Malcolm Bates takes a closer look at a new refuse collection vehicle operated by a growing independent contractor based in the East of England. Why is it so special? Well, it does empty the recycling bins at the Sandringham Estate – holiday home of Her Majesty the Queen...
It’s funny how things turn out sometimes. In between a hectic schedule of magazine deadlines and on-site visits, I managed to take a few days off in North Norfolk, UK, for a break. It’s an interesting part of Britain, often missed by visiting tourists, yet the coast is rich in wildlife and there are plenty of quiet attractive villages with houses largely constructed in local flint (rather than bricks) and bustling little market towns still thankfully little changed since refuse (garbage) collection was undertaken with a horse and ‘dustcart’.
In fact I was sitting outside a charming little cafe drinking my Capuccino one morning, when a smart DAF 6x2 with a Farid 'Big Bite Junior' body/hopper drove past. Two things caught my eye – firstly it really was clean and tidy. And secondly, I only knew the operator – ‘Baco- Compak’ – as a skip hire business, not as an operator of compaction vehicles. Was there a potential story there? I had to check it out ...
A couple of weeks later, I’m back in North Norfolk visiting the headquarters of Baco-Compak and meeting up with marketing manager Jodie Fenn-Bacon. Jodie is married to the son of company founder Peter Bacon and I’m already getting an insight into what makes Baco-Compak stand out from the dozens of other small family-owned businesses trying to find a niche in the waste and recycling industry.
First off? We’ve already covered that – smart looking vehicles have to be the best advertisement for any waste contractor. Secondly? The company has a ‘marketing manager’. That's rare. And thirdly, the standard of both printed promotional material and the company website is to a high quality. Company mission statements using words like ‘customer focussed’ and ‘attention to detail’ tend to be over-used and thus become meaningless, but, I’m thinking, here is a company that really means what it says.
I’ve just spotted something else – on the cab doors of the company vehicles is what is called ‘The Royal Warrant’. It’s the coat of arms of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and proclaims that Baco-Compak is “Waste Disposal Contractor by Appointment to Her majesty Queen Elizabeth II.” Yes, in other words the units operated by Baco Compak actu- ally empty the Queen’s bins! How im- pressive is that?
Founded over forty years ago by Peter Bacon, Baco-Compak has indeed held the Royal Warrant since 1985 and has over the years progressed from a small local skip hire business to a provider of a wide range of waste and recycling services including hazardous waste across a large part of the East of England.
Skip trucks and hooklifts are still in the majority, but after trying various other brands of RCV, Baco-Compak finally settled on the combination of a 26 tonne gross weight DAF 6x2 chas- sis with 23 cubic metre capacity Farid Hillhead Engineering (as Farid prod- ucts are branded in the UK) body and hopper. The unit is fitted with a Farid 'Evolution' comb lifter capable of han- dling wheeled bins from 120 to 1100 li- tres capacity and a 'Big Bite' lifter ca- pable of loading skips weighing up to 5 tonnes.
As local Farid regional manager Mike Spooner confirms, the Farid brand is doing well in the UK market. Having taken over the production and market ing of the Scottish-built Heil product range two years ago, Farid is now in a position to meet the needs of both municipal and domestic waste contractors as well as companies specialising in heavy industrial waste.
“Sales of the ‘Big Bite Junior’ are doing especially well at the moment,” he confirms, while Farid RCVs are winning some major fleet replacement orders for domestic waste RCVs from the London Boroughs. “But significantly, we’re getting a lot of interest from small, privately owned commercial waste contractors wishing to expand away from the highly competitive skip hire market by offering their customers a much wider or more specialised service,” he confirms.“These companies often start with an order for just a single unit, but are flexible enough to grow to meet an increased demand for a higher quality of customer service and Baco-Compak is an excellent example of that trend,” he adds.
‘Holidays’ it seems, is something of a trend as well. I spotted this new DAF- Farid while I was, technically, supposed to be on holiday. Baco-Compak units are used to help keep the Queen’s hol- iday home clean and tidy. But it also turns out that servicing other ‘holiday homes’ is also a key element in the growth of Baco-Compak as well.
North Norfolk is an increasingly popular holiday location, and caravan parks, small hotels, restaurants and guest houses all need their waste collected and recyclables ... well, recycled, so its looks like Baco-Compak is likely to be making more additions to the smart dark orange coloured fleet shortly ...