Jay  Hicks
Jay Hicks
Operations Director
13 May 2024

Winter 2023-24 was reported by meteorologists as ‘mild and wet’ with fewer periods of intense cold and snowfall than previous winters. However, while these conditions may be considered overall ‘less eventful,’ and potentially a trend for the future; when cold snaps do happen, they are often more extreme, and this is when our resilience shines.

Throughout the winter season, we delivered over 211,000 site visits. During wilder days we also delivered over 1,200 reactive visits and over 500 snow clearances across the UK. This shows that, even in an unusually mild winter, there is still work to be done to keep business safe.

Whatever the weather, business as usual requires an agile approach. This is most pertinent in areas of unsettled and unpredictable conditions, with additional support this season seen in Scotland, Ireland, and northern parts of the UK. Scotland in particular received growth in new contracts as clients looked to protect their sites. We are proud to have shown exceptional customer satisfaction, highlighted from a new client that we mobilised promptly, in time for an unexpected cold snap.

During the 23/24 season, our nationwide distribution efforts facilitated the delivery of over 45,000 tonnes of salt, ensuring an average service provision of 30 nights for our clientele.

Notably, our commitment to environmental stewardship is exemplified by our proactive measures against plastic pollution. Through the systematic adoption of reusable large-scale tote bags for salt distribution, we have achieved a remarkable 98% reduction in single-use plastics since 2019.

98% reduction in plastic bacs used for salt distribution

Our strategic alliances with salt suppliers are instrumental in delivering unparalleled value to our customers. By fostering close partnerships, we ensure the timely delivery of top-tier salt products at competitive prices. Beyond the winter season, I personally engage with our suppliers to sustain our capability to provide salt year-round, ensuring the continuous replenishment of grit bins and emergency supply depots.

The efficacy of our regional management and local field team structure reinforces our standing as leaders in sustainability and service excellence. The recent addition of three regional managers enhances our local presence, facilitating closer collaboration with our field teams and 24/7 help desk. This localised approach, combined with our company's scale, imbues our service with both efficiency and a personalised touch.

Our commitment to sustainability is further underscored by the tangible reduction in our carbon footprint through localised operations. A testament to this success is the remarkable performance of our Scottish team, who not only swiftly onboarded new clients ahead of critical weather events but also adeptly catered to the unique requirements of client distillery sites.

Continuing our trajectory of innovation, we are advancing our technological capabilities to elevate service standards while reducing environmental impact. Our sophisticated operating systems and mobile applications enable real-time evidence of our service visits, instilling confidence among clients and onsite personnel in the fulfilment of their needs and safety requirements.

Following the conclusion of April, characterised by inclement weather conditions, the transition to a more spring-like climate is palpable. Amidst enquiries regarding summer activities, our focus remains steadfast on driving an unceasing cycle of enhancement. Planning for the forthcoming winter season has already commenced, marked by diligent equipment maintenance and proactive salt procurement.  Simultaneously, our teams are actively engaged in addressing the diverse all-weather needs of our clientele. These efforts encompass a spectrum of services including car park surface maintenance, pressure washing, sweeping, drain upkeep, and notably, pothole repairs.

Pre-season planning and engagement with our dedicated local field teams are integral components in facilitating the delivery of exceptional service. Our network infrastructure is meticulously designed to foster resilience, ensuring seamless operations even amidst adverse weather conditions, equipment malfunctions, or unforeseen personnel issues.

The adaptability of our customer service, operations, and supply chain, supported by over 220 gritting teams, underscores our commitment to meet evolving customer demands. I take pride in our ability to consistently exceed expectations, evidenced by our capacity to deliver a service that appears effortlessly seamless to our clients and end-users alike.

Finally, I would like to thank our in-house weather decision maker Peter Brown, for providing our first season of informed weather updates to customers. Read more about our GC weatherman, here.

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