“Technology is one of our biggest expenses. It was pencils when I started.” said Terris. “We have our own IT department and also write systems for clients and manufacturers who use our warehousing.”

For customer Carnival Cruise Line, almost everything that goes on board its fleet is transported, shipped and warehoused by Meachers. “Our long-term success with Carnival’s US owners is based, in particular, on our policy of continuous improvement. Carnival even uses our quality management systems in other parts of its business,” said Terris.

Advice and support

Meachers began using Paris Smith over 25 years ago, mainly on employment and property disposals from its portfolio of warehouses and industrial units. Today, the business relies on the firm for all of its legal support, including corporate, IP and data security advice. Paris Smith also handles Bob Terris’ personal legal affairs.

One of the firm’s earliest assignments was the disposal of warehouse premises at Southampton airport when its owners needed more space to expand. Meachers’ own growth has involved acquisitions and long-term customer contracts that require employees to be transferred under TUPE arrangements.

“We rely on up-to-the-minute legal advice from Paris Smith as employment law is changing all the time,” said Terris.

The depth of knowledge provided by Paris Smith’s team of eight employment lawyers helps smooth what can be a difficult period of transition for employees coming into Meachers.

The level of support provided by the firm extends to in- Clive Dobbin THE BUSINESS MAGAZINE – JULY/AUGUST 2020 37

house training for Meachers’ managers. “It’s important that we update them on the latest legislation and best practice,” said Clive Dobbin, a partner at Paris Smith who specialises in employment law. “We also encourage their managers to contact us whenever they have questions or issues that need our support.”

What has always impressed Terris is the way Paris Smith takes time to understand how the business is run. “We want to do things the right way for our employees and trust them to get the legal aspects right for us because they really know us,” he said.

This close level of regular contact creates real strength in the partnership. “It’s a foundation based on continuity. I have made a lot of friends at the firm over the years. I know them as individuals as well as our lawyers,” said Terris.

Beyond Brexit and Coronavirus

As the Coronavirus pandemic runs its course, supply chain activity has slowed or stalled altogether. “There’s plenty of stock being held in the UK, in fact there’s probably a shortage of space at the moment as not much is being moved. However, after Brexit, that should change significantly,” said Terris.

Such uncertain times make it hard for Meachers to prepare for Brexit. Nevertheless, the company is weathering the Coronavirus storm, helped by strong cash reserves and attentive debt collection. Terris is focused on being ready to meet staffing requirements when the economy picks up again.

“One thing’s for sure, employment law is unlikely to get any less complex in the future, so we look forward to maintaining our relationship with Clive and the firm,” he said.

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