Vans lined up outside Manheim commercial vehicle auction

Growing Pains from James Davis - 9th October 2015

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This week has been one of mixed emotions for me and my colleagues in Manheim; a week where we announced the proposed closure of Manheim Leeds Commercials and the proposed opening of a new CV Centre of Excellence at our Shepshed site in Leicestershire.

Over recent months we have been conducting a strategic review of our remarketing infrastructure to ensure that we can continue to meet the evolving needs of our customers, and in particular, process the increasing volumes of de-fleeted commercial vehicles.

In August, our commercial vehicle volumes sold were 55% higher than the same month in 2014, and in September, they were more than 40% up on last year. SMMT forecasts predict 2015 as the biggest new van registration year in history.

Our Leeds Commercials auction centre is constrained by a lack of space. We’re unable to extend its footprint to meet these increasing volumes, particularly those in the HGV and Trailer sectors. Shepshed not only benefits from being more than 50% larger than our Leeds Commercials site, but it also has most of the necessary auction centre infrastructure in place, meaning it would be possible to recommission the site and therefore use an existing asset as effectively as possible.

Our proposals would see us invest a seven-figure sum re-opening the Shepshed site, located just off junction 23 of the M1, to create the UK’s largest dedicated CV Centre of Excellence. Although this is clearly a major development for our CV strategy, it is with a very heavy heart that we are proposing to close the Leeds Commercials auction centre towards the end of the year.

Ford Transit van at auctionOur employees are our most valuable asset. Our employees work tirelessly and passionately to deliver industry leading service for our customers every single day. We treat each other with respect and dignity. The announcement is by no means a reflection of the hard work and commitment of the team at Leeds Commercials. It’s an incredibly hard decision.

As leader of Commercial Vehicles I am personally overseeing these proposals and as you will appreciate, our immediate focus is our people and to ensure they are supported through the coming weeks, including helping them to find alternative roles, where possible.

As well as always treating colleagues and customers with respect, we are also duty-bound to foster a sustainable workplace; part of that is about ensuring that we remain commercially competitive. Manheim is part of a global, family-owned business, with a long-term, strategic vision that allows us to be innovative and continue to deliver a high-quality service to our customers; our lifeblood, without which our business would not exist.

Our customers are witnesses to our long-term, strategic vision in action, and will be the first to hear about the next steps in our ambitious plans to invest in and develop our nationwide remarketing operation to provide them with the best possible service.

In closing I want to thank you for taking the time to read this. My colleagues and I value your business, your support, the love you hold in your hearts for commercial vehicles, for Manheim, for our people. For those who don’t know me, I often look for a quotation to summarise my feelings and emotions. I seek inspiration and perspective from the words of others, reassurance from knowledge of ‘goings on’ in the wider world. It helps me guide and focus my thinking.

This is a recent quote I read from Bill Gates.

“This is a very exciting time in the world of information. It's not just that the personal computer has come along as a great tool. The whole pace of business is moving faster.”Globalisation is forcing companies to do things in new ways. This is a fantastic time to be entering the business world, because business is going to change more in the next ten years than it has in the last fifty.

My contact details are below if you want to get in touch

James Davis
Director of Commercial Vehicles
07767 845848

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