month on month. I have since finished the calendar year at Eveson’s Fishers Pond, assisting the depot through a period of change. Again, with every problem, there is a solution waiting to be found. I enjoy and relish the chance to dig in and help, and ultimately a sense of satisfaction at the end that it is all worth it.


What is your experience of managing different depots? 

The similarity is the same with us and any other business, we all sell the same products and offer a brilliant service. You’d think there wouldn’t be a lot of differences, however, there are! Customer bases are different, Sweetfuels has a very close and tight delivery area, enabling a lot of close proximity drops and the ability to control costs with storage on site. Whereas Boorman’s area is almost four times the size and is reliant on fuel collection from the terminal on a daily basis, and as we all know this has its own challenges!

Both our recent acquisitions are quite domestic-focused, so it has been interesting to see the different approaches and listen to why customers choose to remain loyal to family-run businesses. This is something we need to capture and ensure all acquisitions and local depots hold on to and promote the service that makes these businesses successful!