Top class: Dennison Commercials, winner of Commercial Motor's Franchised Dealer of the Year Award 2017

Commercial Motor
March 19, 2018

Volvo dealer Dennison Commercials has sites in the north, south, east and west of Northern Ireland at Ballyclare, Coleraine, Dungannon and Newry.

The company, established in 1969 and still owned by the Dennison family, now employs more than 200 staff and offers new and used commercial vehicle sales and truck rentals. According to MD John Jenkins, winning the Franchised Dealer of the Year category at the CM Awards 2017 reflects the hard work of all its employees.

“We were absolutely delighted and humbled to pick up the award, it was a very strong field of competition and this is great recognition for our team,” he says. “The CM award really stands out because independent judges have verified the result and it means a lot to the people in this business.”

In 2016 Dennison Commercials more than doubled its annual target for new sales and has continued to improve its used truck sales, Volvo Financial Services sales and contract penetration. Staff concentrate on building relationships with customers through networking and spending time on the road, getting a full understanding of their businesses.

The dealer offers genuine Volvo parts, as well as an all-makes truck and trailer parts and accessories brand Denn-Part tailored to the Northern Ireland market. “We maintain a strong market share (Volvo now has more than 30% market share in Northern Ireland) and continue to do well in used truck sales and parts sales,” Jenkins says.

“We take pride in our long-standing, personal relationships with an established band of loyal customers. This win is recognition for them too, they make our business and we could not do anything without them.”

Dennison Commercials has hired apprentices for many years, but in 2014 it introduced a structured training programme to meet increased business demand and plug an industry skills gap. Currently, around 17% of the total workforce are apprentices, employed in a wide variety of roles across the business.

Open-door policy
Dennison Commercials has an open-door policy for staff and organises monthly progress meetings, as well as twice-yearly depot round-up meetings to promote communication among its workforce. Employees are also encouraged to get to know each other through company events such as barbecues and depot open days.

“The apprenticeship scheme is producing high-quality graduates and we want them to remain with the company long term,” says Jenkins. “We are 100% committed to training staff at all levels, it’s sometimes difficult to find the right people, but we try very hard to provide the right environment and conditions for our staff to flourish.

“Our people are the main factor behind the success of the business and everyone works as one, with a real team ethos.” Over the past couple of years, Dennison Commercials has refurbished and extended its Dungannon and Newry depots, with modern reception areas, new washrooms and shower areas for staff, comfortable driver rooms and fully equipped kitchens.

It has also extended the workshop areas there, with the increased space meaning a faster service for customers. In 2017 Dennison Commercials continued to invest in its Ballyclare depot, updating the reception area, improving office space and extending the parts warehouse and workshop.

Jenkins says: “Plans are in place to renovate and extend the Coleraine depot in 2018, demonstrating our commitment to customers in the north-west of Northern Ireland. We have been at our site there since 1993 and it needs the investment and growth.”

According to Jenkins, the success of Dennison Commercials is also down to factors such as excellent breakdown response times, a 96% MoT first-time pass rate, service excellence and being able to offer a complete portfolio of products.

He concludes: “For the rest of 2018 we want to do much more of the same, which means more investment in people, facilities and services, maintaining and building new and used truck sales and growing our rental business. We also aim to keep utilisation high in our workshops.”

Hiab Collaboration
Last October Dennison Commercials opened an authorised Hiab service centre at its specialist bodyshop facility in Ballyclare. The site, which offers an aftersales, repair, maintenance and fitting service for loader cranes, joins Hiab’s network of authorised service centres across the UK and Ireland. Jenkins says: “Hiab has been under-represented in the Northern Ireland market for some years and this is a good, beneficial arrangement for our two companies.”

Investment in People
CM’s panel of independent judges said that the success of Dennison Commercials in the Franchised Dealer of the Year category stemmed from investment in its own people.Its awards submission included a series of highly complimentary testimonials from customers.

One said he was “very satisfied with the service” and “would not be going anywhere else”, while another stated he “always gets great service”. Another said the Dennison Commercials team is “more than courteous and very helpful”, and commented that staff at the dealer group pride themselves in going the “extra mile”. Another stated: “They have been very courteous and stood by their word throughout the proceedings. We have even been able to contact their sales people after hours.”

Satisfaction Levels
Customer service is an extremely important part of the Dennison Commercials business and is reviewed and monitored on a regular basis. Every quarter a random selection of customers is surveyed on a number of factors including satisfaction, expertise, courtesy and helpfulness.

In the survey for the first quarter of 2017, more than 90% of Dennison Commercials customers recorded the highest possible score, stating they were “very satisfied” with the overall service. Jenkins says: “Our customer satisfaction rating is 90% plus, but this means there is still 5% or 10% to work with, so we will continue to work hard to make sure we improve this figure.”

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About the Author


Commercial Motor is the online presence for Commercial Motor magazine, the world’s oldest magazine dedicated to the commercial vehicle industry.

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