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Specialist vehicle provider continues to further extend its capabilities

24 June 2021

Expanding business resulting from investment in people, products and service delivery by family-owned company Econ Engineering.

With concerns raised around the world about the impact of climate change, the only certainty regarding the weather seems to be that it is likely to remain uncertain for the short-, medium- and long-term future.

FMs and their service partners will, however, be aware that it is essential to plan for all eventualities where the running of facilities is concerned, including preparing for all types of impact from the weather.

This is where the services of Econ Engineering can prove to be essential, particularly during the winter months. Econ Engineering offers a hire fleet of 900 vehicles of all types and sizes, with the capability of delivering any surface treatment deemed necessary to remove or keep them free from snow and ice.

While the running of the hire fleet constitutes an important part of the business, the company has also established a manufacturing base in Ripon, North Yorkshire, where it creates bespoke maintenance vehicles for clients, with an 85% market share.

Following increased demand for its services in both Scotland and Wales, Econ Engineering has also established depots in Alloa and Cardiff respectively over the last two years.

Director Andrew Lupton speaks to PFM to explain the depth and scope of the company’s operations and also explain about its latest development: “We purchased 24 acres in the Thirsk area last year and have dedicated eight acres to the creation of a new facility for our business.

“This will include a 20-bay service centre and parking for 400 trucks on site. The remaining 16 acres at Thirsk will be let to or sold to commercial organisations,” he says.

Mr Lupton further explains that the new facility is due for completion in February 2022 and will be open when the company’s hire fleet returns in April, as its winter service schedule comes to an end.

It should be explained that the summer months are far from quiet for the company, due to the high demand for keeping all vehicles in top condition.

“We replace around 100 vehicles every year, which means that these are built within our manufacturing operation,” Mr Lupton continues. “We make sure that no vehicle continues to operate after it is five years old.”

Further support is available for the company’s fleet hire customers from its team of mobile service engineers, which operates on a 24/7 basis and will typically attend call outs within 24 hours. If a quick repair is not possible, the company then organises a replacement vehicle to keep any service disruptions to a minimum.

The company employs 240 people in total and has established a highly-skilled workforce. With increasing concerns raised around all business sectors regarding skills shortages, Mr Lupton explains that the company has created an in-depth process to support its employees, including apprentices and their colleagues at all stages of their careers.

“We’ll be recruiting more staff for our Thirsk site when it’s up and running,” Mr Lupton continues, providing further evidence of the value the company provides to the local communities surrounding its English, Scottish and Welsh sites.

With the business continuing to see high demand for its vehicles and services, it seems highly likely that staff numbers will increase further in the years to come.

“Customers can choose from a wide variety of vehicles from 3.5 to 26 tons, including salt spreading, verge clearing or multi-purpose vehicles that can be used for a variety of options and remain in use all year, rather than just the winter,” says Mr Lupton.

The company ensures that its vehicles meet the necessary environmental legislation for emissions within the areas they operate. In addition to the environmental credentials of its vehicles, the company is also making considerable effort to reduce its own carbon footprint following a major investment in solar power to produce sufficient energy to run its head office site: “The entire roof at Ripon is covered in solar panels,” Mr Lupton states.

Having achieved its 50th anniversary in 2019, the company is understandably keen to draw attention to its long heritage and displays a number of its vehicles in the museum at its Ripon facility, providing an absorbing comparison to the vehicles of the 1960s and the high-tech versions produced today.

When conditions allow, Econ Engineering also intends to resume the participation of its older vehicles within vintage events.

Having survived and prospered throughout the last 52 years, the business seems well positioned to continue its development in the years ahead by recording additional growth for both its specialist fleet hire and bespoke vehicle manufacturing services.

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