Waste Management World’s Collection and Handling editor, Malcolm Bates, talks with Paul Brown of Gloucestershire based RVS about the business of reconditioned refuse collection vehicles…
You could say just about every day in Paul Brown’s life tends to start early. When he is not commuting the 150 km from his family home in Bedfordshire, UK to the head office and workshops of RVS in Gloucestershire, he could be visiting one of an increasing number of waste and recycling operators in London or the south of England that require a reconditioned refuse collection vehicle.
Or he could be working with manufacturers and suppliers, putting together the specification for a batch of new vehicles under the RVS ‘RediTruk’ programme. So tell us more about how RVS has become an independent ‘all makes’ supplier, Paul...
“It’s true that when Spencer Law founded RVS eight years ago, the main focus of the company was centred around refurbishing the vehicles already in service with local councils, or commercial waste contractors. But in the last few years, we have increasingly been asked if we could source and supply new vehicles as well,” he replies.
Hang on. The UK is one of the most competitive markets in the whole of Europe, with more than six brands of refuse collection vehicles all chasing the same business, so how come an independent supplier like RVS, with a background refurbing and fixing old vehicles, is increasingly successful in supplying new ones?
“The workshop team at RVS has many years of experience of repairing and refurbishing the products of all the major brands. Originally, our task was to source second-hand units, refurbish them and have them ready for work on a specific start date. So we get to know any weak spots on just about every vehicle on the market. That has proved very useful when specifying new vehicles, as well,” Paul explains.
So was that how the RVS ‘RediTruk’ concept was formulated? “Yes, pretty much. What often happens is that a small waste contractor might win a new contract, but not be able to commit the resources to acquire brand new vehicles straight away. However, as the business grows, the same customer might come back and want more reconditioned vehicles, or be able to afford new units on a Euro-6 chassis, but still wish to continue to use RVS customer service, or contract hire facilities. The one thing in common is that the vehicle must be ready for work on a specific date hence RediTruk,” Paul adds.
In other words, RVS will already have new vehicles in-build, so when the phone rings, units will be available for early delivery? “Exactly. My job is to continue to build our customer base to ensure new vehicles are not left standing in the yard,” he smiles. No pressure, then, Paul? But does RVS have any ambitions to find a ‘manufacturing partner’, so as to be able to supply exclusive ‘own-brand’ products? “We are always interested in talking to potential new suppliers,” Paul adds.
And when he’s not busy with garbage trucks? Paul is one of the team behind the ‘National Refuse Championships’ a lighthearted event aimed at finding the fastest crew in the UK. Held on the promenade at the seaside resort of Weston-Super-Mare in June, last year’s event was a big success, with teams from as far away as Scotland.
And for 2019? Paul is looking for entries from mainland Europe to give the event a more international flavour. Seriously? “Why not?” he quizzes.
And when he’s not working? His day tends to start early then as well, with an early morning bike ride out into the Bedfordshire countryside with some mates. Ride on, Paul.