The fast-growing Bevan Group has underlined its standing as one of the UK’s leading commercial vehicle bodybuilders by appointing an industry ‘big hitter’ as its first Engineering & Production Director.
Ian Roberts joins the Black Country-based business from Danish-owned truck-mounted crane manufacturer HMF, where he spent the last six years as Managing Director of its UK operation. His 25-year career also includes a lengthy stint in a senior management role with another bodybuilder, prior to which he served with the Royal Engineers.
Ian is now leading the design and manufacturing teams at Bevan’s three production facilities in the Black Country, as well as its Supertrucks operation in St Helens, Merseyside, which specialises in building glass-carrying vehicles but undertakes other projects too.
He is also overseeing the re-location of the Bevan Specialist Products operation from its current base in Stone, Staffordshire, to another site, close to the Group’s headquarters in Wednesbury.
Ian says: “This is an exciting new adventure for me, and a challenge that I’m relishing. The Bevan Group has grown out of all recognition over the last 10 years, which means it is now a force to be reckoned with. The company has exciting plans for further expansion and I’m looking forward to playing my part in taking it to the next level.”
Ian oversaw a quadrupling of turnover during his tenure at HMF, though he admits to becoming frustrated by the role’s limitations. “HMF manufactures great products, but does so in Denmark,” he explains. “Its UK business is essentially a sales, distribution and after sales operation. I’m an engineer at heart, and realised that I missed the construction side – it was the opportunity to get back into production with Bevan that really appealed.”
The Bevan Group manufactures an extensive range of dry freight bodies – including Lutons, boxes, curtainsiders, dropsiders and tippers – for some of the biggest names on Britain’s roads. The company enjoys an enviable reputation for its build quality and customer service, as well as for innovation – the aerodynamic Bevan21 concept has delivered proven fuel savings, while the Safe-T-Drop rail system for platform bodies has been adopted by a string of high-profile operators committed to minimising fall from height risks for employees.
An early priority for Ian is to achieve efficiencies and cost-savings by implementing synergies across the Bevan Group’s disparate operations – acquired within the last three years, the Supertrucks and Bevan Specialist Products (formerly Stag Bodies) business units have proved highly successful, but there remains scope to improve the performance of both through further integration.
Continues Ian: “We’ve already made some dramatic changes at Supertrucks, which have delivered an increase of 30-40% in productivity. That’s a big ‘win’ which has allowed us to reduce lead times for customers, but there’s plenty more to come.”
He adds: “There’s a really nice feel to this company and it’s great once again to be doing what I enjoy most – working with steel, and building trucks.”
Bevan Group Managing Director Anthony Bevan says: “Ian and I have known each other for a long time, and I’m delighted that I’ve finally persuaded him to join our management team. He brings a wealth of experience and lots of new ideas to the business, and will have a big part to play as we pursue our growth strategy.”