Hadfield Wood Recyclers is one of the oldest wood recycling companies in the UK and a founder of the Wood Recyclers Association, the industry’s trade association.
Growth does not come without its challenges, however, particularly for a business that is keenly aware of its surroundings and environmental impact. A UK leader in developing environmentally sound solutions for the use of recovered wood, the former farmland is now in a heavily populated area.
“We have great respect for our neighbours and work in a way so as to reduce our potential to become a nuisance,” says operations manager, Neil Ogden.
As a result, night work is largely restricted to indoors, whilst a surrounding wall, dust and noise monitors, and fast turnaround of loads, all help keep disruption to a minimum. In fact, having two forklifts available to simultaneously unload lorries speeds up the process, and was part of the original brief to Windsor’s Mark Welsby.
Says Mark: “We listen closely to what the customer wants, but we also want to offer a fresh perspective if needed. Cost savings, fuel consumption, emissions and noise were important factors. We’ve come up with a great balance for Neil and proven the new equipment is excellent on fuel. We supplied Doosans and a low cost Tailift, which is not utilised as heavily but is there as needed. ”
Neil was surprised to see the dramatic differences in fuel usage (“a real eye-opener” he says). A last-minute claim by a competitor to prove otherwise, failed to impress a now-skeptical team, particularly for Neil, who believes good support and honesty are critical. Windsor has itself spent a great deal of time focusing on providing customers with exceptional service and support.
Hadfield, it would seem, felt let down by the move, which was in stark contrast to Mark’s attention to detail. “Mark buys into it, he gets involved and we have meetings planned in over the next 10-12 months to review fleet usage. We appreciate the regular updates and the personal style of account management. If you work together, life is a lot easier, and Windsor and Mark have proven that.”
In busier months, the baler, producing packs of equine, poultry and cattle bedding, can be running round the clock. As well as loading the finished packs, the five-strong fleet of forklifts are there for loading up to eight vehicles a day, engineering work and handling raw materials.
Hadfield also recycle wood into panel board, arena surfaces, play area surfaces and filter beds and were the first wood recycler in the UK to sign a long-term contract with a large domestic biomass station.
“A manufacturer shifts metal and it’s easy for them to lose the relationship-building approach.”
Today they are a leading player in the UK’s biomass market, both large and small scale. In 2009, the company also secured one of the UK’s largest waste wood contracts: a five-year contract with Viridor, on behalf of the Greater Manchester Waste Disposal Authority.
In a competitive arena, efficiency is crucial to the business’s overall success. The quick turnaround of the delivery lorries is obviously something Neil and his team take great pride in. There’s no lost time and even the logistics partners, JMA Transport, have adapted their lorry fleet to match.
“Five bales on top of each other is ideal for manual handling purposes,” says Neil, “but we can and do go higher. At five, two pallets are stacked on top of one another and the trailers are an exact fit. We have a lot of customers, we have to be flexible and adapt the loads to match their needs. We are helpful to our customers and we hope the people that work with us are too.”
For Mark, that flexibility translates to changes in the Doosan forklifts to make them ideally suited to the application. Front screens were modified with protective guards, whilst light brackets were also changed to reduce costly damage.
“We came here with a different attitude to other suppliers,” said Mark. “Five different brands were here on demonstration. Operators were comparing notes on visibility, fuel consumption, seats and so on. We gave Neil’s team two weeks to trial the Doosan. We upgraded our seat, added blue lights and ensured that it ticked all the boxes. A manufacturer shifts metal and it’s easy for them to lose the relationship-building approach. We are a business, but we are ultimately customer-driven.”