What range of products and services does Weightlifter currently provide?
We provide the agriculture, construction and waste sectors with tipping trailers, rigid tipper bodies and associated support services. We concentrate on maximising customer productivity with payload efficient and durable products, so a lot of what we do is built in alloy.
Our skills here give us a real advantage, while our PPG Fabrications business is renowned for its alloy rigid tipping bodies and our Smoothline insulated tipper carries the largest payload on the market.
We also have very active repair and refurbishment operations at our two manufacturing facilities. Jobs range from small body repairs through sheet system repairs to quite extensive body modifications.
Any new products or innovations to talk about at Weightlifter?
The last few years have been very busy for us with product developments. Just 12 months ago we launched a non-tipping walking floor trailer for the carriage of aggregates and asphalt. We took many months to talk to operators so we could really understand their needs and, importantly, their frustrations with their existing products. We are now following the same development process for a new belt discharge trailer – watch out for it around the middle of the year.
This last year has also seen us completely redesign our bulk and rigid steel tippers to be lighter, more robust and more cost effective for our customers.
How has the company moved forward since the change of ownership in 2019?
Despite all the challenges that Covid has brought, we have achieved a great deal and we have lots more that we are working on. One area I have been particularly keen to work on with the team has been succession planning. We’ve refreshed our apprenticeship programme and identified development programmes for the bright stars.
Our production teams have implemented new quality processes that are already delivering better quality and in the months ahead they will focus on processes, procedures and non-compliances to generate even more benefit for us and our customers.
Along with the product redesigns I talked about earlier, we have leveraged group opportunities and now offer finance and service packages through our sister companies Newbegin Financial Services and Premium Leasing.
With so much activity focused on building capacity, we have also strengthened our sales team to provide better cover across the country.
What challenges and opportunities has the pandemic brought?
The challenges of Covid-related staff absences, rocketing raw material costs and supply chain shocks are well known. We have been dealing with these by increasing our stock holding of materials and working with the team to help them through Covid, both financially and from a general and mental health perspective.
After the first lockdown, we were one of the first businesses to become Covid-safe, to reopen and to get back to supporting our customers. This and looking after the team put us in a great place to be able to respond to the economic bounce-back and our order books are looking very healthy.
What sets you apart from your competitors?
Our motto at Weightlifter has always been “Where Quality, Honesty and Service come first” and, at PPG Fabrications, “Reputation Built on Quality”. These mottos are as valid today as they have always been. Our ability to build what our customer needs really sets us apart.
Nigel Butler, MD, Weightlifter Bodies