Isover Awards 5-Year, £15 million contract to Purple client, Downton

Leading insulation manufacturer Isover, part of the global Saint Gobain group, has awarded a five-year transport contract worth approximately £15 million to CM Downton. The contract was finalised following a competitive tender during which Isover identified that Downton could offer an innovative solution that delivers value and stability to support its growing business requirement. Downton has taken on the management, transport and shunting teams from the previous transport provider under TUPE regulations and also acquired a number of Isover-liveried trailers.

Isover manufactures a range of mineral wool insulation products at its factory in Runcorn, Cheshire. This is located just 400m from Downton’s own facility in the town, which presented an opportunity to configure an innovative transport solution. The previous transport provider had co-ordinated the operations of its own fleet and multiple sub-contractors to arrange the collection of loads from the factory. With limited space on the site for loading, and little room for expansion as production volumes grow, this led to some scheduling issues and periods of congestion which put a strain on deliveries. Downton offered an alternative solution whereby finished products are shunted directly from the factory store to its own facility where there is more room for loading and future expansion. This eliminates the need for delivery vehicles to visit the factory which has significantly reduced the number of movements on site, leading to simpler administrative and health and safety compliance processes.

John Pointon, supply chain manager at Isover UK, commented: “CM Downton’s commitment to improving the customer experience is aligned with our own service charter and will ensure our products are delivered as quickly as possible and on time. Downton was able to demonstrate innovation and value that will support Isover’s ongoing business growth with added stability. Part of the transfer to CM Downton will include updated branding to 20 of Isover’s trailers in line with the company’s new Sound Good Factor campaign.”

Downton has configured the operation with a core fleet supported with resources from its wider network. The company ensures a high proportion – typically over 90 per cent – of loads are transported using its own vehicles which makes it inherently simpler to co-ordinate all aspects of the contract with greater consistency and transparency than the previous operation. The operation involves daily deliveries of between 30 and 35 loads of palletised slab and roll insulation weighing up to 10 tonnes. These are delivered as full and multi-drop loads to Isover’s building trade customers and other stockists.

The contract was awarded in December 2016 with Downton taking over full operations at the end of May 2017. During a relatively complex transition period, Downton completed the transfer of the previous transport supplier’s team of managers, drivers and shunters under TUPE regulations. The negotiations also resulted in the transfer of 20 Isover-liveried teardrop trailers from the previous supplier to Downton. The company offered transport support during the transfer period to ensure a smoother transition, including handling around 20 per cent of capacity in the month before the actual go-live date, and providing some storage capacity over the Christmas period.

David Hutchings, Head of Business Development at CM Downton, said: “The length of contract is unusual but we were able to demonstrate innovation and value that will support Isover’s ongoing business growth with added stability. There are commercial and operational benefits of doing an extended deal for both sides. Saint Gobain and Isover saw that we are a solid business who can offer strategic support over the longer term. This was a challenging and complex transfer but it was completed seamlessly, the ramp-up has gone exceptionally well and the support we gave ahead of go-live demonstrates our flexible and can-do attitude.”