Company Spotlight - Runtech, Peter Miles and Andrew Dowsett
There is more to Runtech than immediately meets the eye, much more, both in respect of what they do and perhaps more importantly, how they do it. When Janet Birkmyre talked to Peter Miles and Andrew Dowsett about the company - which is enjoying its 25 th anniversary this year - it quickly becomes obvious just how well their values fit with those of WG Davies.
Runtech was founded by Ian Gorvett back in 1996. His wife, Samantha, has worked with him from the outset and his son, Grant, joined the team in 2008. “Runtech is very much a family run business”, Peter told us, “when we started the transport business we had about half a dozen low loaders and approximately 80 to 100 vehicles out on hire but it really took off in 2005 when we won our first manned service contract to work on site at Port Talbot.” They must be doing something right because 16 years on the company has 35 such contracts in seven depots nationwide, with over 250 employees and more than 1000 items of plant and vehicles.
Peter is Runtech’s longest serving employee. 20 years ago he started as the Service Manager “And I’ve just grown with the company” he tells us modestly. Today he is the General Manager, responsible for overseeing almost all of the day-to-day running of the company, so it is amusing to learn that he met Ian and was interviewed by him “Outside a burger van in a layby and I started working with him a couple of months later”.
Andrew Dowsett, is Runtech’s Transport Manager. He joined the company almost 24 years ago as a low loader driver, moving plant around the country before Runtech got a contract in Ammanford, Andrew recalls “Then I came off the lorries and went into the office to run the transport. We had about five lorries that would make multiple drops and I put all of that together.” In 2007 Andrew moved to Spain to “Live the dream! I bought a bar cafe, that went well for a couple of years until the recession. That closed a lot of businesses so I came back to Runtech. We had just three lorries then and we have built it up to 23 lorries now.”
The connection between Runtech and WG Davies dates back to before Andrew and Peter joined the company because Ian had leased some MAN vehicles from Roger. For Peter, the relationship developed as the transport side of the business grew. “I realised Roger was a good guy, whatever he says he is going to do, he does it and that is so important to us. If I have a problem, I can speak to him – I like that personal touch. Since then our fleet has only been with MAN and all are looked after by WG Davies.”
Why MAN? Peter told us “We moved to MAN because of the service WG Davies were giving us, that is genuine. They do what they say they will do, they ring us back when they say they will and if we have got a problem, we work it out together – they are good people and they have stood in our corner to fight our cause in the past.” According to Peter, WG Davies have earned their loyalty, “When the chips were down they were on our side, so yes, a really strong relationship forged over time.”
Both Peter and Andrew talk about Runtech’s relationship with WG Davies as a partnership. For Peter that means “We need them to deliver their promises, we need to know that we have that support which will allow us to fulfil our commitments to our customers, and from day one of dealing with WG Davies we have had that confidence.”
While for Andrew the focus is day to day working with WG Davies to keep Runtech’s vehicles on the road, “Communication is the key. I will sometimes get a phone call at night if they need a decision from me, they know how important it is to ensure the lorry is on the road the next day. They understand how we work and they will go the extra mile when they need to. I can’t think of a time when they have let us down.” In the past Runtech ran a mixed fleet but the MAN product has stood up to the scrutiny, “The MAN is a good vehicle,” Peter told us, “it has proved reliable and we have had the opportunity to compare it to others. I think it has got better over the years and critically for us, if we do have a problem we know we can get it sorted by WG Davies.”
Runtech has taken delivery of five new MAN TG3s and they are living up to their International Truck of the Year billing, Andrew told us “The MAN lorries are top of the range, the drivers love them which helps massively with recruitment and it keeps them happy too.”
Peter talked about how Runtech leased the lorries even though they did not have drivers for them, “ We had a lot of extra work but we could not get the lorries and we could not get the drivers. Roger told us about these vehicles and we took a chance and leased them. We have focussed on what drivers want; their own vehicle, that is not driven by anyone else even when they are on holiday, and with a really high spec. With that in place we quickly recruited five drivers.”
Talking to Peter and Andrew there is no doubt that Runtech really values the people who are at the core of their business. Peter was proud to tell me “We retain staff really well, almost 85% have been with us for years and years and years. I think that is because we are a family run business, so we can make decisions quickly and Ian, Sam, Grant and I are approachable – if anyone has got issues they can come and see me, the door is always open, we are different to many companies in the way we operate.”
For Andrew it is about trust and responsibility “You do not hear anyone complaining. You are left alone to do the job and if you need something you have just got to ask, but no one is on your back, I am trusted to do the job.”
The care extended by Runtech goes beyond the company itself, “Ian has always felt strongly about being a part of the local community,” Peter explained, “even in the early days, when things were a lot tougher, it was a priority for us to support the community and charitable causes, from local food banks, to annual fundraising and sports club sponsorships.” Beyond that there is a passion for the environment as well, “We want to lead the way for a greener, cleaner future, so that the success of Runtech is beneficial to the planet too”.
Peter went on to talk about their commitment to a company car fleet that will be 100% electric by 2030, as well as the work they do with dust suppression and getting involved with litter collections from local beaches. It is a fascinating insight to a business which WG Davies is proud to work with and support. The business culture, attitudes and values across both businesses are a great fit and the sense of mutual respect between the two companies is strong.