Forklift rental giant Briggs Equipment UK has successfully outsourced its entire transport operation to Ryder Dedicated Delivery Solutions, in a true partnership approach that has seen a seamless transition
When you stock and lease more than 24,000 different forklift trucks and materials handling products, managing the transport movements to ensure customers receive the right piece of equipment, on time, and in the right condition, is no mean feat.
Throw in the myriad of road transport regulations and legal compliance that commercial vehicle operators have to deal with, together with the recruitment, training and retention of HGV drivers, and you have yourself one very big daily challenge.
Over the last year, Briggs Equipment UK has handed over its entire transport operation to Ryder’s Dedicated Delivery Solutions (DDS), in a move that has been virtually seamless. Both parties point to a long-standing relationship and an understanding of each other’s businesses for the successful integration.
But given the complex and dynamic nature of Briggs Equipment’s business, a decision to switch from running the transport operation in-house to a third-party didn’t happen overnight.
In-house to out-house
Historically Briggs Equipment UK has always run its own transport operation.
The relationship between Ryder and Briggs officially began in 2006 when Briggs’ parent company, Sammons Enterprises, acquired the material handling division of Finning UK and absorbed its contract hire vehicles, which were leased from Ryder.
“The equipment transferred over to Briggs, marking Briggs’ first experience of working with Ryder; it was purely a vehicle contract hire relationship at that stage,” explains Shaun Dennis, National Transport & Logistics Manager at Briggs.
Gradually the relationship grew to include both the contract hire of vehicles and driver supply.
“We had always managed our transport operation in-house but outsourcing the driver supply to Ryder DDS was the first ‘dipping our toe in the water’ if you like,” says Shaun. “We still handled the planning of the vehicle movements but Ryder supplied and managed the vehicles and drivers.”
However, in 2012 when Briggs acquired Barloworld Handling UK, a second logistics operator was thrown into the mix.
“Having two transport providers presented us with some operational challenges; it was often difficult to know where the responsibility lay when a problem arose. For example, was it a planning issue [i.e. a Briggs issue], or a transport provider issue,” explains Shaun.
It was at this point that Briggs decided it wanted the whole transport provision to be delivered by one provider.
Due to the complex nature of Briggs’ business, a lengthy and detailed tender process began.
Briggs supplies a vast range of materials handling equipment, ranging from a small pallet truck up to a large 40-tonne reach stacker, and everything in between.
Its customer portfolio is just as varied as its product range, with manufacturers, food suppliers, shipping businesses and builders’ merchants, to name but a few, and one-unit users through to 100 -unit users.
“We have an ever-changing customer base and things change rapidly, so we needed a transport provider that could handle this ever-changing beast,” says Shaun.
“We also knew we needed above and beyond what a general transport operator could provide. Our business is pretty unique and specialist within its industry, so we needed a transport provider that could not just work with us, but partner with us,” explains Shaun.
Already familiar with the Briggs business, Ryder played a key role in shaping the transport operation so that the whole contract could be tendered as one entity.
Ryder DDS business development director Ian Seager says he knew from the beginning that Ryder stood a higher than average chance of securing the contract because “we understood their business so well”.
“Our Briggs DDS team don’t consider themselves to be Ryder employees, they consider themselves to be Briggs employees. I think that’s a very unusual state of mind for another provider to replicate,” says Ian.
“We create this ethos in all our DDS contracts; we are perceived to be part of the customer’s team. We go to all of the strategic meetings, we are part of the daily decisions, we provide quality information back to the customer to help inform their day-to-day decisions,” explains Ian.
Ryder DDS officially won the tender in early 2017. It was awarded the contract to handle the entire transport operation, commencing in November 2017.
“Although the commercials played an important part, we chose Ryder DDS for its transport expertise, and because its company values and culture are very much aligned to ours,” says Shaun.
“We wanted a transport provider that could work with us, rather than for us. Ian and the team were people we knew we could work with as partners, rather than as suppliers,” adds Shaun.
The transport team now managed by Ryder consists of a contract manager, an operations manager, four planners and 27 drivers.
They work weekends and bank holidays and are responsible for the daily planning function, liaising with Briggs staff to plan deliveries and collections to and from customers across the country.
The primary operation is run from Briggs’ HQ at Cannock which is serviced from Ryder’s own premises in Alrewas, near Burton-on-Trent.
Ryder sites at Maidenhead, Tyldesley and Glasgow are also utilised for the contract to service Briggs’ locations in Maidenhead, Haydock and Cumbernauld respectively.
“The objective was to have a secure operating centre close to the Briggs sites to not incur any significant additional costs, whilst giving Briggs back space previously used for trailer and vehicle parking reducing congestion on the Briggs’ site,” explains Ian.
Ryder plans and carries out an average of 800 deliveries per week for Briggs, facilitated by both its own fleet and third party transport.
Although the majority of Briggs’ rental equipment consists of forklift trucks, it also leases aerial access equipment, small plant, industrial cleaning equipment, and other more obscure materials handling items that are classed as abnormal loads which require specialist vehicles and a police escort during transit.
“We manage about 50 specialist transport providers as part of the service due to the peaks that you cannot resource up for, and very specialist providers that have some unique equipment we need,” says Ian.
Not just drivers – product specialists
As far as the customer is concerned, anyone they meet is a Briggs employee.
“Our vehicles are liveried as Briggs, our drivers wear Briggs uniforms, the paperwork is all Briggs,” says Ian.
This integration extends to Ryder drivers being trained to operate and explain the different types of materials handling equipment they are delivering on behalf of Briggs.
“Our drivers are trained to be able to drive the various different forklifts on and off the trailers, as well as obtaining an electronic POD from customers via a tablet,” explains Ian.
“Our drivers are able to confirm proof of delivery to the customer and acknowledge it is in the right condition that they would expect – whether they are purchasing it or renting it,” says Ian.
A similar process is carried out for collections where Ryder drivers have to carry out a collections process so that Briggs can deal effectively with the return.
Shaun says the move to out-source the entire transport operation has freed up valuable time for himself and his team.
“Ryder DDS handle all of the essential day-to-day detail – like the O-licence compliance, the vehicle breakdowns, and the driver issues – which can be so time-consuming when you’re also trying to run a business.
“It’s allowed us to concentrate on our strategic requirements and fine-tune what we need to do as an operation, while ensuring we continue to deliver what our customers require,” adds Shaun.
“The benefit of working with Ryder DDS is that we have a relationship whereby we can talk about what we need, and they’re willing to listen to what we’re trying to do and work with us to achieve that,” says Shaun.
Ian adds: “There has clearly been an awful lot of confidence from Briggs to have placed all their resources with one service provider – and it’s paid off.
“We are an essential bridge between the Briggs sales process and the customer; we are a means of measurement of customer satisfaction and as such, the service we provide helps them renegotiate and grow their customer contracts,” adds Ian.