What makes us stand apart from the competition? Two words … innovation and ambition. We speak to Head of Operations Steve Wilkinson about the secret behind CoolKit’s success.
“CoolKit will not accept the status quo when it comes to design and build techniques within this industry. We have listened to our customers and for those who are particularly payload sensitive, we have developed a solution.”
Steve explains how we have challenged ourselves not just to be on par with the competition but to beat it by some distance. If we entered with another ‘me too’ product we’d be waiting a long time to gain market share.
“By offering a payload that in some cases is 12% better than our competitors, it means customers can carry more in less journeys. Our product means 12% less vehicles, less drivers, less man hours. It really changes the customers cost base and competitiveness, especially across a fleet”.
To achieve the impressive payload on our refrigerated vehicles, we have taken inspiration from industries using cutting edge technology and turned traditional refrigerated panel van construction on its head.
“The biggest factor in our growth has been the use of new composite materials in our panels” – explains Steve. “We have tried to exploit ideas that we have seen in other industries such as automotive and aerospace and marry them into our industry.”
During his career, Steve – a qualified engineer – has worked in development, operations and consultancy roles. “If I had come from a refrigerated van convertor background, maybe I would have been a bit blinkered. As a consultant across various industries, these sectors have given me many ideas and processes that are transferrable to this industry.”
“We also try and do lots of factory tours wherever possible. We always pick up useful points from other companies that we can implement into our production.”
Steve explains the company has taken their panel van knowledge and experience and transferred it into the new refrigerated box vehicle product, released in 2017. We have employed box vehicle specialists with many years’ experience and harnessed the intellectual capabilities of two Lancashire universities, UCLan and Lancaster University, to create the new offer.
“We have some great internal specialists – but we don’t know everything. By tapping into the universities’ knowledge bank we can test and validate our thinking. The fact we have gone to these lengths proves that we have taken the time and care to eradicate or minimise any risk.”
Instead of using traditional wood and metal panels, we have drastically reduced use of these heavy materials and instead opted for strong yet lightweight GRP, foam and plywood. The floor is traditionally made up of lots of layers. We have managed to eliminate the wood altogether and reduce the metal – the heaviest component – but improved the key properties.
“It’s good to be progressive and challenge the norm, but we have to do it ambitiously but cautiously. It’s easy to be gung ho, buy you can grow chaotically. We have to be pragmatic about what we do, when we do it, and how much we do at once. We are taking ambitious baby steps.”
To find out more about our innovative refrigerated vehicles, makes sure to come and see us at The CV Show, Stand No. 3E115 in the Cool Zone. Follow us on Twitter @CoolKitLtd for the latest news and product offers.