Sterling Furniture, three times winner of the Retailer of the Year Award at the Furniture Awards, completed a sale and hire back agreement with Fraikin in the mid-1990’s and hasn’t looked back since switching to a policy of contract hire.
Fraikin continues to be Sterling Furniture’s sole supplier of commercial vehicles, with a ten-strong fleet provided on a mix of four or five year agreements, split between 10, 7.5 and 3.5 tonnes. As the company has continued to expand, so has the fleet, with Fraikin also supplying eight additional vehicles on contract hire to other brands within the group, including Anderson and England, Buicks Furniture of Montrose, Martin & Frost and Thomson World of Furniture.
Callum Macdonald, Head of Distribution at Sterling Furniture explains: “Contract hire works so successfully for us as it removes many of the everyday hassles associated with running a fleet of trucks, allowing us to focus on our core business as Scotland’s largest independent furniture retailer, without employing our own team of fleet managers.
“This means our attention can be directed on continuing to grow our business, safe in the knowledge that our vehicle fleet is well managed,” he adds.
A better solution
The company’s vehicles are serviced primarily by Fraikin’s branch in Bellshill, together with two strategically located third-party agents which provide the necessary support for vehicles based away from the Glasgow area. Fraikin’s facility is also used to service seven additional vehicles operated by the group, which joined the fleet following a company acquisition in 2008.
“These trucks were being maintained by another service provider. After a couple of months it became apparent that they were not managing or vehicles proactively, and not really looking after them to the standards we’ve become accustomed to,” adds Macdonald. “A quick phone call to Tom Diamond, the Service Manager in Bellshill, and Fraikin agreed to takeover the repair and maintenance of them until they are due for replacement.”
Fraikin’s long established site in Bellshill operates around-the-clock to support Fraikin customers in Scotland, with technicians operating on a rotating three-shift system. The site manages nearly 400 commercial vehicles and recently benefitted from investment in a multitude of new workshop machinery, including new brake testing and headlamp testing equipment, which ensures faster and more accurate testing. This in turn allows customers to get their vehicles back on the road faster.
The Sterling Furniture fleet includes a number of Iveco Eurocargos, each fitted with Ray Smith demountable bodies, which allows a fast turnaround of vehicles during the loading and unloading process. These trucks are used primarily for long distance trunking and cover up to 80,000 miles a year, whilst smaller light commercials in the fleet are focused on domestic deliveries supporting the company’s retail outlets across Scotland.
Sterling Furniture’s contract hire package includes:
• Full servicing, maintenance and repair during evenings and weekends
• Collection and delivery for routine servicing
• Road fund licensing
• 24/7 emergency roadside assistance
• Relief vehicle cover
• Account management
• Access to technical expertise and specialist advice