PBM reports on the ways in which the relationship between Robert Price and Ryder is helping the South Wales-based independent builders’ merchant to expand and prosper.
The need to keep transport costs strictly within budget, whilst enjoying the reliability and image benefits that come with running a modern and efficient vehicle fleet, is driving an increasing number of builder’s merchants to outsource their HGV requirements.
Getting building products from a warehouse or yard to a customer on a timely and cost-effective basis is key to the success of any merchant. Vehicle breakdowns, unreliable drivers and ineffective unloading equipment will not be tolerated by customers for long before it starts to have an adverse effect on the company’s reputation.
Ryder notes that it is somewhat unique in the commercial vehicle sector in the UK as it is one of the few independently-owned organisations that buys and maintains all of its own vehicles. In addition to the provision of trucks and vans on contract hire, it also provides maintenance services on its customers’ own vehicles from its 29 nationwide locations. It can also provide tailored financing based on customer requirements.
The organisation also has a wide range of long-term or spot rental vehicles — from 44 tonnes down to 3.5 tonnes GVW — which can help businesses to complement their existing fleets and cope with peaks of demand.
One of the builders’ merchants that has been enjoying the benefits of outsourcing its HGV fleet for more than 20 years is Robert Price Builders’ Merchants, one of the largest independent builders’ merchant in south Wales. Founded more than 165 years ago with headquarters in Abergavenny, the company has 17 locations covering south east Wales, and specialises in supplying building products to major housebuilders, the building trade and also to the DIY sector.
The independent provides a comprehensive range of services and products that go far beyond the usual bricks, cement and plasterboard to encompass every aspect of a customer’s requirements, including roofing, landscaping, kitchen design and appliances.
“Like many companies in the building trade we started out buying and using second hand trucks for our delivery fleet,” commented Fleet Manager Ian Harper. “However, as our business expanded the need to constantly refurbish and repair these vehicles proved to be a drain on our resources so we started to acquire trucks on contract hire from Ryder about 20 years ago.
“We started with a small fleet at first, but quickly realised that the reliability, availability and cost-in-use benefits of the Ryder trucks were a real advantage to our business. So we increased our outsourcing requirements to the point where we now have 26 trucks from the firm.
“The largest truck in our fleet is a 26 tonne curtainsider for delivering bulk orders of plasterboard. We worked with Ryder to custom-design the bodywork that enabled a Moffett fork lift to be carried at the rear of the truck. We also have DAF 18 tonne dropside trucks and lightweight Mitsubishi-Fuso 7.5 tonne dropside trucks fitted with Atlas cranes,” Ian explained.
“One of the main benefits we get from outsourcing is outstanding customer service. The Ryder team understand our requirements and ensure that our trucks are serviced regularly; they also devised a plan to ensure that trucks which cannot be booked into a Ryder location are serviced by a local approved Fleet Care Centre. This works very well for us and we are always provided with a replacement vehicle whilst trucks are being serviced.”
Whether you operate a single truck or a whole fleet, the pressures being put on your business in terms of environmental impact, meeting legislative requirements and effective cost controls and budgeting are immense. Therefore, in the current challenging financial climate, it’s never been more important for firms of all sizes to refocus their resources on their core business and, with the wide range of outsourcing options and solutions now available, it can persuasively be argued that there’s never been a better time to take the hassle out of transportation.
8th August 2012