Malory Davies has retired as editor of Logistics Manager after more than 15 years, and received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Supply Chain Excellence Awards 2019 last night. Johanna Parsons pays tribute to what makes him such a revered journalist and valued colleague.
There’s not much about logistics, transport or supply chain that Malory Davies doesn’t know. After several decades in the field his knowledge is encyclopaedic.
And Malory’s knowledge is not just theoretical. He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport, he holds the transport manager’s CPC, and in his earliest years as a budding reporter he was dispatched onto the open road as a driver’s mate in a tramper bound for Italy. The experience was certainly enlightening. Along with the mechanical and organisational challenges of driving an HGV across long distances he also witnessed the finer art of managing cross border transit. He learned that a few cases of cigarettes and bottles of whisky were invaluable tools of the trade.
Malory had another cigarette-based story of his earlier years. Back in the days of hot metal he was a prodigious smoker and apparently the pressure was so great that in order to keep up his pace at the typewriter another member of staff was tasked with lighting his cigarettes and posting them to his lips! Though younger colleagues were shocked to hear this they could well believe it on the evidence of Malory’s ferocious work rate. Everyone who has worked with him will attest to his dedication.
Integrity is a basis for all Malory’s work. If a statistic hasn’t been independently verified, it doesn’t go in. A great maxim is that you should be prepared to not only stand by your work in a court of law but also by a far tougher test: to see it in the pages of Private Eye.
He is scrupulous about due diligence which came to the fore on the annual Top 50 supplement. This involved surveying hundreds of logistics service providers and verifying submissions by combing the records at Companies House. Shortly before going to press one year, Malory realised in the middle of the night that one of the newer business models didn’t fit the normal criteria and would require an additional Top Ten with new parameters. The next morning Malory arrived to work on time (though perhaps not unruffled) with the extra Top Ten section researched, ranked, and ready to be proofed.
The scope of Malory’s organisational capabilities has won him great esteem. His forward planning means that to the uninitiated it could appear that the elements of the magazine would simply fall into place, though of course each page represented hours of tireless effort. He managed the pressure, people and processes of publishing with a deft touch and if the unexpected arose he could always come up with a plan B.
He never asked anything he wasn’t prepared to do himself, in fact he usually did do it himself. He never retreated from the brunt of the daily tasks of maintaining websites and publishing multiple newsletters all while writing the news and producing the magazines and myriad supplements. He would often remain glued to the keyboard whilst his staff were out at press conferences or important lunch meetings – which was greatly appreciated by said staff. Busy as he inevitably was, he always made time to support his colleagues. He had great patience when tutoring novice reporters, would stoutly defend his writers if required and he remains a mentor to at least one.
His boyish humour and infectious chuckle would often lift the mood in the office. He was never rude at work, except memorably once when on answering the phone he let fly a tremendous volley of expletives before hanging up. The room was silenced in shock at this uncharacteristic outburst, before he admitted with a grin that the call had been a pre-recorded message regarding PPI.
Malory is a true professional and is respected as an editor of the highest standard. By the end of his tenure at Logistics Manager he was producing some 17 magazines per year not to mention copious online content as well as judging awards, hosting roundtables and more. True to his nature Malory hasn’t taken much of a break as yet, with plenty of new work on his agenda as well as his keen interest in cycling and photography.
We wish him the very best of luck with his new ventures and it just remains to thank him for his work to make Logistics Manager the leading magazine in the field. The high standing of this publication is proof of the dedication and talent that he brought to his work. Furthermore, in researching this tribute a common opinion from colleagues and freelancers was that he is the best editor they ever worked with. So thank you Malory, and we wish you a long and happy life after Logistics Manager.
Rules for perfection
Those who have worked alongside Malory have gained from his wisdom regarding many things, from how to calculate EBITDA and the merits of various axle configurations to the musical works of Gong, and not least coffee. Malory would never describe himself as a connoisseur, but he’ll admit to being a stickler and his passion has yielded the following rules for the perfect cappuccino:
1. The only acceptable milk is full fat cow’s
2. It is essential to consume the cappuccino before noon, ideally at 11am
3. Under no circumstances may chocolate powder be involved
A few words from friends:
“Malory’s an old school journalist – so to learn from him in my first reporter role was an invaluable experience. And although Malory was my boss, it never felt that way – we were first and foremost friends, colleagues second. We always had a laugh at the magazine, but some of my favourite memories with Malory are outside the office, at The Boot and Flogger. Usually to be joined by Nick Allen or Maria Highland, we’d indulge on wine and three courses during these “editorial” lunches. Malory would tell us all about his wild younger days; most of the stories I dare not repeat! Although Malory thought we were surprised by his anecdotes, I don’t think we were, he’s always had a gleam in his eye…”
“It was a great piece of luck when we managed to persuade Malory to join us in 1999 to publish and edit Distribution Business. The magazine, a worthy but slightly dull publication, was revitalised by Malory who introduced new features, a re-design and expanded the offering including the launch of an annual series of property conferences. The best testimonial to the results comes from senior industry figures including Tim Peet, divisional managing director, Wincanton Logistics who asked us to send the magazine to his home address as “it is essential reading and my colleagues pinch my copy if it comes to the office.”!
“Subsequently he and the team relaunched Distribution Business as Supply Chain Business and at a later stage merged the title with Logistics Manager.
Malory was also instrumental in training and working with new aspiring journalists, some of whom then went on to careers in the publishing business.
“I could never work out how Malory managed to get through so many cigarettes every day and many a “strategy meeting” was held on the pavement outside the office while Malory disappeared behind a cloud of Silk Cut. Fortunately he managed to give the habit up much to everybody’s (including his doctor) relief. Also quite baffling was his encyclopaedic knowledge of ancient and exotic rock groups who occasionally resurfaced for gigs. To avoid embarrassment I will refrain from mentioning Sunderland FC.
“He claims that he will become a gentleman of leisure. I have no doubt about the gentleman part but question how much leisure there will be.”
“Well, Malory has always been extremely conscientious as we know and, of course, an excellent journalist in the true tradition, constantly on the lookout for a great story. He has always amazed me with his dedication to analysing the financial results of supply chain related businesses – looking back into published company accounts. Quite an undertaking! He has always been very fair and loyal to friends and colleagues, and is principled and kind.
“Working together at both UK Transport Press and Centaur, often at adjacent desks, we would share our thoughts and opinions on may subjects, often far beyond logistics – venturing into realms I barely know anything about, such as cooking, where I have no practical knowledge at all. In fact, one of the few meals I have prepared from time-to-time to impress the family is a fish recipe Malory gave me – a triumph every time! However, working close by to Malory had its drawbacks too and frequently demanded warm clothing. Whatever the weather, the window would have to be left open – even in absolutely freezing conditions! Of course, something that shouldn’t be overlooked is that Malory is great fun and has a wonderful sense of humour.
“Malory has always had a keen interest in motorbikes – perhaps, now in retirement, he will have the opportunity to fulfil his desire to speed around London and the home counties on a classic Triumph. Given his predilection to spread the news, could despatch riding be his next career move?”
“I have known Malory Davies for some forty years man and boy (Malory) and old geezer (me). When we first met, around 1980 I guess, he was a pie hot and keen young news reporter in the transport press and wore a hat with the word ‘Scoop’ tucked into the headband. Blonde and slender, he chased stories, found them, and earned the admiration of his sources, colleagues and readers. As the years passed his growing experiences evolved him into a high class editor and commentator on all things transport and logistics, a true professional valued by his publishers and respected by his staff. A professional journalist to be respected and admired.
“Now the jig is up and it is time to move on and maybe relax a little. Congratulations Malory on a stellar career and please remember – retirement is more important as the beginning of something new to enjoy, rather than the end of what has been before. Thanks for the memories and for using my stories. Sometimes.”
This feature originally appeared in the November 2019 edition of Logistics Manager: click here to subscribe to the print edition