Real quality is thin on the ground

Apologies, Laurie Dealer has been very busy scouring the earth for quality, yet affordable stock. 

Truth is, there is enough out there but any trucks or vans (Laurie Dealer is also heading into plant, things are so tight) are not in a very good state. And with prices creeping up quality becomes an issue. No one wants to part with cash for ropy...rope, if you see what Laurie Dealer means.

Nevertheless, news that SMMT figures show the market down again, this time 33.1%, in September for trucks over 6.0-tonnes shows, as an industry, there won't be much coming through in the years to come. This year, the projected figure is just over 25,000 units.

Try carving that among the used market in three, four or five year's time. The UK could, three years down the line, see a rise in importing from mainland Europe and converting them or modifying the chassis. Not encouraging, but values in a sparse market will be driven by the manufacturers...

Woodland eyes profit growth through rebrand

Woodland Group says after it endured the recession last year it has entered 2010 in a strong position, with expectations of enhanced profit and turnover.

Accounts for the year ended 31 December 2009 show that turnover for the group fell by £8.3m to £59m, with a £361,000 pre-tax loss.

However, company secretary John Stubbings says a major rebranding and refocusing exercise has placed the international freight forwarder, warehousing and distribution business in a position that will return it to the black.

The overhaul of the company's image brought nine of Woodland's separate businesses under one umbrella.

Stubbings says: "It's helped us to raise our profile - one group with a common name. Before then it was slightly fragmented; we have grown fast over a number of years and we had bolted-on entities.

"When we stopped and looked at it we realised it could be a little confusing, not just to our own people, but to the outside world."

Stubbings adds: "We have streamlined things such as administration; efficiencies have come out of it. There have been cost savings, but I would be lying if I said there have been cost savings overall. A lot of money went into rebranding, signage, vehicle livery, etc."

The group made around 25 redundancies during 2009; but 15 were based in the US.

He concludes that trading in 2010 has been "not bad at all", adding: "But we don't want to be out there waving the flag. We are confident we will come to the end of 2010 with profit enhanced again.

"Turnover will certainly be enhanced. Turnover is not everything, but it gives you buying power."