22 June 2022
Scania Financial Services supports the rapid growth of WS Transportation with a range of flexible funding solutions.
Since its formation by William Stobart and his son Edward in 2014 the distinctive blue-wrapped fleet of WS Transportation has become an increasingly prevalent sight on the UK's roads. Active across a spectrum of services ranging from general haulage to specialised applications such as the movement of high and heavy loads, the rapid and sustained growth enjoyed by WS Transportation marks it out as not only one of Britain's industrial success stories, but another major transport achievement for the Stobart family.
Behind the scenes, Scania Financial Services (SFS) has worked extensively with WS Transportation to fulfil its finance needs. The services provided extend beyond funding truck acquisition alone and into other areas, including the funding of other assets such as specialist trailers and lifting equipment.
"That flexibility is key from our point-of-view," explains David Griffiths, WS Transportation's Finance Director. "In fact, it's the second test we put potential funding partners to, the first being cost. Our finance providers have to be competitive and SFS ticks all the boxes in that respect. From there, we go on to look at flexibility.
"We're always looking for a lender that understands our business and the assets we use. I guess it would be fairly easy for SFS to say, 'Well, we'll just finance your Scania trucks,' but they don’t – they take an interest in us and ask, 'What else do you need in your business, what other capital assets have you got, and how can we help you?' We really appreciate the convenience that kind of flexible approach brings.
"SFS is very good in terms of flexibility with the actual funding too. What we look for is two or three year deals on our trucks, and SFS provides us with a menu of acquisition choices. What's more, they do this extremely quickly, which allows us to make the best decision for the business at the time. Then SFS looks at our trailers and funding them over a longer period. We run various types of trailers from flats and curtainsiders to trombones and extendables, and their useful life can be eight-years-plus. So we look to push the funding period as far as we can to maximise the benefit to us. SFS help a lot here with a range of really useful offers and options.
"Customer service is our third test factor. What we've found with some banks is that they're quite clunky to work with and slow – there's a lot of bureaucracy to deal with. The thing about SFS is that they're really quick at coming up with a solution for us. Also, in terms of paperwork, if we need to push a finance agreement through and get the funds released quickly they can turn that round in a few hours for us, which is impressive.
"In March and September, when our new trucks go on the road, we might be looking at putting on up to 100 trucks and the plan's changing all the time – things like manufacturer issues and Covid mean some trucks get brought forward and some put back. All it takes is a quick call to SFS to get the paperwork amended to get trucks taxed quicker or push the finance back; they're always really receptive to helping with changes.
"Lastly, the personal relationships we have with SFS are excellent too. The team is always very proactive, and that goes for both the frontline and backroom staff. We like the fact that they take the time to come and visit us to find out more about our business. That genuinely makes a difference, and out of all the funding providers we use I'd have to say SFS's understanding of WS Transportation is second-to-none."