Interview with Matthew Terry, director
Tell us a bit about your business. When were you founded, where are you based and how many people do you employ?
Tipmaster was established in 1968 by our current Chairman, Ian Terry. The roots of the company go a lot further back, to 1886 as The Crownfield Cycle motorcycle company. It diversified through motorcycle repair and manufacture in to vehicle bodies in the ‘50s. An employee (my late grandfather) bought the company in 1960 and later that decade the company was manufacturing bodywork for larger tippers, along with motor repairs and a Ford retail dealership, all in Leyton.
Ins 1967 the business moved to our present location at Rigg Approach, Leyton: a purpose-built factory with land for storage of vehicles. In 1968, Tipmaster was established and our first small tipper was manufactured in-house: a Ford Transit with front end tipping gear and an electro-hydraulic power pack. The usefulness of the Tipmaster soon caught on and the little tipper became popular in many areas, from house building to local authority and refuse collection.
Now, Tipmaster, under the Terry family-owned Parent Company, Crownfield Holdings, manufacture a bespoke range of tippers and bodywork, working closely with the chassis manufacturers producing bodywork for specialist applications.
At our London facility we employ 30 people, with the group employing a workforce of more than 100 people over 3 locations with two franchised vehicle dealerships, waste management company, precision engineering company, a rapid prototyping and model making company and a classic car engine rebuilding company.
What does the business do?
Tipmaster manufactures bespoke and specialist tipping bodies and bodywork. The product range includes tipping bodies manufactured in steel and aluminium, caged tippers with options of tail and bin lifts, high sided tippers designed for the waste and forestry industry, and custom-built recycling tippers with multiple storage areas for segregating waste.
To support our customers we provide an excellent after care with support when needed, a national network of service agents and online ordering of spare parts.
We work closely with the chassis manufacturers and their dealerships, along with some of the UK’s biggest construction companies, facilities management companies, councils, forestry, road and highway maintenance companies, offering a complete service nationwide.
How is business? What’s the outlook for the year ahead?
There has been a number of challenges over the last 12 months and notwithstanding the battle with the Covid-19 pandemic, we still hold a positive outlook for the year ahead.
As many companies in our industry have needed to, we have introduced measures that have allowed us to continue to manufacture and deliver our products to our customers, ensuring that all employees have had confidence that they’re coming to work safely. During the first lockdown, we were providing services and equipment to customers that have been crucial to the continuation of waste collection and disposal, which were regarded as key services by government. We received letters from councils requesting that we stay open and continued to provide a service that helped keep their vehicles on the road during the pandemic’s peak.
We have a strong order book, and although Covid-19 has impacted on business confidence we have not experienced a direct drop on demand.
What are the big issues or technological advances that fill you with positivity?
The forthcoming environmental challenges make this a really exciting time for our industry. We had our first experience of working with hybrid trucks many years ago and, after a delay caused by Covid-19, we are expecting our first order of electric vehicles next week: chassis cabs requiring waste management bodies.
We work closely with chassis manufacturers to ensure that we are always looking for ways to improve, such as reducing weight while retaining strength and durability, or making bodywork more recyclable. For waste management in particular, bodies lead a hard life and strength is absolutely vital.
We remain certified to work on the latest technologies, such as electric vehicles, due to working closely with vehicle manufacturers and we type approve everything that we do. We look forward to seeing what is thrown at us next and tackling the next challenge.