Since its creation in 2008 Bury St Edmunds-based Precon Products has grown into a £45m turnover business supplying a comprehensive range of products, tools and accessories to the construction and building sectors nationwide. At the same time, the company’s progression has been underpinned by a strong commitment to health and safety, which recently saw it develop an innovative dropside body concept based on a Mercedes-Benz Econic chassis.
“We regularly deliver into London and it was proving difficult to offload products from the back of our trucks, especially as we were often doing multiple deliveries,” explains Mike Philpot, Director. “We therefore came up with the idea of developing walkways down the sides of the trucks and approached Mercedes towards the end of 2018 to explore our options. They put us in contact with ZJB Engineering in Wisbech, who we have worked with to come up with a solution that makes deliveries much easier and safer for customers and drivers alike.”
Precon Products’ new 26-tonner is now fitted with hydraulically operated walkways that run the full length of its bed and are accessed via fold-out steps. As a result, the driver no longer has to clamber over the back to reach the load. Deployment of one or both of the 500 mm-wide walkways automatically activates strobe lights fitted beneath the platform at both ends. A fall arrest system means the dropsides are always raised when the walkways are in use. The truck is also equipped to FORS (Fleet Operator Recognition Scheme) Gold standard – essential when delivering to London – as well as a full complement of safety cameras and side scanners.
The level of innovation that Precon Products demonstrated on the development of the dropside body concept has been typical of the company’s approach, which in turn has helped drive its expansion forward. “We have a great team of people working within the business and this is supported by the fantastic relationships we have built with both our suppliers and our customers,” adds Mr Philpot. “In addition to our head office in Bury St Edmunds, we have supplementary sites in Rotherham, Daventry and Guildford, which ensures great national coverage.
“Our infrastructure also allows us to provide a ‘one stop shop’ service thanks to the wide range of products we can offer. It’s all about providing a service that’s as simple as possible for the customer. We have next day delivery for orders placed before 4pm and we are constantly innovating to make further improvements to our offering and our product range. This has been integral to the growth we’ve seen.”
As it strives to keep this momentum going, Precon Products is looking to add further branches to its portfolio over the next 18 months. “We have developed a vast knowledge base within the business and we’re aiming to build on this by further expanding our coverage across the country,” outlines Mr Philpot. “Obviously there is ongoing uncertainty surrounding Brexit but we’re confident our range of products and the quality of our service will allow us to capitalise on the available opportunities. We’re already looking at potential sites for further depots and exploring new market areas.”
Having recently moved into a purpose-built head office, a move that increased its warehouse capacity by over 25%, Precon Products is paving the way for further expansion, as its innovative approach continues to pay dividends.