Built better for longer
From humble beginnings in 1976, Bevan Group is today a multi-award winning manufacturer of commercial vehicle bodies, and a provider of multiple associated services
Having served its customers now for 44 years, Bevan Group is the UK’s leading commercial vehicle bodybuilder, manufacturing over 60 vehicle bodies per week, including curtainsiders, dropsiders and zero-emissions vehicles. Family owned and run, and with over 300 employees across its operations, the group today operates out of five sites, four of which are located in the West Midlands, with another based in St Helens. Each facility specializes in its own build types and industry sectors, increasing efficiency, consistency and quality across the board.
Placing innovation, longevity and efficiency at the forefront of all of its work, Bevan Group specializes in eight core service offerings. These include, the manufacturing of commercial vehicle bodies, graphic design and application, and passport service, where it has a whole vehicle type approval agency licensing out its approvals to 70 other bodybuilders and which acts as a consultancy to the business. Additional offerings see the group provide glass carrier services, breakdown response, the supply of Bevan and third-party parts to the industry, and the manufacturing and converting of electric/gas and hydrogen vehicles.
The group’s core services are crucial in providing its customers with a ‘one-stop-shop’ service that they heavily benefit from.
“Our ethos at Bevan Group is ‘built better for longer’, and because of this we have a client base that spans many sectors and fleet sizes,” explains Group Sales Director, Roy Shelton. “By building multi-use vehicles, we are able to demonstrate a clear business saving which, when coupled with our new 60-month warranty on all of our products, helps to make us the UK’s industry-leading bodybuilder.”
Bevan bodies are designed and built to be robust, have market-leading life spans, fewer issues during service, and higher residual values. The group works closely alongside its customers and end users across all processes – from vehicle body design through to implementation, vehicle life and disposal – to ensure that it provides a cost-effective and long-lasting solution at all times. “Our customer service is second to none, and we truly pride ourselves on offering a one-stop-shop to our customers and end users,” Roy continues. “We liaise closely with them after the vehicle build is complete in order to gain valuable feedback on what went well, and where any improvements could be made to shape and adapt our offering in the future. Our dedicated Customer Services Manager works directly with our customers on a personal level to ensure that our retention rate remains high. Many of our customers have been working with us for more than 30 years now, which we feel is great testament to the high levels of customer atisfaction that we provide. The feedback from our customers is presented in our quarterly sales meeting, ensuring that our whole operation is customer focused, and that customer service targets are met.”
Key to the success of Bevan Group over the years has been its ability to monitor market trends in order to target specific sectors as they start to emerge by continually adding to its product range. Meanwhile, any acquisitions that the group has made have been done to so to enter a specific sector that it was not previously present within, thus adding to its portfolio of services. While its pricing is at the top end of the market, its ever-growing customer base, warranty, and customer retention levels more than justify its strategy, and shows that it works!
“We stand by our product, and work closely with the end user to build the product that they want, adding innovation where required,” Roy affirms. “We are at the forefront of reducing the image of the industry as working out of old sheds. Our engineering and production teams are always working towards achieving the highest quality vehicles, so that when our customers come to place their next order, it us they think of first. Furthermore, our sales team are not tasked with just looking for the next order from a customer. Rather, they are looking for those orders that will still be being placed in five or ten years’ time, and not just so called ‘quick wins’. At the end of the day, we want to win new business and, most importantly, keep it.”
More important than the above to Bevan Group’s prosperity, however, have been its people. “They are everything to us,” Roy proudly states. “This is a family run business, but with over 300 employees and close communication between our different brands, it is easy for everyone to feel a part of the team. This is a feeling that we look to instill in all of our people, from the large number of customer facing staff that we have, through to our customer care teams, sales people, and our more than 50 mobile engineers who interact with the end user every single day.”
It is a methodology that is clearly reaping its rewards, with Bevan Group continuing to be the recipient of a number of major industry awards. One of the most recent saw it named ‘Bodybuilder of the Year’ at the prestigious Commercial Motor Awards 2020. This marked the second time that Bevan Group had entered the competition, and its second success following its taking of the honors in 2017. “At a time when some of our team were furloughed and some were continuing to work, this achievement certainly helped in making everyone feel a part of the success of the group,” Roy says. “Thus far, in 2020, we have entered a number of different awards, and in each one we have not failed to be shortlisted.”
In the case of the Commercial Motor Awards 2020, its independent judging panel of road transport sector specialists singled out Bevan Group for praise as a business “bursting with innovation” and one that shows it continues to have “an eye for the future, particularly when it comes to electric vehicles”. This latter comment is especially significant as it follows the launch – in March 2020 – of En-Veco, a specialist business unit established to support operators as they make the transition to more sustainable road transport solutions.
As well as producing and fitting high-volume Voltia bodies for fully electric Nissan e-NV200 vans, En-Veco – the name is an abbreviation of ‘environmental vehicle conversions’ – offers a comprehensive bodybuilding service that covers other chassis which employ gas as well as battery power, including hybrids. “This side of the business represents a totally new start up for Bevan Group,” Roy adds. “To support 69it, we have sourced a production facility and tailored it to the needs of this particular product. Part of this is the conversion of panel vans which we have not previously been involved in. The staff will all be fully trained in the best practices of working on these types of vehicles, and the skills set will be increased as new products are launched.”
Despite the well-publicized challenges encountered by all industries throughout the world in 2020, Bevan Group is buoyed by the fact that as we enter the final few weeks of the year, it has not only maintained its customer base, but has also not seen any of its existing contracts cancelled. With this in mind, it has set itself several short, medium and long-term goals.
“Our short-term strategy is to stay stable and maintain our high-quality standards. Then, in the medium to long-term, we need to ensure that we keep ahead of the market by sourcing the right products, whilst also continuing to innovate. By doing so we can look to ensure that Bevan Group remains the first point of call for those customers who wish to receive industry-leading quality solutions and service,” Roy concludes.
Services: Commercial vehicle bodybuilders