Fleet & workshop
Director of Transport Operations
See why Castell Howell will base future purchasing of vehicles/assets on Vehocheck data.
Founded in 1988 by husband-and-wife team Brian & Elizabeth Jones, Castell Howell is now Wales’s largest and leading independent food wholesaler, supplying food and catering products to restaurants, schools, hospitals, cafés and many other catering establishments throughout Wales and the border counties.
The business was established on the family farm in a small village on the outskirts of Carmarthen with a single van and a solitary driver, the business quickly outgrew the farmyard and moved to a prime industrial location within touching distance of the A40 and A48 trunk roads in Carmarthen, where it enjoyed consistent and progressive growth for the next 16 years, increasing employees to 250 and vehicles to 50.
In 2007 the company relocated to its current location in Cross Hands, some 12 miles east of Carmarthen, turnover continued to grow and sales of £150m were achieved in 2019 with employee numbers at over 700 and operating over 150 commercial vehicles. At the heart of Castell Howell’s success is its people and its culture, where customers always come first.
Moving to digital compliance with Vehocheck
The Castell Howell transport department historically used paper for pre-start checks and defect reporting but as the business grew paper-checks soon become inefficient and hard to manage so they looked towards a digital solution.
Moving to paperless defect reporting was an easy decision for Luke Harris Group Asset & Maintenance Manager at Castell Howell. When researching, Luke narrowed the choice of provider to a couple of solutions but as well as keeping Castell Howell compliant, he also wanted to improve efficiencies, so much time was wasted on filling out, collating and then creating excel spreadsheets that their current system was no longer fit for purpose and not scalable. After reviewing all the options, Luke concluded that none of the other providers was as comprehensive and efficient as Vehocheck.
“We not only use Vehocheck to improve compliance but efficiencies, costs and productivity within Castell Howell, it is an excellent tool for any operator.”
Luke Harris Group Asset & Maintenance Manager
Improved transparency and reporting
As well as instant defect notifications and improved reporting, another benefit of choosing Vehcocheck was its ease of use for all the team. The easy to navigate app guides the driver on what to and how to inspect different parts of the vehicle, lets them select from a list of most common faults or they can record their own whilst prompting them to take a picture to clarify the defect.
Having team members of different ages and technological know-how was initially a concern for Luke as he wanted them to adopt and quickly move to digital, Vehocheck made this transition simple.
Better and Informed Decisions
Martin Jones-Director of Transport Operations at Castell Howell added “Using the data that Vehocheck provides enables us to make better and informed decisions. We worked closely with the Vehocheck team to develop a vehicle/asset lifecycle cost analysis, which tracks costings, repairs, and replacement part warranties for each vehicle/asset. We can now see which vehicle/asset or parts are costing more than others.
It’s not all about vehicles!
Although primarily focused on vehicle defect reporting and vehicle maintenance, Martin Jones-Director of Transport Operations at Castell Howell saw how flexible the Vehocheck system was that he decided to roll out Vehocheck to other parts of Castell Howell.
“We now use Vehocheck in other areas of the business from food processing machinery, vacuum packers and stackers to warehousing, packing and distribution. Using the lifecycle cost analysis enables us to measure the long-term economic sustainability of our assets. When we calculate the total cost of ownership over the life of an asset, we not only improve the bottom line, but we can also make a decision of whether we should hold onto or sell the asset.
“The ability to allocate costs per asset and report on this gives us data of which we can use to our advantage and identify a vehicle/asset that is beginning to cost a lot more within our fleet”
Martin Jones-Director of Transport Operations
“The willingness to help create bespoke and tailored checks and reports from the Vehocheck team enabled me to use the system in other areas like warehousing and other machinery. And now forms a crucial part in our compliance for not only DVSA but BRC and ISO” said Luke Harris Group Asset & Maintenance Manager