Meet the team. Neil Bird.

At Gaston Schul, our strength lies in our team. Our people bring passion and a personal touch to everything they do. In this series we introduce you to the real faces behind Gaston Schul and who drive our customers success.
Meet the team. Neil Bird.

Who are you?

I'm Neil, a Customs & Trade Advisor from Gaston Schul’s Felixstowe office in the UK. I’ve been in the industry for over 40 years and it's been a journey of constant learning and practical experience, all geared towards helping our customers manage their trade with ease.

What is the role of a Customs & Trade Advisor?

As a Customs & Trade Advisor, my primary responsibility is to ensure our customers navigate the complex world of customs efficiently. This involves conducting thorough assessments of their customs procedures, identifying opportunities for duty savings, and ensuring compliance with ever-changing regulations. I work closely with each customer to tailor solutions that align with their specific needs, focusing on optimising their customs operations for better efficiency and compliance. My aim and ambition is for Gaston Schul to be recognised as the leading consultancy in the UK and the first company that traders turn to when they need customs expertise.

Describe a typical day at work

Every day brings new challenges and opportunities. I start with customer updates, then I'm often on-site, working with customers to evaluate their operations and consult on best practices in customs management. These visits are crucial for building strong customer relationships and providing real-time, tailored advice.

Can you share insights from your career before Gaston Schul?

Prior to joining Gaston Schul, my roles spanned across managing customs clearance teams, running a customs-controlled warehouse and business development. Each position provided me with invaluable insights into the practical challenges businesses face in managing customs, shaping my expertise and approach to customer service.

What aspects of working in Customs & Trade do you find most rewarding?

The most rewarding aspect of working in customs and trade is the ability to impact our customers' success positively. By providing expert advice and streamlined solutions, I can help customers enhance their operational efficiency and compliance.

One recent project was working for a UK manufacturer, and I was responsible for their customs and logistics management. During my time with them I implemented several customs facilitations, including inward processing, that resulted in a significant reduction in their duty liabilities. This understanding and knowledge has stood me in a great position to continue helping customers with projects where I can demonstrate cost reductions in their business. It’s a great passion of mine and something I am very proud of.

What are typical challenges in Customs & Trade?

Navigating complex regulatory environments and managing accurate customs documentation are common challenges. My strategy involves proactive customer education and staying ahead of regulatory changes, ensuring that our customers are always prepared and compliant.

What do you enjoy doing in your downtime?

I have 5 children and 2 grandsons, and we enjoy holidays and lots of family time together. We also have a dachshund called Max whom I like to take walking around the local area, and, to keep fit, I am a keen runner. I even completed my first marathon earlier this year courtesy of a birthday present from my daughter.

What should customers look for in a Customs & Trade partner?

Customers should seek a Customs & Trade partner that offers not only expertise but also proactive communication and transparency. Trust and clarity are so important in navigating the complexities of customs and ensuring seamless operations.

Final thoughts

I am proud to work with Gaston Schul and help our dynamic team here in the UK make great strides in the industry and showcase our ability in the market. My focus is always on how we can do the best for our customers and our team, ensuring we deliver leading customs solutions.

Connect with Neil

Got a question about customs? Need expert advice? Contact Neil below. Discover how our suite of services at Gaston Schul can bring value to your business, from customs clearance to comprehensive training. We're here to help your business succeed.

Neil Bird