#TruckingBritainOutOfCovid19 - Plant body manufacturer Sterling restarts production after seven weeks

Plant body manufacturer Sterling is up and running after a seven-week closure, and is confident that production will be back to normal levels within six months.

The North Yorkshire-based bodybuilder, introduced a number of new social distancing measures at its factory prior to restarting production on 11 May.

“It’s all gone very smoothly so far,” said sales director Jarl James, who explained that the factory is currently running at half capacity with 50% of the workforce still furloughed. “This is because we are reliant on new chassis arriving from the manufacturers, which have mostly been delayed by up to two or three months, and we have to be careful not to run too fast and run out of work,” he said. However, James is confident that as the truck makers ramp-up truck production, so too will Sterling, with normal levels resumed by the autumn.

“We are thankful for a good order book and a decent number of chassis in the yard. And most of our work is not IVA-dependant, which gives us a bit more control over the builds,” he said.

Andover IVAs delayed by robins

Andover Trailers reports that its persistence in pressing for remote IVA inspections has paid off, although one vehicle has met with an unexpected delay due to wildlife activity. At least one inspection per day is now being carried out using a smartphone running Microsoft Teams. DVSA representatives are able to direct and watch an Andover engineer walk through the test, demonstrating safety features and confirming dimensions. The current workflow is roughly the same as DVSA’s previous one day per fortnight allocated for on-site inspections.

The halted inspection is on a Volvo FM 8x2 rigid, destined for Paragon Tool Hire. The 32-tonne machinery carrier, with low-profile deck and fold-flat ramps, was chosen by a family of robins as a secure nesting location.

Paragon Tool Hire manager Harry Scarffe said “As reasons go for delaying the delivery of a new vehicle to our fleet, this is certainly a new one! We were delighted to hear that the IVA tests were now able to take place, but after hearing about the nest our first thought was of course to ensure any new chicks were kept safe and sound; we all agreed that the test can wait.”


Andover Trailers MD, Tim Wright, added “It was vital for us as a business to get the IVA testing moving again, particularly on the completed trailers and plant bodies we have sitting in our yard. What we didn’t plan for was a family of robins moving in! Though it has put a much-needed smile on all our faces.”