Partnership based on trust and respect

The UK is one of the world’s toughest markets yet Volvo Trucks has successfully established itself as a leading provider of complete transport solutions. The key has been building a customer-centric organisation and a culture based on respect, trust and empowerment.
Ian Ashley and Martin Williams
Ian Ashley and Martin Williams

In any business, there are many figures and KPIs for measuring progress and success, but when it comes to the Volvo Group’s vision, there is only one opinion that counts: the customer. For Faccenda Foods, one of the strengths of Volvo Trucks is its willingness to be a partner rather than just a supplier.

Today Faccenda Foods is one of the UK’s largest food businesses with a turnover of over £500 million. 

“We are very focused on how we grow our product to a really good quality and how we grow our business,” says Ian Ashley, Head of Transport and Safety Operations, Faccenda Foods.

Faccenda Foods currently has a fleet of 128 large goods vehicles, which not only transport produce to customers, but also transport deliveries between the company’s different sites. Every year, the company calls for tenders for vehicle renewals, which must then be carefully evaluated.

“If you’re using a truck for five years, it’s no good looking at how much you saved with a cheaper truck knowing that at the end of the five years, they’ve caused us all sorts of problems because of their reliability, which costs us money,” says Ian Ashley.

Faccenda Foods prides itself on its excellent service delivery record. Downtime not only threatens that reputation, but a single late delivery could cost a sale in the region of tens of thousands of pounds. 

In 2015, after a concerted effort from the Volvo Truck and Bus Centre in Milton Keynes, Volvo Trucks won the contract to supply Faccenda Foods with 32 vehicles. In 2016, they won the contract again, this time for 29 vehicles.

By his own admission, Ian Ashley is a demanding customer. 

“I like things to be right and therefore I’m quite specific on what I want on the trucks and how I want them done. They know that if I have a bad experience, I won’t hold back on telling them so, but they’re really responsive to that.”

What has particular impressed Ian Ashley has been Volvo Trucks’ openness and transparency.

“Volvo is more upfront in what they can offer. When you talk to other manufacturers, they’ll say ‘that’s the deal’. But with Volvo they’ll come and say ‘we’ve got a deal, however don’t forget we can help manage your fuel economy, we can help with the telematics and we can help by doing this or help by doing that’. We have a good relationship. It’s more of a partnership rather than a ‘you sell it, I’ll buy it’, type of scenario.”

As part of their partnership, Volvo Trucks sends a fuel watch manager to Faccenda Foods on a regular basis, which then analyses fuel and driver data. When he identifies potential areas for improvements, a driver development manager will then work with Faccenda Foods’ drivers. 

“Some people think you take an order for a truck, you deliver it, and that’s it – but that’s actually the start,” says Martin Williams, Sales Director, Volvo Truck and Bus Centre Milton Keynes. 

“For us, it’s then about helping them after they’ve got the trucks, to make the trucks more profitable.”

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