Premium UK food supplier Wellocks teams up with Shell to boost its brand and cut fleet costs
For more than half a century, Wellocks has been supplying premium ingredients to some of the UK’s most prestigious hotels and restaurants. From Gleneagles in Scotland to Gidleigh Park in Devon, Emirates’ first class airlines to the five-star hospitality suites at Old Trafford, the company is part of a world where quality, efficiency and reliability go hand in hand.
For Wellocks, missed or late deliveries are simply not an option. Its customers, which include many of the country’s top chefs and hoteliers, work to precise deadlines and expect seamless service – right from the time they place an order to the moment the ingredients arrive in the kitchen.
As a supplier to Freemasons at Wiswell in Clitheroe, Lancashire, the expectation is reliability and quality at all times throughout the year. Chef Patron Steven Smith says: “When it comes to suppliers, Wellocks is really the only option.”
Consequently, finance director Michael Beech is acutely aware of the importance of maintaining an efficient and reliable fleet of delivery vehicles.
“We have more than 100 vehicles making around 6,000 deliveries every week, all over the UK,” he explains.
“Every single one of those deliveries needs to be on time, with the ingredients in perfect condition when they get there. Our customers are premium brands, so they expect us to provide a service to match.”
The once-small family business has rapidly expanded to a countrywide establishment and currently employs more than 400 people. To keep up with the demand, Wellocks operates a series of regional hubs, supplied by four state-of-the-art refrigerated artic lorries. Customer deliveries are then made by a fleet of HGV and Sprinter vans, each working in a specific area of the country. Having access to a fuel supplier with more than 1,100 Shell service stations that could match its own nationwide ntwork was therefore a major part of the company’s decision to switch from a small UK-based fuel company to begin a relationship with Shell.
“Having Shell fuel cards is far more convenient for our drivers and cost effective for the business,” says Beech. “There are Shell service stations wherever our drivers need them, so we no longer have to factor refuelling detours into our delivery schedules. We’ve also been able to stop storing tanked fuel at almost all our own sites.”
“The more reliable and efficient our vans are, the better our service is for customers and the more profitable we are as a business,” continues Beech.
“Through using Shell FuelSave Diesel, we expect to see a reduction in our fuel costs, a decrease in maintenance expenditure and a fall in the number of vehicle breakdowns. With our business currently expanding, this is particularly important. The less time and money we spend on maintenance, the more we can focus on attracting and serving new customers.”
In other words, when it comes to Wellocks’ business operations and profitability, the benefits of its relationship with Shell are clear. But for Beech and his fellow directors, there is also a less tangible factor to consider: the positive impact on the company’s brand reputation.
“To succeed as a business and also differentiate ourselves from the competition, it is important that we behave like a premium brand in everything we do,” says Beech.
“Right from the quality of our ingredients through to the standard of our vehicles and the professionalism of our drivers. I’d much rather our customers see one of our lorries or vans refuelling on a Shell forecourt than a supermarket one!”
“Besides, at Wellocks, we often talk about the importance of having a Formula One operating model: one that is sleek, efficient and fast-paced. Given Shell’s heritage in developing quality fuels, as well as its long-standing technical partnership with Ferrari, working together is the perfect match for the perfect ingredient.”
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