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Electric vehicles business gears up for the open road

Family firm diversifies into new product range after embracing ‘lean and continuous improvement’ with support from EEN.

Written by Jenny Wilton on 15 October 2017

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Main Image
 An electric road vehicle with cage body for cleaning and maintenance.

© Bradshaw Electric Vehicles

5% increase in turnover

3 new jobs

The UK’s biggest supplier of electric vehicles for industry, with a blue-chip customer base that includes most UK airport operators and major car manufacturing plants, has moved into new markets after support from Enterprise Europe Network.

 

Advice and guidance through the EU-funded Innovate 2 Succeed programme focused on a leaner, more innovative approach to sales and marketing at Bradshaw Electric Vehicles.

 

The family-owned firm, which employs nearly 60 people at its headquarters in Peterborough, has since launched its first electric road vehicle range, for cleaning and maintenance within local authorities and parks.

 

Airport terminal vehicles

 

“We have sold 30 to 40 already this year, retailing at around £25,000 each,” said Joint Managing Director, Drew Bradshaw. “It’s based on a French-built flatbed chassis and we offer a cage-back version with pressure washer. It means that staff can undertake general clean-up duties and deal with graffiti and chewing gum too.”

 

“The vehicles cost a few pounds a day to run, which is a lot less than a Ford Transit.”

 

The company, which began as an offshoot of the family’s farming activities in the 1960s, has also seen a 5% increase in turnover and added 3 new jobs since approaching EEN in 2016.

 

The firm already enjoyed a ‘lion’s share’ of two mature markets. Those involved trolley retrieval vehicles at airport terminals in the UK and vehicles that deliver components on production lines at automotive plants. Customers include MINI, Nissan, Toyota, Ford, Bentley, Jaguar Land Rover and Vauxhall.

 

Lean and continuous improvement

 

Drew added: “It’s an exciting time for electric vehicles. They’re hitting the headlines on a daily basis. That generates growth opportunities. We needed to take the business to the next step.”

 

With guidance from Jenny Wilton, their EEN adviser in the East of England, the company first embarked on a strategic review and then readily adopted the principles, tools and techniques of ‘lean and continuous improvement’ in its sales and marketing process.

 

Drew said that the self-imposed discipline of a meeting with team leaders every three weeks was crucial: “Until you formalise the process, you don’t do it effectively. It just drifts.”

 

Innovation is fundamental to the success of any business and the Innovate 2 Succeed programme meant we were leaner and quicker in bringing our new product to market.

Drew Bradshaw, Joint Managing Director, Bradshaw Electric Vehicles

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