Customers, staff and representatives from the DAF UK team were all present and a good time was had by all.
Watts Truck and Van is a forward thinking company that invests in the future and the success and growth of their dealerships meant that they recognised some time ago that they needed to consider moving from their old premises at Cwmdu Parc. Once the industrial centre of the area, the traffic and businesses on the Parc have changed over the years and the need to expand and have better access set the wheels in motion for the relocation to the Swansea Enterprise Park.
The new premises at the Swansea Enterprise Park, a converted warehouse, has excellent access from the motorway and gives Watts Truck & Van more space, with better facilities for customers and staff alike. It took a lot of planning in terms of working out how to split the premises to accommodate the various operations.
One of the key features of the new building is the reception area. “When we looked at the building early on we saw that it had a really attractive reception area, and this was a feature we wanted to maintain” said Simon Griffin, Dealer Principal at Watts Truck & Van “The warehouse was big enough for us to redesign around it to get in the 5 bay workshop and 2 drive through bays we needed.”
At one point, it was thought that there wouldn’t be enough space to house the parts department if it was laid out in the traditional orthodox way. However, some serious thinking about how to obtain greater utilisation of space, meant that the problem was overcome by using lean lift carousels.
In terms of facilities for customers, the new premises have that 5 bay workshop with 2 drive-through bays giving much greater efficiency. No more driving into narrow bays and then having to reverse carefully back out, meaning work can be completed much more quickly for customers! Brighter workshops allow Watts technicians to work more effectively on intricate electrical components and the on-site truck cleaning bay means that customers now have a one stop shop. Suitable for vans too, the truck cleaning bay means there is no longer a need for customers to get their vehicles cleaned elsewhere before MOTs. Vehicles can be dropped off at Watts where they will be thoroughly cleaned ready for inspection by the MOT testers. And whilst they are waiting for their vehicles, drivers can relax in comfort in the new waiting areas.
Staff too, are benefiting from improved facilities at the new premises. Brighter workshops with better layouts for access to tools allow them to be more efficient with their time, which results in an improved customer service. The lean lift carousels make access to parts much easier too. But it’s not just the work environment that has improved, the personnel facilities are also much improved in the new premises. Better restroom and shower facilities have been provided as well as staff now benefiting from their own car park. The open plan office areas make for a much better team environment too.
The environmental impact of the business has not been ignored during the relocation either. As well as continuing to segregate and manage waste to ensure as much is recycled as possible, improved lighting and heating initiatives have been installed. Lighting motion sensors and heating cut off systems are now in place to ensure less waste and a more efficient use of energy.
“Our environmental commitments are very important to us,” said Simon, “our environmental management system is audited every year to ensure our systems are fit for purpose and relevant as every year progresses, it’s something we take very seriously.”
As is Watts commitment to their Business in the Community values. All employees are from the local area, with many of them having a long continuity of service, some of whom have been with the company for 25 years or more. A prime example of this is Steve Jenkins, the current depot manager in Swansea. He started with Watts many years ago as a Saturday YTS boy. He is now the Depot manager at Swansea and the Regional Parts Manager within Watts Truck & Van. It is hoped that the ongoing relationships within the community and with local schools will continue to foster good relationships and advantages for both Watts and the community.
So what’s next for Watts? The investment in the new Swansea depot at a time when many are concerned about Brexit and wavering over longer term investment goes to prove that Watts Truck & Van is a forward thinking company that continues to invest in its future. “These premises that we’ve converted are good for the next 20 years,” said Simon. “We’re making sure that we’ve got the best facilities for customers and staff and that includes continuing to invest in personal training plans for all our staff to ensure we have the skills for the future.”
“When it comes to major projects, the next investment opportunity is in Cardiff, where we’ve recently purchased the premises from the landlord. We are currently investigating how we can maximise the site and develop it into a more efficient dealership - watch this space!”