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Hauling Construction Forward

As the 2016 cricket season got under way, Kent County life member Martin Dace, owner of the Ardula group of companies, was delighted to notch up his own half century, adding 13 vehicles to the group’s 38 strong fleet of construction haulage tippers, grab lorries, and articulated bulkers.

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Whilst a batsman may desire to be not out, an Ardula driver very much prefers to be out – all day, every day on the county’s roads, providing the goods and services that Ardula has become renowned for in its 22 years of operation.

The solid base on which the company has been founded provides a platform for investment – not only in vehicles but in people. This year sees the company continue its ambitious driver training programme, to include emphasis on vulnerable road users. Vehicles have a range of audible and visual aids to warn the driver of cyclists and pedestrians in the ‘danger zone’ alongside the left of the vehicle, and driver training will shortly extend to putting drivers on bicycles in an urban environment to see that they understand the road conditions from another perspective. Driver trainer Jamie Walters has recently been awarded Freight Operator Recognition Scheme ‘Practitioner’ status – one of only 550 nationally to hold this qualification. Group managing director Ricky Hemmings will reach this milestone in June, showing that the company has a safety culture led by the management team.

In addition to a cricket following within the management team, there’s strong links to Tonbridge Juddians Rugby Club, which demonstrates not only the team ethos within the business, through supporting team sports, but also a wish to contribute to the local community, whether through team sponsorship, or the company’s long standing support of Hospice in the Weald, a cause to which Martin is very dedicated and hardworking.

Running a business is also a team effort, with Transport Managers Phil Brasier and Carl Brotherwood working with drivers and customers alike to achieve the common aim of goods and services provided competitively, correctly, and above all courteously. The fleet logistics team of Shaun Presneill and Jamie Walters keep the wheels moving in safe and secure fashion, and the accounts team of Tim Stevens, Tonia East and Ruth Buttigieg, keep the company’s finances moving in an equally safe and secure manner.

Seasoned travellers around the county will recognise the striking blue and red livery of the tipper fleet, and whilst the artic fleet livery is a little more circumspect, they are still visible across not only Kent, but London, Essex, and the home counties, with a combined 5000 kilometres travelled daily. The tipper fleet, numbering over twenty vehicles, marshalled daily by Phil Brasier, covers over 4000 kilometres a day, with Phil’s twenty plus years of experience recently rewarded by promotion to Director.

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Martin Dace and Ricky Hemmings meeting the Swedish Ambassador.

What’s increasingly apparent about the business is its ability to adapt to change without sacrificing its core values. The construction haulage sector is now one of the most heavily regulated within the overall construction industry, governed by both transport and environmental legislation, and the company continues to adopt new standards of working whilst providing a service to blue chip national contractors or small one-off customers alike. The company has accreditation in both the Freight Operator Recognition Scheme and Construction Logistics CLOCS standard, and whilst this meets or exceeds the demands of the industry as a whole,  the same level of service is applied to a single delivery to a residential property in a leafy lane in Kent.

In fact, the diversity of the customer  base goes hand in hand with the diversity of the products that Ardula can offer – the company maxim is that ‘if it can go in a tipper we can source and provide it’. From highways specification construction aggregates to menage sand, decorative cobbles, topsoil and bark, the company rarely accepts defeat, despite some challenging customer requests.

From small beginnings with a single lorry, the Ardula Group, owned and built up by Martin, and headed up by group Managing Director Ricky Hemmings, has become quite a tour de force in construction logistics in the south east, with each business unit having the strength and confidence to continue to grow as the economy continues to move forward in the coming years.

As the company continues to grow, the natural progression is also geographic, and as well as being busy around operating bases in Laddingford and Sheerness, Ardula’s trading relationships mean that the company is now operating across Kent and East Sussex, and into South London and Essex. The acquisition of thirteen rigid vehicles able to haul bricks, blocks, and paving, not only gives the group another haulage dimension, but a presence in West Sussex and Hampshire, as the acquired business, Mantransco, operates from bases in Ninfield and Littlehampton.

From small beginnings with a single lorry, the Ardula Group, owned and built up by Martin, and headed up by group Managing Director Ricky Hemmings, has become quite a tour de force in construction logistics in the south east, with each business unit having the strength and confidence to continue to grow as the economy continues to move forward in the coming years. Patiently building toward the century perhaps?

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