T & J Haulage Limited
Keeping the food supply chain moving
1st July 2022
With its distinctive limestone architecture and numerous claims to fame – as the town where the jet engine was developed, the home to what is believed to be the smallest Norman keep in England, and the birthplace of comedian Jimmy Clitheroe among them – Clitheroe is a very much a jewel in the crown of the county of Lancashire. Situated in the Ribble Valley approximately 30 miles north west of Manchester, the town is surrounded by verdant rolling countryside, much of which is given over to agriculture.
Serving the local farming community since 1984 is T & J Haulage Limited, whose striking fleet of Scania trucks can often be seen criss-crossing the region delivering and collecting bulk grain and animal feeds. In between times, the vehicles carry stone and aggregate for the construction industry, ensuring high levels of fleet utilisation are maintained and empty running kept to a minimum.
T & J Haulage was started as a single truck operation by husband and wife team Ted and Judy Walker. In common with many transport industry family start-ups, Ted did the driving while Judy took care of the admin side of the business. It was a winning formula, and the couple's work ethic and commitment to customer service was soon recognised, leading to more opportunities and offers of work.
Accordingly, Ted and Judy's son Richard joined the business as a driver a year later. In 1989, his brother Trevor came aboard to begin his career with the family firm behind the wheel. As the business continued to grow, both Richard and Trevor would move from the cab into the office; today, they are Director and Managing Director respectively. Judy remains on the board as a Director, but sadly Ted passed away in 2020. A third generation of family members, Trevor's sons James and Mark, are now also employed by the business.
T & J Haulage currently operates 19 heavy trucks, all of which are Scanias. Most vehicles in the fleet are R 450 6x2/2 mid-lift tractor units, but the latest addition is the R 540 Highline featured in this year's calendar. As Managing Director Trevor explains, the business has a long association with the brand stretching back over 30 years:
"Our first Scania was a 1990 H-reg 3-series tractor unit. We purchased it from our local Scania dealer, Preston Scania, and it set new levels of fuel efficiency and reliability within our fleet," he recalls. "The service and back-up from the dealer was excellent too. It didn't take us long to decide that Scania represented the future for us, so we set about replacing our other vehicles with Scanias when the time for renewal came.
"Becoming an operator of a single make of premium trucks has served us well in so many ways. Most importantly, the trucks do everything we ask of them in terms of performance and minimising running costs. The fuel consumption of our latest Scania trucks is especially good – around 1 mpg better than the previous generation – that alone saves us in the order of £5,500 a year.
"They are also extremely reliable, and should ever dealer support be required it's always there without delay or question. We purchase our trucks outright and keep them on average for four years or so. The first three years are covered by a Scania Repair and Maintenance contract, which is included as part of our purchase. That gives us complete peace of mind for a full 36 months. Thereafter we service the vehicles in-house, calling on our dealer for support if and when we need to. That again works well for us – with Scania Preston, we know that help is always close to hand."
In the traffic office, Transport and Compliance Manager Steph Crack works closely with Scania Preston via a number of online services.
"It's great," says Steph. "Firstly there's R2C, the online inspection tool. I get an email whenever work is due and asking me when we would like the vehicle to come in. I then work with our planning team to check our operational needs. We also consider our drivers, and if possible try to fit servicing in at a time that suits them personally as well as the company.
"Our dealer also looks after our tachos by downloading information from our driver and vehicle cards remotely. That means no disruption to our schedules and I have all the analysis information at my fingertips via the Scania Tachograph Services portal.
"In addition, we use Scania's telematics service. Every Monday morning, I receive an email detailing our performance for the previous week. I look at the driver evaluations and by drilling into the detail I am able to identify any issues such as, for example, excessive idling or not using the cruise control. We use that data to help develop our drivers' skills, and we share the results with all our drivers every week in the form of league tables. This gets drivers talking and, most importantly, sharing information with their colleagues on how to improve. It also brings in an element of competition – lots of our drivers want to be top of the league!"
"We go to great lengths to ensure our drivers are happy, as they are key to our success," adds Trevor. "We fit inverters to all our trucks so drivers can have a toaster or a kettle, and each vehicle has a microwave. We also allow each driver to personalise their truck with their own personal slogan or saying on the driver's door and they can pick an image for the back of the cab.
"Today, with a well-equipped Scania truck as their workplace, every one of our 18 drivers appreciates they are driving a product of exceptional quality, and that generates a huge amount of pride and respect. They keep them incredibly clean and tidy, and it's no overstatement to say you could eat your dinner off them. In fact, when one of our drivers went on holiday recently, he put a pair of rubber gloves over the pedals with the words 'KEEP ME CLEAN' written on them in felt tip pen – that's how proud our drivers are of the Scania trucks they drive!"