Dec 1st, 2016
5 mins

Bristol-based foodservice company invests in new trucks on the back of growth

charles-saunders-colin-bardsleyA growing Bristol-based foodservice company has added nine state-of-the-art eco-friendly vehicles to its fleet.

Charles Saunders Foodservice has made the investment, which increases the size of the fleet to 35 commercial vehicles, to improve convenience for customers, as well as in response to an increase in sales.

The trucks, designed by the firm’s transport manager Colin Bardsley, contain separate compartments, allowing frozen, chilled, fish, ambient, disposable and chemical products to be transported safely in the same vehicle.  Historically, products would be delivered in separate trucks.

The new additions to the fleet are also bigger to cater for an increase in new customers as well as orders from existing clients.

Colin said: “The new trucks have enormous benefits for efficiency and safety.

“They allow for greater customer convenience as all products can be delivered in a single truck.

“The compartmentalisation and temperature control ensures food and non-food products are kept entirely separate for peace of mind, and the new diesel-run freezers use only the exact amount of energy needed to keep frozen food to temperature.

“Underside tail lifts for drop loading and a front side loading door enable easy access and speedier loading and unloading.

“And the vehicles also encompass a number of road safety features, including an eight-side-angle camera surround system with audible beep for enhanced awareness of cyclists. They also have a lane detection system to increase driver safety on motorways.”

The arrival of the vans coincides with the first year of the firm’s driver apprenticeship scheme.

Charles Saunders managing director Darren Gaulton said: “We introduced an internal training scheme in response to the shortage of drivers with a class 2 licence.

“Training lasts for around 12 months and includes internal projects including accompanying drivers on deliveries and working more than three shifts in stores, as well as external training to obtain the necessary licences.

“There’s been a lot of interest and we are due to have a sixth person start the scheme from 1 January.

“We strive to provide our employees with career progression and keep them motivated.”

Charles Saunders employs 126 people and operates from two depots in Bristol, with customers throughout the South West, Dorset and South Wales.

The company has grown over the last eight years, increasing from a £6m turnover in 2008 to £20m in 2016.

Charles Saunders is a member of Fairway Foodservice, a buying group made up of 18 independent wholesalers from across the UK, Ireland, Jersey, Spanish Costas and Balearic Islands. It is also a member of the Socius Network for non-foods.

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