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FEATURE: Five minutes with Andrew Brown, Doncaster Sales Director, Gray and Adams

31 July 2019 #Features & Interviews #News #TNB News

Tell us a bit about Gray & Adams and your role with the company?

Gray & Adams is the UK’s leading manufacture of temperature-controlled bodywork. We have been in business for over 60 years and employ over 750 people on four manufacturing sites in the UK and turnover around £150M per year.

As Doncaster Sales Director, I have worked for the business for 30 years and manage the sales team at Doncaster as well as overseeing group sales meetings and marketing strategy. The G&A sales process is highly consultative and technical, helping our customers develop new delivery and storage concepts for their fleet.

What do you see as the big challenges for the trailer sector in the coming years?

UK Food retail is one of the most intensely competitive markets in the world and recently, we have seen their logistical and environmental challenges intensify.

Changes in lifestyle mean that many of us have stopped using the large out of town superstores that were a staple of food retail 10 years ago. Time and traffic pressures, particularly in cities, have led to a boom in home delivery and convenience store retailing.

Each of these growing services involves delivering large volumes of food into urban environments, where congestion and pollution become key factors.

The urban semitrailer and double deck trailer have become key models in this sector and the challenges are to make them as efficient, manoeuvrable and urban safe as possible, as well as developing electrical and hybrid fridge units to reduce emissions, noise and help to keep pedestrians and cyclists as safe as possible.

Similarly, with the rise of Deliveroo and Just Eat, the food service sector is set to maximise growth. The current size of the UK takeaway market is estimated at £10.6 billion and it is due to rise to £11.2 billion by 2021. This will mean similar pressures for this sector as its vehicles look to gain increasing access to cities across the UK.

And what do you see as the big opportunities for the sector?

The opportunities for this sector are massive. More and more products are coming under the temperature-controlled sector (such as pharmaceuticals) and with strict temperature regimes, companies are looking to reduce transport costs significantly.

This gives us a great deal of opportunity in the double deck trunking market, for instance.

Gray & Adams has more than 3,000 moving deck semi-trailers operating in the UK, both refrigerated and dry freight. They offer operators the ability to carry 44 pallets of goods (as opposed to 26) with the same driver and tractor unit, slashing customer costs and massively reducing CO2 emissions and their carbon footprint.

We are also looking forward to the Vehicle Certification Agency (VCA) normalising the 15.6m trailer length in the UK after a very long and successful trial.

What about Gray & Adams specifically. Anything exciting to tell us about?

Our very latest concept recently won the innovation award at the TCS&D Awards.

The design fully automates the loading process, which despite having been used in manufacturing for many years, is a new concept for the food industry.

With the advance of artificial intelligence and the uncertainties of Brexit, we already face a major shortage of warehouse staff in the industry. Also, the hostile environment of a cold store is not appealing to everyone.

We have helped to design an automated loading pod that holds 60 pallets at -22 degrees C, coupled with a 44-pallet double deck trailer that can be loaded in under 7 minutes, automatically. This not only ensures cold chain integrity, but also ensures a fully automated system from factory to store.

We are also trialling some zero emissions refrigeration units with several major retailers. We’re excited to see what comes next and look forward to keeping innovation, sustainability and quality at the forefront of our service.

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