Trailerblazers

With over 60 years’ experience in the industry, Gray & Adams has built a strong reputation as a manufacturer of trailers, rigid chassis vehicles and other bespoke transportation solutions. Established in Fraserburgh, Scotland, in 1957, the family-owned company now employs over 700 people at four locations across the UK. Joint Managing Director James Gray suggests that the secret to Gray & Adams’ success is simple. “We’ve got a very good product and a very loyal customer base,” he says. “Most importantly, we look after our customers and react to any issues or enquiries they have. We like to think we look after them very well.”

A provider of industry leading after-sales care, Gray & Adams has dedicated repair centres throughout the UK, offering its clients comprehensive in-house support. The company’s customer-centric approach to business is reflected in the customisable service it offers and the bespoke solutions it is able to supply. “The majority of our work is driven by the customer’s individual needs,” James explains. “We’ll have a conversation with the customer and then we’ll have a discussion internally – what are the issues going to be? Is it viable? Does it comply with construction and use regulations? Will it meet their needs?”

From custodial vehicles to double deck trailers, Gray & Adams manufactures a highly varied range of products and configurations to fit the specific needs of its client base. With the help of new technology, the company recently created a vehicle that can store products at three different temperatures, allowing a supplier to use the same trailer when delivering frozen, chilled and fresh food, as well as any other materials an outlet requires. “It isn’t a new concept, but it gets continually improved,” James says. “One vehicle now does a delivery that possibly two would have done before.”

Something that sets Gray & Adams apart from its competition is the level of control it maintains over the manufacture of its products. “We are a world class manufacturer,” James states. “We’ve got total control. We start with a sheet of steel or plywood, or a roll of fibreglass, and follow it all the way through until it becomes a finished product.”

Although the company continues to monitor developments in technology, the majority of its production is still performed by hand. “We’ve got a reliable and experienced workforce, and they create the product. It’s difficult to automate some items because a lot of these vehicles are bespoke to the customer,” James explains. “All the different departments and skillsets contribute to a completed vehicle. Whether comit’s a trailer or a rigid, it all stems back to the guys who actually make them.”

After receiving a string of awards and accolades in the last few years, Gray & Adams is becoming accustomed to gaining public recognition for its work. The company was named in The Sunday Times Top Track 250 in 2017 and 2018, and has consistently performed well at the annual Temperature Controlled Storage & Distribution (TCS&D) Awards. In summer 2019, the organisation received the Innovation Award for the second year running, as well as the Refrigerated Trailer of the year Award for the fourth year in a row. “The TCS&D Awards are very much cherished by us,” James says of the prizes. “It’s nice to be recognised by our peers and by those in the industry. It just reinforces the fact that we have a very good product.”

Despite its continued growth, Gray & Adams is still a family company at its core. At the end of 2019, Maintenance Manager Gordon Harper took over the role from his father, Donnie, who retired after almost 25 years with the company. “Gray & Adams has a reputation for being a good employer,” Gordon said at the time. “My father worked here for over two decades and couldn’t speak of it highly enough.”

Looking ahead, the company remains focused on its loyal client base. “As always, we are concentrating on retaining our customers,” says James. “Their needs are ever-changing, especially as time moves on and technology develops. For example, the double deck trailer wasn’t for everybody, but now a lot of our clients are seeing its benefits.”

In January 2020, Gray & Adams installed solar panels at its Doncaster location as part of efforts to cut its carbon footprint. It has been estimated that the solar panels will reduce the company’s CO2 emissions by 34,429kg in the first year and should lead to considerable savings on costs. It is yet more evidence of Gray & Adams’ commitment to a successful and sustainable future. “2019 was an extremely strong year for us,” James says, “but it’s looking like 2020 will be just as good.”

Gray & Adams Ltd
Family-owned manufacturer of trailers, rigids and bespoke transportation vehicles
Established in 1957 in Fraserburgh, Scotland
Winner of two TSC&D awards in 2019