Managing Director Alex Knowles put out a request for assistance to his local dealer after an intense period had seen his fleet handling its highest ever load volumes, transporting predominantly dried pasta, pasta sauces and tinned goods into regional distribution centres.
Volvo Truck and Bus Centre East Anglia asked its Ely-based technicians to volunteer for two additional weekend shifts for Knowles Transport, which runs a fleet of more than 100 Volvo heavy trucks. This saw three technicians travel directly to the Knowles Transport workshop in Wimblington last Saturday afternoon, as soon as their morning shift at the dealership had finished. Seven more technicians worked throughout Sunday – and the same process is being repeated this coming weekend.
Knowles says: “We’ve never been this busy in March before; it’s the equivalent of Christmas-level volumes, plus a bit more. Everyone’s been under intense pressure to keep the trucks moving, which brings an additional level of challenges as we normally gear up for a seasonal peak – this time it’s hit the industry without much warning.
“We have the majority of our fleet on a service contract with Volvo, but we normally stagger maintenance throughout the week – and we’d never normally service trucks on a Sunday. The speed of response from the dealership in Ely has been fantastic; they’ve really stepped up to help us out.”
Michael Revens, Dealerpoint Manager at Volvo Truck and Bus Centre Ely, says: “We only had 48-hours’ notice to pull these first two additional shifts together and we were amazed at the response from our team – every single technician put their hand up to volunteer.
“There’s a genuine understanding in the business for how much pressure the transport companies moving food and pharmaceuticals are under, and our team wanted to do their bit to help. This isn’t a role you can do from home; they’re still coming into the workshop every day, following the strict social distancing rule to keep two metres apart, and doing an incredible job to support our customers. We couldn’t be prouder.”
Volvo Truck and Bus East Anglia was also able to provide Knowles Transport with some additional traction, after Truck Sales Executive Alan Didwell and Fuelwatch Manager Jon Warby juggled their demonstrator fleet around to make a Volvo FH available to help with their efforts.
“We’ve literally needed every single truck we could lay our hands on,” explains Knowles. “Having the loan of an extra tractor unit has come in really handy.”