The bodybuilding arm of the multi-faceted Bevan Group pulled out all the stops to ensure that new customer Signal Vehicle Solutions could meet its own delivery commitments to a fast-growing home delivery operator.

Unit Movements, a leading provider of two-man furniture delivery services across Wales, has commissioned a new fleet of FUSO Canter 7.5-tonners with Bevan box bodies to spearhead its expansion into the West Country.

The subject of a flexible, competitively priced contract hire agreement with Signal Vehicle Solutions, six of the new trucks are now working from Unit Movements’ recently opened distribution centre in Avonmouth. The remaining two are based at the company’s established headquarters in Cardiff.

Over the last 15 years Unit Movements has completed more than one million deliveries of flat-pack furniture and other products for its biggest client, a high-profile retailer; since 2007 it has been that company’s sole supplier of home delivery services in Wales.

Unit Movements ordered the latest additions to its fleet after winning an extension to its established agreement, under which it has now been awarded responsibility for deliveries across a huge swathe of additional territory in the South-West.

Managing Director Ben Thomas says: “We set Signal and Bevan a tough, eight-week production timetable for our new trucks but I’m delighted to say they nailed it! Not only were the vehicles delivered on time, but they are also clearly built to an exceptionally high standard.”

Signal Vehicle Solutions was launched earlier this year to provide bespoke contract hire and leasing packages which are “on your wavelength”. A sister company to South Wales Mercedes-Benz Dealer Euro Commercials, it is, nevertheless, an entirely stand-alone business.

Signal offers an innovative, ‘outside of the box’ approach to the acquisition and maintenance of vehicles bearing the three-pointed star and FUSO three diamonds badge – Mercedes-Benz Dealers in Britain are also responsible for sales and support of the popular Japanese light truck range.

Unit Movements already enjoyed an excellent working relationship with Euro Commercials, through its operation of Mercedes-Benz Sprinter vans and Atego trucks. Its new Canters are range-topping 7C18 models with fuel-efficient 180 hp engines and twin-clutch DUONIC automated transmissions.

In addition to timed, ‘white glove’ home deliveries, Unit Movements provides warehousing, storage and picking support. “We are a very service-driven company ourselves, and we expect the same from our suppliers,” continues Ben Thomas.

“I was impressed from the outset with the attitude of the team at Signal Vehicle Solutions. Not only were they professional and knowledgeable, but they were also realistic about the demands of an operation such as ours – rather than cruising up and down the motorway all day, these vehicles are working in some pretty arduous terrain, negotiating narrow lanes with overhanging branches, and a host of other hazards. Bumps and scrapes are therefore inevitable, and this has been factored into what is a very competitively priced agreement.”

Turning to the bodies, Mr Thomas adds: “This was the first time we’ve used Bevan and while we weren’t looking for a ‘Disney castle’ as far as the specification is concerned, they’ve done everything we asked. Strength and durability are the key attributes of a body for us and, given the importance of these vehicles to our growth strategy, I don’t mind admitting to a certain amount of trepidation the first time I opened a pair of back doors.

“I needn’t have worried because Bevan had it ‘bang on’… the floor and panels were sturdy and robust, the fixtures and fittings clearly built to last, and the internal dimensions exactly as ordered. The vehicle was also immaculately presented, which says a lot for the bodybuilder’s commitment to quality and customer care. Bevan assured us they could deliver the eight vehicles we needed, on the date we needed them, and that’s precisely what they did.”

Signal Vehicle Solutions Operations Director James Mulligan adds: “We have identified significant potential to grow this venture, and, as our two companies have worked so well together on this occasion, we look forward to doing so in partnership with the Bevan Group.

“We’re not targeting run-of-the-mill ‘spot hire’ business. Rather, we’re focusing on longer-term contracts at the premium end of the market. We want to work with operators which, like Unit Movements, appreciate the opportunity to run quality products, with high specifications and industry-leading back-up. By aligning ourselves with customers who can be relied upon to look after their equipment, we can maintain high residual values and thereby ensure that our rates remain extremely competitive.”

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