Quest Magazine - Home

Independent resettlement & recruitment guide for serving Armed Forces & Veterans

Trade body forum draws on military skills for transport and distribution

Trade body forum draws on military skills for transport and distribution


11 Jun, 2024

A national trade body is drawing on the skills and insight of a former Army logistics professional to drive forward best practice across the multi-billion-pound construction industry supply chain.

The BMF (Builders Merchants Federation) has appointed Alan Harvey, Group Transport Director for Harlow Timber Group, as Sector Chair of its Transport and Distribution Forum.

The appointment comes ahead of Armed Forces Week 2024, which takes place between the 24 and 29 June.

Representing 950 merchant and supplier companies, with combined sales of £45.3bn and just under 200,000 employees, BMF members are a major contributor to the UK’s logistics and distribution economy.

John Newcomb, CEO of the BMF, said: “As the nation gears up to mark Armed Forces Week, Alan’s appointment is a great example of how veterans can bring vital skills into the private sector and make a significant contribution. “Working towards the safest and most sustainable methods of moving building materials for suppliers and merchants in our membership is a vital part of our work as a trade body and Alan’s knowledge and expertise in this area is a huge asset to the BMF.” Alan left the Army’s Royal Logistics Corp in 2018 with the rank of Warrant Officer Class 1.

In a career spanning 25 years in the forces, he worked around the globe and held roles including Regimental Sergeant Major, Staff Master Driver and Senior Instructor at the Defence School of Transport’s Advanced Training Wing. His time in service featured some significant milestones, including Head of Fleet for the British Army in London and surrounding areas, where he led logistic policy, contract management and training covering 164 sites and 2,000 vehicles.

Alan was also the British Army’s Transport Manager for London Olympic Games, responsible for fleet optimisation and road safety, as well as Transport Advisor for Royal Parades and State Events, and Military Transport Manager for the capital’s annual Lord Mayor's Show. After leaving the Army Alan joined The Fleet Operator Recognition Scheme (FORS), as Head of Auditing, before he moved into building materials supply, joining Travis Perkins Group as the Compliance and Road Risk Manager helping them to better measure, manage and reduce road risk. In 2020, he joined Harlow Timber Group and has been a key member of the BMF Transport Working Group since then. As Sector Chair, Alan leads a committed group that delivers a pan-industry approach to best-in-class transport and distribution initiatives in building materials supply.

Alan said: “As we approach Armed Forces Week, it’s a great opportunity to reflect on the incredible opportunities and skills I developed in the Army, and how well these have been received and regarded by my employer, the BMF and the wider building materials supply sector. “I’ve been able to actively contribute in the areas of road safety, the sharing of best practice and the professional development of my peers.”

Armed Forces Week is held annually to show support for those who make up the Armed Forces community, including serving troops, their families, veterans and cadets.

Both Harlow Timber Group and the BMF are supporters of the Armed Forces Covenant, demonstrating their support for the Armed Forces community through the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme, which encourages employers to support the defence community and highlights companies that share the same values as the Armed Forces.

Harlow Timber Group holds the Silver Award, and the BMF is a Bronze holder. Both signed the Armed Forces Covenant, a nationwide pledge to support military personnel both past and present, as well as their dependents, by treating them with fairness and respect in their communities for serving with their lives.

John Newcomb added: “Promoting the fact that we are an Armed Forces-friendly organisation is an important part of the Covenant we signed. “Not only does the BMF seek to support the employment of members of the Armed Forces community, we also encourage our members and others in the building materials supply industry to do the same. “In doing so we are joining the many businesses that actively welcome applications and recruit from the pool of ex-forces talent.”

Alan Harvey Royal Logistics Corp Warrant Officer Class 1