Kate Lester celebrates 30-year birthday

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Kate Lester, ‘I can't quite believe it. Thirty years, Wowsers!

Kate Lester, IOC fellow and services to industry winner, CEO of Diamond Logistics is at the birthday party this week to celebrate thirty years of Diamond Logistics.

I have enjoyed tackling all the opportunities the sector has presented to me.‘It is quite incredible how much the logistics industry has changed. Once upon a time we were Diamond Despatch with a single motorcycle and an orange D reg Astra van called Jaffa.’ ‘Now, I look at our network of 30 warehouses around the UK, with over 50% of our revenue derived from online income – which was only 5% five years ago – with much pride. Roll on the next 30.


Kate always planned for the business to have a national presence which became a reality once her children went to university and she was able to switch her primary focus from single parent to business leader, with time to diversify into overnight and international services, alongside Daniel Allen, Diamond’s Chief Innovation Officer.

Kate explains,

In 2013 we piloted the idea of our Network Partner model and welcomed our first Partner in 2014. Today we have reached 30 sites in time to celebrate our 30th birthday. This growth was enabled by bespoke technology we started developing in 2016. Diamond’s Despatchlab solution has set the business apart and it’s what the Network Partners use to win new business, especially eFulfilment. In 1992 I remember writing out our invoices by hand. And now we have an automated end-to-end technology system. To say things have changed is an understatement.


Natalie Wainwright gowned fellow of the IOC at House of Lords this year joined the business in 2019. As Group Operations Director, Natalie sits at the heart of what’s happening, in the midst of every opportunity and challenge.

‘Investment in our road networks will be key. The Virgin hyperloop will be here sooner than we think, offering sustainable transportation. This will likely become a freight carrier alongside a passenger network, reaching delivery destinations quicker than we can imagine.’


Natalie also considers the impact of rising commercial property prices.

Commercial property will be unaffordable for SMEs and scaling businesses. Outsourcing warehousing and fulfilment will continue to be the most cost-effective option.


Taking a look at the next thirty years, Both Kate and Natalie are focused on Global warming and protecting the future of the planet. Diamond is committed to electric fleets, the office cars are Teslas. Re-usable packaging and carbon neutrality.

Kate expects drone technology to disrupt existing networks.

In areas of dense urban conurbations, air-based deliveries won’t work, but for remote areas — Channel Islands, Scottish Highlands, rural communities — ‘I think drones will represent a useful delivery means. This will bring border control challenges and the control of prohibited goods, including people and drugs.