The appearance of Isuzu Truck’s managing director Nikki King on the Channel 4 ‘Undercover Boss’ programme coincided with Somerset company Walton Civil Engineering reviewing its new vehicle acquisition policy. In recent years, the company has hired its 7.5 tonne trucks but, at the time the programme went ‘on air’, the management was considering the option of outright purchase. This opportunistic timing subsequently led to Isuzu being chosen for the first time as the preferred 7.5 tonne chassis/cab supplier and the first new Isuzu is now in service within the 140-strong commercial vehicle fleet operation at the Shepton Mallet based utility reinstatement company.
Following the TV programme and before making their final decision, Walton Civil Engineering took a close look at all the available vehicles at 7.5 tonnes. Ultimately it discovered that the Isuzu N75.190 was the only vehicle that could meet its minimum payload criteria of 2 tonnes of material, as well as carrying the necessary plant, tools and site equipment.
As John Binding, Logistics Director at Walton Civil Engineering said; "I saw Nikki on the television and entirely related to her ethos of customer care. Immediately, we added Isuzu to our potential supplier list. During the tender process, we also visited and spoke to other Isuzu operators who each confirmed the Isuzu reputation for impressive payload. However, we also discovered additional benefits with the Isuzu 7.5 tonner. Its low chassis and ride height successfully addresses various health and safety issues. As well as facilitating the loading and offloading of manual handling equipment, it also makes it far easier for our reinstatement teams to operate on site."
The Isuzu Forward N75.190 4×2 rigid was specified with Isuzu’s popular Easyshift transmission and a bespoke body system manufactured by Thompsons of Blackburn. The tipper body was constructed into sections, and featured an electric winch, insulated cover, and a compartmentalised toolbox system for tool storage. Although designed primarily for carrying loose bulk material, the vehicle also has the flexibility to transport various petrol driven construction tools used on site for compaction, cutting and rolling.
"The decision to switch to Isuzu for the first time represents a whole new direction for us and the end result is that we now have an impressive all-purpose vehicle that addresses the various operational issues on site. We have worked closely with Isuzu and bodybuilder Thompsons to design an overall vehicle specification that successfully meets both our operational and financial objectives. We are currently running a further evaluation exercise with the Isuzu, moving it around our depots in the South of England to gauge further staff reactions, so far the initial responses have been excellent, without exception."
Local Isuzu truck dealer in the southwest T Harvey & Sons supplied the Isuzu N75.190 and Walton Civil Engineering is expecting the vehicle to have a five-year operational life, working predominantly in the south and south west of England from Cornwall to West Sussex.
Walton’s’ John Binding was quick to praise the service they received from the Isuzu Truck dealer, commenting; "Harvey’s really are a very good ambassador for the Isuzu marque. The service and follow-up we have received so far is exactly in line with everything that Nikki King said customers could expect on the Undercover Boss programme. They have truly impressed us at every stage of this vehicle acquisition programme."