Suffolk-based AJN Steelstock has welcomed the opening by local Mercedes-Benz Dealer Orwell Truck & Van of an Authorised Testing Facility for truck MoTs at its new branch in Newmarket.
The two companies have forged a successful partnership based on Orwell’s outstanding back-up, as well as the class-leading reliability and fuel-efficiency of AJN’s Mercedes-Benz trucks, and their popularity with its drivers.
The family-owned steel stockholder operates from headquarters at Kentford, on the outskirts of Newmarket, and a second site – acquired last year – at Henstridge, near Templecombe, Somerset.
It holds more than 20,000 tonnes of steel products in a comprehensive range of sizes and lengths, and has in-house sawing, shot-blasting and painting facilities, as well as a state-of-the-art CNC drilling line, allowing it to meet the most demanding of material processing requirements.
AJN runs a fleet of 43 trucks – most are 26-tonne rigids although the line-up also includes 19 tractor units and a couple of 18-tonners. All wear three-pointed stars with the exceptions of a trio of French-built vehicles – when they are replaced the company will complete its transition to an all-Mercedes-Benz fleet.
The latest additions to the line-up are five Actros 2543 tractors with low-height ClassicSpace cabs and 315 kW (428 hp) six-cylinder engines. As previously, they are the subject of CharterWay contract hire agreements with Mercedes-Benz Financial Services.
Orwell Truck & Van delivered 14 examples of the same model last year, along with nine 6×2 Antos 2536 rigids that have specialised, steel-carrying platform bodies, by GK Harvey, of Attleborough, Norfolk.
Fast-growing AJN Steelstock relies on its Mercedes-Benz trucks to supply its product range to customers across East Anglia, the Midlands, Home Counties and London.
Transport Manager Michael O’Brien confirmed: “Mercedes-Benz is now well established as our favoured marque. The Actros and Antos are modern, reliable and fuel-efficient vehicles which are well liked by our drivers, who particularly appreciate their comfort and smooth-changing Mercedes PowerShift transmissions.
“Contract hire also suits us well as an acquisition method – it’s competitively priced and, thanks to the fixed-cost maintenance element, allows us to budget with confidence knowing there are no nasty surprises around the corner.”
Every bit as important, though, is the back-up that AJN Steelstock receives from Orwell Truck & Van. The Dealer moved in February from its previous base on the Pines Industrial Estate in Exning, Newmarket, to a flagship, £1-million base on the same development. In April an inspector from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency carried out the first MoT test at the dealership’s new Authorised Testing Facility.
“Orwell’s workshop team provide a brilliant service,” continued Mr O’Brien. “ATF Supervisor Sarah Smith sorts everything out for us; I can’t fault her, or any her colleagues.”
He continued: “The Dealer would previously prepare our vehicles and then take them to an independent centre for testing. The fact that our MoTs, and indeed tacho work, can all now be undertaken under one roof is a lot better – it minimises downtime and, because the trucks are being tested with the same equipment that was used to prepare them, means we’re even more likely to get a first-time pass.”
AJN Steelstock began trading in 1951 as Percy Fulcher & Co. The firm was founded by John Boyden and his business partner, and supplied primarily agricultural customers with non-prime and reclaimed materials. Expansion followed and the partner left the company, with John’s sons Alan and Neil joining in the 1990s. At this point the company’s focus switched from non-prime steel to the prime market, and it adopted the new name AJN Steelstock, the AJN standing for Alan, John and Neil.