Home: November 2006 › Road to success
Road to success
30/11/2006 | Channel:
Logistics / Packaging
Brit European Transport is the UK's leading specialist transporter of commercial vehicles and bulk liquids
Brit European Transport (BET) has over 80 years experience in providing efficient, specialised transport to customers in the UK and Europe. Based in the UK, the
company provides tailor-made transport solutions for commercial vehicles, plant machinery and ancillary equipment, and for bulk liquids. To improve its service to
European customers BET is currently in the process of acquiring an associated Dutch business.
“BET began its involvement with commercial vehicle distribution in the early 1990s, and today we operate in two distinct markets, commercial vehicles and ancillary equipment distribution, and bulk liquids,” says Tony Hammond, operations director at BET. “Our current fleet of around 105 vehicles specialises in the collection and distribution of commercial vehicles from factories in mainland Europe to end users in the UK.”
Key to the company’s success is the importance it places on customer service: “The way in which we handle the customer's products is paramount,” Tony explains. “When you are delivering a new commercial vehicle, or a piece of plant equipment it has to be supplied in pristine condition. The client has a clear programme of production, which includes delivery within a very tight, predetermined timescale and we have to comply with all of the criteria within an agreed price structure.
“What makes this difficult is that when operating a specialist transport service one has extreme volume variances, making it hard to determine how to pitch your fleet,” he continues. “We conduct full reviews with our customers each month to ensure we are aware of likely volumes or forecasted changes, and how we will deal with an extreme peak or reduction of volume. Presently, due to the introduction of Euro Four volumes are going through the roof, which is very good for us.”
In order to be more responsive to customers in mainland Europe, the company is in the process of acquiring a Dutch business: “We are already working with the company, but we are looking to acquire some shareholding to make it official,” says Tony. “The acquisition is driven by the need to be more responsive to the individual needs of customers in Europe. Also, despite the fact that the English Channel is only 22 miles wide at its narrowest point, there are still many obstacles against a seamless distribution network, which we need to eradicate.
“Consequently, we are currently separating our UK and European operations so that each fleet will respond to the needs at port,” Tony explains. “This will reduce our costs significantly. Traditionally, a vehicle would travel from the UK to Europe and back, which is very costly in terms of time away from base, and transportation costs. In addition, our response time will be shortened considerably.With European based vehicles we can respond much faster, and reduce our expenses in terms of non-productive time out.”
Competition in the industry has led BET to look further at providing additional
services: “There is evidence that there could be additional players in the UK market soon so we are looking at the ancillary services we provide,” Tony comments. “We have started Brit Drive Ltd, which is a trade plate operation that compliments our transport and distribution.We also have a joint venture with Silver Arrow Logistics, which is wholly owned by us, and this is involved with the movement of new vans and cars with the potential for the movement of second hand vehicles.”
In a move that reflects the reputation of BET among its customers, the company has recently had a major contract renewed with an existing client: “We have been working for MAN for a considerable number of years,” says Tony. “After recent discussions they have renewed our existing contract with them for two more years. The services provided for MAN, include collection of vehicles from their factories
in Germany and Austria, and the delivery of all new chassis into the UK market place. It is a significant contract for us, and we believe the amount of vehicles
ransported per year will be in excess of 6000.”
Tony believes that despite there being many opportunities for further success, BET faces challenges regarding rising costs: “In our industry fuel costs are one of the
most vital factors in our operations, and we spend around £4 million per year on fuel, which is around 35 per cent of our total costs. Alongside this, we are facing
increasing competition from foreign countries including France, Belgium, Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria and Turkey. The problem is that these countries have considerably lower costs bases than us, due to lower labour
expenses and reduced fuel prices, so we must counter this.
“However, we are confident that we will continue to consolidate our position as the leading mover of commercial vehicles in the UK, whilst looking to diversify into
alternative business sectors.We can rely on our key strengths of extremely experienced drivers and operators, who are knowledgeable about the products they carry, and dedicated to the job in hand,” Tony concludes.
Brit European Transport Ltd
Industry Specialist transportation