30 YEAR ANNIVERSARY

Leading independent Scania dealer Keltruck Ltd is celebrating an impressive thirty years in business this April 2013.

This remarkable thirty years in business dates back to humble beginnings when Keltruck’s founder, Chris Kelly – working alongside Mike Kelly, now Fleet Sales Director – were involved in the sale of used trucks. This business was based in the Wolverhampton area of the West Midlands, known as the Black Country.

This microsite takes a look back at some of the highlights of those 30 years as well as talking to customers and employees of Keltruck.

HOW IT ALL STARTED

There are probably a few versions of how Keltruck came to be, but the truth is that I was with Mike, selling used trucks out of Willenhall and Wolverhampton. We started to rent out high spec’d new DAFs. I saw the light and bought some new Scanias and had a phone call one day from Scania GB out of the blue, asking would I like to meet various folk from Scania, eventually their MD Anders Siewertz. Anders asked if I wanted become a dealer for Scania.

It wasn’t something I’d considered – and certainly not something I was expecting – and needed masses of capital that was tied up in used trucks. However, cut a long story short, we sold the used trucks (and everything else we could) – and the rest, as they say, is history!

I remember the first new Scania that we sold as a ‘distributor’, as were called back then, and, turning to Mike, I said “If we can’t make more than this, we won’t be doing this for very long.” We sell new trucks often for much less today! They were, as they say, ‘the good old days’ and the business is very different now, with new vehicle sales a loss leader. The emphasis now, though, is very much around service and operational efficiencies – but there’s fortunately still a bit left for the entrepreneurial approach with elements such as used trucks and recycling (the latter is even fashionable these days, too).

For me, though, the industry has always been about the people, and there have been plenty of characters along the way – and these hold the fondest of memories. Amongst those who have departed this life are Don Taylor, of Taylors of Martley, and my old and dear friend, Alan Murrall of Bomwur Haulage. His premature loss was a waste of such incredible talent. Both were dear friends.

Whilst I enjoy my retirement playing with more old cars and motorbikes than I can shake a stick at, my advice to the team remains that ‘it’s all about people’. There are so many nice people to deal with that, if you find you are dealing with someone totally unreasonable, then move on and find another lovely person to spend your valuable time with. There are lots of really nice folk out there; go find them!

I’d also just like to say thank you for the business over the years – but most of all thanks for the memories. It has been a challenge at times, but great fun, too.

Chris Kelly
Founder & owner
keltruck.com/chriskelly

 

INTRODUCTION

A warm welcome to what is a very special edition of Kelnews, celebrating 30 years in business as the Scania franchised dealer serving the Midlands and the South Wales region. While I might still be classed as ‘the new boy’ having been here just six years, I’ve known Chris and been involved with Keltruck since 1994; so not quite so new really.

I’ve watched the company grow, try new ideas, and admired some of the achievements over the years, and I guess now I can say I’m proud to be at the helm; a responsibility I take very seriously with Chris having completely retired and entrusting me and my fellow directors with the company he’s put so much into over the years.

In this edition of Kelnews we’re taking the opportunity to take a look back in time, some comparisons with today and some of the major milestones in the company’s history. While it might be hard to describe us as a family business these days with over 450 staff and the sheer geography that we cover, we still believe we’re all about the people.

We trade with around 3,000 customers on account on a monthly basis; each one of those customers will have a relationship with their Keltruck contact, be it via the parts front counter or our one and only Mike Kelly. These relationships are all important to us and it’s what makes us different – The Keltruck Person: One that wants to do a good job to the best of their ability. I hope you enjoy this edition and a big thank you to all of our customers, new and old, for all of the business over the past 30 years, and here’s to the next 30…

Andrew Jamieson
Managing Director & Dealer Principal

EAST MIDLAND COMMERCIALS

Keltruck owner Chris Kelly co-founded East Midland Commercials in 1992 with his friend and business partner Alan Murrall who sadly died in May 2002. The company was run by Kevin Taylor, Managing Director at the time. Chris Kelly bought the remaining part of the company from Alan’s family in 2004 and kept it as East Midland Commercials until January 2005 when it officially started trading as Keltruck.

The merger of the two companies gave Keltruck 17 locations, making Keltruck the UK’s largest independent dealership for Scania vehicles.

Acquiring East Midland Commercials made Keltruck almost double in size overnight – with great staff and facilities at the current branches the transition was seamless. Whilst Keltruck is responsible for the larger expanded area, the focus remains on dedicated customer care that is always placed in high esteem and monitored closely throughout the business.

Tony Jarman, Worksop’s Branch Manager started at Keltruck in 2002 working for East Midland Commercials as a Workshop Controller. Since joining Keltruck he has worked as the Branch Manager for Keltruck Sutton-in-Ashfield and now has the role of Branch Manager for Keltruck Worksop.

“The new build at Worksop was a very exciting time as I had the chance to completely set up a new depot from interviewing all the staff to buying all the new equipment for the workshop and getting the layout set up correctly to make it as smooth running as possible.”

Keltruck developed a new state-of-the-art branch at Worksop in Nottinghamshire which gave a further customer support facility in the East Midlands area; the site opened in May 2007 to serve the B&Q operation as it is located 500 yards away from their distribution centre. Opening this site has given greater assistance to the B&Q fleet of over 60 tractor units and around 750 trailers, in addition to that the branch also supports customers and provides 24/7 breakdown assistance in the Worksop area.
Tony continues:

“We have seen good growth in retail work at Worksop which has taken around four years to build up in this area. To keep the B&Q contract running for six years and still going strong has been a great success for Keltruck with B&Q buying 100 new Scania vehicles over 2011/2012.”

SILURIAN SCANIA

Keltruck acquired South Wales dealership Silurian Scania in January 2011 welcoming four more branches to the network, including Cardiff, Cross Hands, Caldicot and Ross-on-Wye. The move joined Keltruck’s existing area which ‘just made geographical sense’, giving Keltruck 21 locations and a further spread of branches to provide assistance to Scania operators.

Since then Keltruck has developed the branches, investing in staff training and upgrading the locations with repaints, IT equipment, new heating systems and security upgrades. Keltruck’s Cardiff branch has undergone major refurbishments of the workshop, moved and upgraded the offices together with a new side gate, wash bay screens and upgraded tooling, in addition the parts and service departments have now been merged creating an enhanced experience for customers visiting the branch. Keltruck’s Cross Hands branch improvements include a third bay in the workshop, additional site lighting, a new security system, a perimeter fence and a new hard standing area to modernise the facility which in 2012 opened as Keltruck’s second used sales forecourt.

MT AWARDS

MT AWARDS WINNER 1996

Keltruck took home the prestigious ‘Dealer of the Year’ Award in the 1996 Motor Transport Awards, held at London’s Grosvenor House Hotel. The awards are widely regarded as the transport industry ‘Oscars’ and at the time had an audience of 1,500 people. Chris Kelly collected the award commenting:

“For me this is the combination of many years in the business, and I am delighted to be here with my wife and family to receive the award on behalf of the whole Keltruck team who have put in so much hard and dedicated work to make our company the success it is today.”

 

 

MOTOR TRANSPORT AWARDS 2012MT-Awards-2012

Keltruck were delighted to confirm their sponsorship of ‘Apprenticeship of the Year’ at the 2012 Motor Transport Awards which took place on 13th June at London’s Grosvenor House Hotel to a sell-out audience of nearly 1,600 people. The award was presented to Eddie Stobart/System Training by Chris Kelly MP.

This category is close to Keltruck’s own heart with the company continually investing in apprenticeships over the business in many aspects. Amongst Keltruck’s success stories are the likes of Aftersales Director, Russ Warner, and West Bromwich General Manager, Neil Vazey, who have both gained promotion internally from their apprenticeship beginnings.

RUSS WARNER

Russ Warner has worked at Keltruck since 1987 starting as an apprentice on a YTS Scheme and has since worked in many different managerial roles throughout the company. While doing this he also attended Scania Business School and passed the courses after several years of study and in September 2009 Russ was promoted to Aftersales Director.

“Keltruck’s ability to diversify and adapt to an ever-changing market and climate puts us at the forefront of our industry, making us the number one independent Scania dealer in the network. I would say the amount of branches and sheer area we cover at Keltruck has to show the biggest change by far, starting with only five locations in the West Midlands and now reaching as far as Cross Hands to Worksop.

“For me the most exciting thing about working at Keltruck has to be the many friends I have made, both at Keltruck and externally within the motor trade. I am very proud to have been given the opportunity to work for and progress through the ranks at Keltruck and I wouldn’t have made it this far without the support of Chris Kelly.”

NEIL VAZEY

Neil Vazey started at Keltruck as a semi-skilled mechanic in 1991, moving up the ranks to his current role as General Manager for the West Bromwich Branch, overseeing service, parts, bodyshop and recycling as well as the site and premises.

“Keltruck has developed into a large professional company that has matured with age, many of the staff have been here for years and have grown and developed with the company. The biggest change by far is the development of premises over the region and I have to say for me being given the opportunity to develop within the business leading to the promotion to my current role.

“There have been several exciting things that have happened over the years, the most important to me was meeting my wife, Sally, at one of the team building training courses for workshop and office staff at the West Bromwich branch.”

CHARITY WORK OVER THE YEARS

1991 – FEED THE CHILDREN

Keltruck founder, Chris Kelly, along with David Morgan, Sales Director, and Tony Allenza drove to Bulgaria on an aid mission with ‘Feed The Children’ in 1991. They made the trip to distribute items such as food, clothing and toys to children’s homes around Lukovit in northern Bulgaria.

1996 – RONNIE CORBETT

In 1996 Chris Kelly collected Ronnie Corbett in his helicopter for a charity event which was organised to raise money for Paralympic athletes. On his journey Ronnie Corbett, famous entertainer since the 1950s and co-star of BBC’s ‘The Two Ronnies’, visited Keltruck’s West Bromwich branch and tried out one of the Scania Topline vehicles on site.

RECENT CHARITY SUCCESS

The Keltruck Nottingham Branch warmed our hearts with their efforts in fundraising for the Olivia Appeal in 2011 when all the staff at the branch joined together to support the cause. Geraldine Page, General Administrator for the branch, initiated the charity work which involved help from every member of staff, and even included the local Sutton, Groby and Worksop Keltruck branches and their families.

Olivia Francis, granddaughter of Keltruck Nottingham’s customer, Adrian Francis, owner of ALF Transport, was born on Christmas Day 2009 with a combination of two conditions – optic nerve Hypoplasia/Atrophy causing Olivia to be completely blind and an underdeveloped pituitary gland. Olivia was granted stem cell treatment in China in the hope that it will give her sight that she has never had, however, stem cell treatment comes with a hefty price tag and is only possible with the kind generosity and much needed help from other people; thus The Olivia Appeal was founded by Olivia’s family.

On 29th October, Keltruck Nottingham held a ‘Halloween Family Open Day’ at the branch all in aid of raising money for Olivia’s treatment and since then, Gemma Lacey, Olivia’s mother, has confirmed that the fund now stands in excess of £32,000 giving Gemma the green light to begin to register Olivia for her treatment. The treatment is said to take up to 12 months to show any signs of success, but the achievements that have been made so far to even make this possible for Olivia are outstanding. Graham Page, Nottingham Branch Manager commented:

“The Olivia Appeal was a great success, raising just over £5,000 through help from friends, family, colleagues, customers and beyond, and the icing on the cake was the donation of £10,000 from our very own Chris Kelly.”

Since then, and because of the success, Nottingham have decided to get involved in raising money for another cause, linked with the Tour de Branch venture involving Paul Green’s charity, ‘When You Wish Upon a Star’. The main reason for this is to sponsor two terminally ill children on their dream trip to Lapland to visit Father Christmas.

“Our target for this year is to raise £2,000 by November and if we can reach this then we can send two children on their trip of a lifetime, and if we raise any more then that would be excellent. We have previously had a raffle for a model concrete mixer kindly donated by Keltruck which totalled to just over £204 and we are currently planning another event for the summer.

“As to why do we do it, well it is important we help anyone we can especially children, after all they are our future generation.”

TOUR DE BRANCH

On Saturday 22nd June 2013 Paul Green, Group Warranty Manager for Keltruck, will undertake a gruelling 220-mile charity cycle ride starting at Keltruck’s Cross Hands Branch in South Wales and finishing at Keltruck Worksop in Nottinghamshire. The route takes Paul and the other riders from their start in South Wales over the Brecon Beacons, through Hereford and Worcester and into Droitwich to finish off day one. Day two (Sunday 23 June) starts in Droitwich heading north through Bromsgrove, West Bromwich, Burton, Derby and onto their final destination of Worksop.

The event, cleverly named “Tour de Branch”, has the objective to raise as much money for charity as possible as Paul comments: “If I’m going to get saddle sore I would like to raise as much money for charity as possible. The charity I have chosen is ‘When You Wish Upon a Star’ (www.whenyouwishuponastar.org.uk). It is a locally based charity which grants wishes to children between the ages of 2 and 16 with a life threatening or terminal illness. As a father of two young children this charity is one that is close to my heart.”

What makes this event even more poignant for Paul is that in May 2011 he was diagnosed with non Hodgkin’s lymphoma. After several months of chemotherapy treatment Paul was given the news in December 2011 that his treatment had been successful. Paul comments: “Following recovery from illness I wanted to get myself back into shape. I bought a bike and a pair of lycra shorts and as they say… went for it! It was while Bradley Wiggins was powering to Tour de France glory that a couple of work colleagues set down a challenge. So the chance to ride pedal powered between Keltruck’s most distanced depots of Cross Hands in south Wales to Worksop in north Nottinghamshire was created.”

Paul, 43, has worked at Keltruck for 26 years commencing as a YTS apprentice in 1986 at the West Bromwich branch. Having passed his City & Guilds Levels 1, 2 & 3 he continued to work as a technician until 1996 when he was offered the position of service advisor at the West Bromwich depot which he undertook. In 1997 Paul was promoted to manage the Esso & KwikSave VMUs before moving onto Droitwich in 1998 as Branch Manager. In 2000 Paul was offered the role of Group Warranty Manager which he accepted and still performs today.

If you would like to contribute to this truly special event please visit www.whenyouwishuponastar. org.uk and justgiving.com/Paul-Green12 to show your support for Tour De Branch.

PAM YOUNG

Pam Young started working for Chris Kelly in 1978 when he acquired Cartwright Transport European Ltd in Wolverhampton, which he renamed as West Mid European Ltd. Upon the formation of Keltruck in 1983, Pam moved over to West Bromwich where she has been involved in all parts of the business, even becoming PA to Chris Kelly and Mike Kelly. In May 2009 Pam was promoted to the position of General Manager – New & Used Sales Administration responsible for the day-to-day running of the office and overseeing all vehicle files for both new and used trucks.

“The biggest change in Keltruck over the years is obviously the size. When I started here we all worked on the first floor of the West Bromwich branch, everybody knew each other and it was very much a family business. 30 years on and it is so nice to see that there are so many people still here that started with the company and the achievements they have made, from apprentices to managers and directors.

“My highlight is definitely the friends I have made and the characters I have met, from employees to customers and even my partner, Tony.”

MIKE KELLY

Mike Kelly worked with Chris Kelly, man and boy, for several years prior to Keltruck. At its inception in 1983 Mike worked as an Area Sales Executive – which involved managing his predefined area of customers – and has since moved up through the ranks from Sales Manager, to Sales Director in 1993 and now Fleet Sales Director.

“I was promoted beyond my level of competence to Sales Director in 1993, our 10th year of trading and the first year we achieved lead market share. I managed to swim in the deep end without drowning and hopefully contributed a bit. My current role is Fleet Sales Director, which I acquired in 2009, which involves looking after most of our larger fleet operators as far as sales relationships are concerned and also trying to develop and cultivate new clients. But if you ask me, I just do what I do best… socialise.

“Keltruck’s main aim 30 years ago was about selling the Scania product, which wouldn’t have got us very far in today’s industry as we now provide customers with the whole range of Scania products and services. The primary focus today is all about the customer base – we aim to retain existing customers as well as forming relationships with new ones. Our business is all about relationships – we have customers with us today that have been working with us for 30 years.”

keltruck.com/mikekelly

LONG-STANDING CUSTOMER – Spiers & Hartwell

Spiers & Hartwell Ltd is the leading fruit and vegetable distributor in Evesham, originating in 1954. The company, now run by Chris Hartwell, operates a full Scania fl eet of over 50 trucks to destinations all over the UK. Keltruck are proud to say they have been dealing with Spiers & Hartwell since 1983 and continue to keep this working relationship 30 years on with great friendships made along the way.

“On behalf of Spiers & Hartwell Ltd we wish to congratulate Keltruck on their 30 years in business. We have enjoyed the service and Scania products they have provided since their inception in 1983. Our fi rst Scania purchase was a 110 model registered DAB 566N (pictured), an intrepid vehicle journeying back and forth to the Middle East in the 70s, reliability being of paramount importance. Scania has long been recognised for its low overall costs and reliability, but on the rare occasion we have encountered diffi culties, Keltruck have dealt with them impeccably, understanding our needs and resulting in a mutually strong trading relationship over 30 years. We would recommend Keltruck and Scania to all transport operators and wish them every success for the future.” Chris Hartwell, Owner of Spiers & Hartwell Ltd.

LONG-STANDING CUSTOMER – Taylors of Martley

Taylors of Martley, also known as TM Logistics, was formed during World War 2 by Eddie Taylor. The company was passed down through the Taylor generations to Don Taylor and eventually to his sons Steve, Robert and Grahame Taylor. Keltruck started dealing with the company in 1983 and had a great working relationship, starting with Chris Kelly and Don Taylor, which continued through his sons until the business was sold to Bibby Distribution in 2010.

“I would like to congratulate Keltrucks on 30 years of trading. Having been one of the fi rst customers, and during this time we have purchased nearly 500 trucks, I therefore appreciate all the hard work and effort that has been put in by the Keltruck team. I believe successful businesses are brought about by relationships that suppliers have with their customers, ours started with Chris Kelly and my father Don and has progressed to the next generation, and we over the last 30 years have had a fantastic relationship. Keltruck has delivered in all aspects of our company requirements, they have done a great job and I wish them every success for the next 30 years. Well done!” Grahame Taylor

KELTRUCK ALSO CELEBRATING 15 YEARS ONLINE

Back in late-90s Keltruck’s founder, Chris Kelly, was aware of the growing importance of e-mail and the internet which was still in itsWEBSITE infancy with most websites being clunky and difficult to navigate. At the time Scania did not offer any dealer website solution and, indeed, the www.scania.com website was only in its infancy.

Seeing the power of the world wide web to reach new markets, particularly abroad, for used Scania trucks and parts, Chris asked his good friend John Goodwin of Goodwin plc to send the top man from his burgeoning IT business, Internet Central in Keele, to visit Keltruck West Bromwich to discuss a Keltruck website. In early 1998 www.keltruck.com went live and, over the next couple of years, more and more content was added to the original used Scania parts offering – used stock began to be added followed by after sales information such as depot details and information about the West Bromwich bodyshop.

The launch of the website in 1998 made Keltruck the first commercial vehicle dealer in the UK to go online and, possibly, the first independent Scania dealer in the world to have a website.

By the early noughties Scania began providing a dealer website solution and, in early 2004, www.keltruck.com switched over to this platform in a project led by Chris Kelly the younger (then marketing manager), where it has remained and flourished ever since.
Today there are 1,300 pages and the site receives over 7,000 visits per month. In recent years even more content has been included – such as the company’s social media channels – and website visits are driven by e-newsletter campaigns making Keltruck one of the most sophisticated truck dealers of the online, digital era.
WEBSITE1
E-COMMERCE – KELTRUCK.COM/SHOP

Keltruck.com/Shop offers quick and easy access to hundreds of recycled Scania parts plus consumables which you can select, purchase and have delivered from the comfort of your computer or smartphone.