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Shawston International prioritises protection with Safe-T-Drop system from Bevan Group

How many business owners does it take to fill the back of a 12-tonner with Bevan Group dropside body? Twenty-five is the answer, as Shawston International discovered when it staged a competition to mark its first truck acquisitions.

Shawston International is the UK’s largest, employee-owned distributor with national depot coverage and deep stocks to service the Mechanical Services, Fire Sprinkler and Dry/Wet Riser markets. It operates from headquarters in Hyde, Cheshire, and four other nationwide depots in London, Birmingham, Manchester and Glasgow.

Shawston International can trace its roots back to the early 1970s, but has always leased its trucks and vans. The decision to change tack by purchasing the latest additions to its 25-strong fleet represents the beginning of an exciting new phase in the development of the business – its ambition now, is to own all of its vehicles.

The new trucks are based on DAF LF chassis and were delivered by dealer Motus Commercials Huddersfield to Shawston International’s High Wycombe branch, which holds Silver accreditation from the Fleet Operator Recognition Scheme (FORS).

Colleagues climbed aboard one of the vehicles to provide the solution to a celebratory challenge which had engaged the entire company. None were at risk of injury, though, because both vehicles are fitted with Bevan Group’s patented Safe-T-Drop system. 

Purpose-designed to eliminate any risk of a fall from height by operatives working on the vehicle bed, the impact-resistant Safe-T-Drop rails are easily folded away for loading and unloading. Raising the dropsides is also quick and simple; they can only be closed with the rails in place, ensuring correct use at all times.

Shaun Imrie, Shawston International’s Group Head of Operations & Compliance, confirms: "We take great pride in our commitments to safety and compliance, and Bevan’s working-at-height system is definitely the best I’ve seen.”

Puddy’s Vehicle Solutions arranged competitive funding for Shawston International’s new trucks, while also negotiating on its client’s behalf with Motus Commercials and Bevan Group – the finance brokerage and bodybuilder enjoy a well-established commercial relationship, having worked together on several other projects in recent years.

Mr Imrie recalls: "PVS have been fantastic, while Bevan Group Sales Director Roy Shelton explained everything in very simple language and went through the specification in detail to ensure the bodies were perfectly tailored for our requirements.”

A number of the vehicles already in service with Shawston International were also built by Bevan Group, and the operator was keen to benefit once again from the reliability and durability of the West Midlands-based manufacturer’s bodies.

Such is Bevan Group’s confidence in its products, processes and people, as well as its determination to provide the highest standards of aftercare, that it recently introduced the sector’s most comprehensive warranty, a five-year commitment which provides unrivalled peace of mind for customers.

"These smartly branded new trucks represent a significant investment, but after five years they will start adding serious value to our business,” continues Shaun Imrie. "We’re confident we can get 10 years of use from them, and our previous experience of Bevan Group’s hard-wearing build quality leaves us in no doubt that its latest bodies will stand that test of time.”

Shawston International has been a fully employee-owned business since 2015. The fact that all 120 staff members are primed to think like owners is reflected in unrivalled service levels, which explains why it continually enjoys a 98% customer satisfaction rating. Each year its trucks transport more than one million items together weighing in excess of 250,000 tonnes and make some 65,000 deliveries to sites.  

PVS Sales Director Paul Tregale adds: "Many businesses require finance to fund assets and on completion of the payment terms want to take ownership of the vehicles then sweat them as much as they can, to obtain a fantastic return on their investment. As well as arranging finance we add value for our clients by working with a number of bodybuilders and converters. Bevan Group’s quality and service puts it right up there with the very best.”

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