Alwin Limited, which began life almost 50 years ago as a non-ferrous waste specialist, and still has a four-acre waste site in the West Midlands, has branched out successfully into pan-European temperature-controlled distribution.
The current joint-managing director of the family owned firm, David Rowlingson, who shares the responsibilities with his brother Stuart, says the recent arrival of two high-spec New XF 530 FTS tractors to the fleet is a reflection of both the company’s growth and its confidence in its future.
The New XFs, which have double-mounted trailing axles, also feature the new Traxon automated box, full all-round air suspension, leather trimmed cabs with microwaves, lower spoilers and side-skirts in a very continental style spec. David Rowlingson comments, “We are not ones to hide in the background. We are a successful operation and we want our customers, and their customers, to see us around their premises and know they are dealing with a business that does things properly. Nobody ever got well-known by not being noticed!”
Fuel is a major consideration for any operator, and Alwin Limited was certainly tempted by the manufacturer’s claims of up to 7% savings with the New XF. It had a number of year-old XFs already on the road, alongside a couple of other marques, but the new trucks are more than delivering on DAF’s claims.
“It’s extraordinary really,” says David Rowlingson, continuing, “We are already very happy with the fuel and, as the trucks settle in and drivers get used to them, it is getting better and better every week. We were delighted with our XF additions last year, bur these New XFs are already better on fuel, and in our new long- distance operations that makes a huge difference for us. We’re already recording 7.2% improvements, and as they bed in it should only get better.”
Ironically, it was Alwin’s history in the non-ferrous scrap business that first took its fleet into Europe and paved the way for this diversification. “We’d been running very successfully in the scrap business, mainly aluminium, for many years, and still are. A great deal of it was being sent over to Europe, so we already knew what we were doing in that direction, and when the idea of looking at another venture came up, the temperature-controlled business was a natural fit.
There are a lot of food processors and manufacturers in the Midlands and South,” he said, “so finding business wasn’t too hard. Once we found it though, we were determined to do three things – do it well, do it profitably and keep it!” With the two New XFs bringing fleet numbers up to 26, and a dozen fridge trailers coming onto the fleet in the last 12 months alone, Alwin Limited is clearly doing all three. Service support for trucks and trailers on the fleet is provided largely through Imperial Commercials in Halesowen, though the latest DAF additions are serviced through The Thomas’s Group in Birmingham, through which the vehicles were sourced.
Under David Rowlingson’s guidance, the business that his father got involved in back in 1969, has set some sound operating principles to which it adheres tenaciously. “We won’t do things on the cheap,” says David, “and that includes investing in trucks and trailers as well as the sort of work we do. We don’t set out to be the cheapest, but we are certainly far from being the most expensive in both our key business areas. We’d rather know we can afford to do things right for our customers and our own staff – we have dedicated drivers for each truck on the fleet and it’s fair to say the New XF drivers are loving the power, style and comfort. I think the whole industry is becoming more and more professional these days, so trying to do things on the cheap just cannot be right.”
Already, Alwin is looking at the possibility of more trucks and trailer acquisitions, as it weighs up the value of a potential three-year contract with a new customer, and is currently processing upgrades to its O-Licence to keep up with potential demands.
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