Huws Gray is the largest independent builders merchant in Wales and the north-west of England with over 70 operating sites and trading branches. Established on Anglesey in 1990, the business has grown rapidly and now has a branch network that stretches from Hay-on-Wye in South Powys to Bolton in the north-west, and across to Derby in the Midlands.
Created as the one-stop shop for all building products and materials - from below-ground drainage to bricks and blocks, doors, windows and roofing materials - Huws Gray prides itself on fast and efficient customer service. That means loading and unloading lorries quickly, and efficiently moving materials on-site - activities that require the might and stamina of a dependable, well-maintained fork lift truck fleet.
“Our business offers a huge diversity of goods and materials,” says Mike Cholmondley, Transport Manager at Huws Gray. “Along with all of our trading branches, we have our own bagging plant, wood mill, roofing truss plant, kitchen and bathroom showrooms, seven civil centres and specialist brick sites. It’s heavy work keeping materials and products flowing through these facilities, six days a week, so we need a strong, robust ‘work-horse’ that we know we can rely on.”
From the very beginning, Huws Gray has used Doosan diesel counterbalance fork lift trucks and over the years has steadily expanded its fleet to 148 trucks across its network - all supplied through a long established relationship with Gwynedd Forklifts, Doosan’s local dealer.
“We depend on our truck fleet, so reliability is really important to us. Servicing and maintenance of our entire fleet is taken care of by Gwynedd Forklifts under a long-standing service contract. The backup and support we’ve had from them over the years has been excellent – I can’t fault them,” says Cholmondley.
He continues: “At the beginning of the year we put together a detailed schedule for service and inspections across all the sites and they follow that through like clockwork. And they’re really fast at responding to any call-out too.” He adds, “what’s more, they have grown with us. As we have expanded they have grown their service depot network to support us.”
As well as servicing the truck fleet, Gwynedd Forklifts works with Huws Gray to specify and supply any new fork lift trucks that it requires. The builders’ merchant has recently placed an order for 25 new Doosan D30 diesel-powered counterbalance trucks, which will be delivered over the next few months.
All the trucks supplied are 3.0 tonne capacity and are Doosan’s standard ‘feature-rich’ model - which includes the lift truck maker’s industry-leading oil-cooled disc brake system. Manufactured as completely sealed units, the system is protected against outside elements - such as water, dust, dirt, shrink wrap and metal banding - ensuring top-rate braking performance, for enhanced safety and increased productivity.
Doosan says this low-maintenance, heavy-duty braking system provides increased uptime and reduced running costs when compared with conventional shoe or drum brakes.
Along with the robust design and Doosan’s high specification as standard, the trucks supplied to Huws Gray have just a couple of added extras - front and overhead screen, and on some a triplex mast for easy access to warehouse sheds and storage containers.
Huws Gray likes a standardised truck so that flexibility can be maintained across the branch network. Trucks can easily be moved between depots, should the need arise. The company also has four Telehandlers from Bobcat – another Doosan brand – used for loading aggregates.
Cholmondley says: “We like the simple, no-nonsense design and construction of the Doosan truck – no unnecessarily complex electronics that can go wrong. It’s really well suited to the builders’ yard environment and has large drive wheels that are great for any uneven surfaces.”
He concludes: “Supporting our customers is our primary focus and having a tough, robust and reliable truck that can stand the pace of a busy builders merchants’ yard, enables us to live-up to that challenge.”