A request came into Volvo Truck and Bus Centre East Anglia from the boss of Knowles Transport who had been operating flat out to meet the needs of the supermarkets to keep the shelves stocked with the dry goods – tins and dried pasta- that the country was craving to put at the back of their cupboards.
Managing Director Alex Knowles had never seen such high load volumes in operating the business.
The Volvo Truck dealer needed to step up and, despite the restrictions of working and the additional practices required for hygienic operation, the dealer 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.
Three of the technicians went straight to the Knowles Transport workshop after completing their morning shift at the dealership last Saturday. Seven more technicians worked throughout Sunday – and the same process is being repeated this coming weekend.
Busier than Christmas
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.”
Truck Servicing is Vital
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.”
Sales Demonstrators on the Road
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.”