Customer interview: Andy Hutchison, Group Fleet Manager, Greggs

How long has Greggs been working with Gray & Adams?

I started in 2002 and we already had some existing Gray & Adams products then, so I would say around 20 years. Since 2013 we have purchased almost 100% of our boxes and rigids from Gray & Adams.

How do you feel the Greggs business aligns to the Gray & Adams business?

I think we align from a values point of view. Gray & Adams is a family business that cares for the wellbeing of its employees, which fits well with the Greggs business where we also invest a lot into our people. I also think our approach to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is aligned – we both care about the sustainability of our operations.

What are the key innovations in the industry in 2020 from your perspective?

The current innovations making an impact in 2020 would have to be alternative fuels. Although the design of our fleet is continually changing, the main innovations are in the sources of fuel such as electric and hydrogen.

What challenges do you see the industry facing at the moment?

Sustainability challenges are gaining worldwide coverage at the moment – not only in regard to fuel, but also everything to do with the design and build, and how this affects emissions. In my opinion, one of the biggest concerns in the refrigerated vehicle industry is the level of understanding surrounding the gases that are used, not only in the refrigerants but also in the insulation of the vehicles and the impact that they could have on the environment.

How does the fleet at Greggs benefit the company out with the obvious logistical requirements?

As the products we get from Gray & Adams are of a very good quality and highly reliable, it is easier for us to maintain the vehicles we have on the road than we would with a lesser quality product. We can therefore have a smaller fleet on the road as a result of lower vehicle downtime, and this ultimately gives us cost savings.

What value does Gray & Adams add to Greggs customers?

It would be an unseen value, but the Gray & Adams quality is industry-leading, and you can really trust the products. The dovetail design and good quality fridges mean we can deliver our products efficiently and in the best possible condition for our customers.

How does Greggs ensure it always stays at the forefront of industry innovation?

We attend a lot of conferences and shows, both in the UK and in Europe, which help us to stay aware of the latest challenges and innovations. The fact we are always out on the road enables us to keep an eye on other haulage operations and current trends. I also attend a lot of auctions and pay attention to any design weaknesses or failures in the older vehicles, that I can then highlight when we are working on our own design.
I work very closely with David Purvis to look at our own Gray & Adams vehicles in various stages of their lifecycle and how we can do things better. Back in 2011, we worked together to develop a very bespoke rear compression buffer system, which we now use as standard, and this has led to us increasing the life policy of our fleet from seven to ten years.

How important is sustainability when considering the specifications of your fleet?

Extremely important. Although we regularly trial different designs, we are careful to minimise any potential risks that there could be to the environment.

Are there any other key drivers that will impact how your fleet evolves moving forwards?

We’ve reached a significant point in our business due to changes in production, which has afforded us to spend a lot of time with Gray & Adams looking at the design of our trailers. Having invested £100 million in our supply chain, the availability of our products has increased and, as a result, we have ordered our first double deck trailer.

Finally, your thoughts about the overall service and aftercare received from the Gray & Adams team?

Very strong; we deal with one contact, David Purvis, who takes any of our requests, whether it’s for a rigid, a new design or a double deck. He diverts any query to the most suitable person on the Gray & Adams team and manages everything seamlessly, which works very well for us. Gray & Adams are very supportive – even when we have had issues with some of our older vehicles, they are still happy to help. With Gray & Adams, it’s more like a partnership, with contact continuing long after the purchase.