Family fortunes

Written by: Geraldine Faulkner | Published:

A father and two-son team means Ron Smith Recycling in west London is the epitome of a family business. They tell Geraldine Faulkner about their expansion, and their choice of CASE excavators and loading shovels supplied by BPMS

Many businesses in the waste and recycling sector are family-run, but how many can boast two sets of brothers? Ron Smith Recycling in Feltham, Middlesex, not only features four brothers, two of them are a set of identical twins who work for the business. And as if this wasn’t enough, the other two brothers, directors Harry and Jack Hutchins, who run operations with their father, Ian, are both under the age of 22; Harry, 21, has been working in the family business for around six years, while Jack, 17, has been at Ron Smith Recycling for the past two years.

“I finished my GCSEs around June and came straight here; straight in at the deep end,” says Jack with a grin.

The number two obviously is an important one for the Hutchins as they don’t just operate one recycling business; Ron Smith Recycling has a sister company, Aldermaston Recycling, which runs along similar lines to the business at Feltham. “We share the running of both companies,” adds Jack.

These Hutchins brothers have grown up living and breathing the recycling business and, despite their tender age, have big ambitions for the company. Under their aegis, along with Hutchins senior, the plan is to turn the company into one of the top five recycling specialists south of the river Thames.

Indeed, a £6-7m operation to turn their six-acre site at Feltham into a covered area has already begun. “We are getting busier and busier so the plan is to turn this yard into a six-acre shed and be under cover,” states Harry. “Our aim is to go for an operation that runs 24/7 so dust, odour and noise will not be a problem once operations are in the shed.”

Nor is this the only change being introduced by the Hutchins brothers. “We are moving from paper tickets to a paperless ticket process,” says Jack. “After all, it’s all about reducing the amount of paperwork we generate in the business.”

As the two brothers have grown up in the digital age, they are also adept at promoting the company via social media.

“Whether it is recruitment or advertising, it’s all done on social media. We send out mailshots via Instagram and Facebook, and straightaway we get around 13,000 hits, whereas if we put adverts in the newspaper, we might only get a couple of replies.

“When people ring us up to get a quote, we always ask, ‘How did you hear about us?’, and the reply is normally, ‘We saw your details on Facebook.’ It’s a no-brainer as it only costs us £1 a day to use social media,” explains Jack.

How it all began

All credit to their father, who has gone from pen and paper to social media and a paperless business world.

“Dad started at the age of 15 selling papers, and on one occasion he delivered trucks to Nairobi before setting up a skip-hire business,” continues Jack.

So, which materials does the recycling specialist deal with?

As well as continuing to offer skip hire, Ron Smith Recycling takes care of all builders’ and household waste, including wood and concrete. Harry again: “We crush and screen our own concrete, which can then be used for roads and car parks. Our wood is shredded and then goes off to be used as biomass for electricity generation, while all our cardboard and plastic is baled and taken to DS Smith.”

With a huge demand on the company’s services, it has had to increase its fleet.

“We have gone from five lorries to 30, along with new operating systems,” adds Jack with a touch of understandable pride.

And it is not just lorries that the Hutchins have invested in. They have spent hundreds of thousands of pounds on seven machines supplied by CASE dealer BPMS (see box on opposite page). These comprise excavators and waste spec wheel loaders.

Why opt for CASE?

“About 18 months ago, Abdu Mhani at BPMS dropped off a flyer and it was just as we were looking for new machines. He bought us breakfast, told us about the machines, we went to see them and then we bought seven brand new machines in one year,” recalls Harry before adding: “We’re happy with the machines, we get on well with them and BPMS’s customer service. Abdu comes every week to check how the machines are running.”

Jack chips in: “In fact, we don’t bother contacting the service department when we need new parts, I just ring Abdu directly and he drops them off himself. I sometimes ring at 8.30pm to ask for, say, a fuel filter, and he turns up the next day with it at 8.30am.”

Understanding a client’s needs and the implications that downtime can have on a business is key to creating a good relationship between a dealer who wants to supply good customer care and a business.

“At BPMS, we pride ourselves in providing a personal touch when dealing with our customers,” states Mhani. “Also, it’s all about ensuring their machines’ reliability and productivity, and with CASE we provide that. I give credit to the Hutchins family for the great work they are doing in building a more efficient and environmentally friendly business, and their choice of machines and equipment reflect that.”

Providing your clients with energy-efficient machines is also a definite bonus when officers from the Environment Agency pay a visit to businesses such as Ron Smith Recycling.

“When the regulator comes for an inspection, we can prove that our machines use less diesel, which makes them more fuel-efficient and cost-effective,” states Harry. “When it comes to our lorries, we replace them every three years. The warranty runs out and you start having to spend money on them. The environment they work in is a demanding one, and they work long hours, just like the CASE machines.”

CASE machines at Ron Smith Recycling

2 x CX130C 13.5-tonne tracked excavators

1 x CX210D excavator with a high-rise cab

1 x CX210D excavator

1 x 921F waste spec wheel loader

2 x 721F waste spec wheel loaders

Fact file: Ron Smith Recycling

Ron Smith Recycling is an established family business with more than 35 years’ experience in recycling and waste disposal. Based in Feltham, Middlesex, it services most of inner London and the surrounding counties. “We aim to recycle 100% of waste produced and we are constantly looking at ways of improving as we believe recycling is the way forward to a green, cleaner environment,” says Ian Hutchins.

Services include skip hire, grab and collect – which includes rubbish clearance, muck-away, concrete-away and non-hazardous waste removals – supplying aggregates for applications from general fill to capping layers, and sub-base for highways and piling mats, as well as rubbish clearance.

Fact file: CASE’s new-generation D Series

CASE Construction Equipment has extended its new-generation D Series crawler excavator offering, and reports the models deliver faster cycle times thanks to their electronically controlled hydraulic pumps and larger main valve that increases their productivity further. The new pumps and bigger valve improve the machine’s responsiveness, resulting in cycle times up to 12% faster than the previous generations. In addition, the new models are said to deliver a greater lifting power.

The high productivity is enhanced by the crawler excavators’ autonomy, resulting from the high-capacity fuel and AdBlue tanks combined with the machines’ fuel efficiency. Also, the AdBlue tank only needs to be refilled every 10 fuel refills.

The engine technology and hydraulics are also reported to result in lower fuel consumption than the previous generation.

The new models comply with Tier 4 Final (Euro IV) emissions standards, with an after-treatment selective catalytic reduction (SCR) system and diesel oxidation catalyst (DOC).

With this solution, exhaust gases are treated exclusively through chemical reactions in the SCR and DOC; no particles are trapped in the system, so no diesel particulate filter (DPF)
is required.

The models also feature CASE’s energy-saving systems, which include pump torque control, auto idle and idle shutdown functions, spool stroke control, boom economy control and swing relief control. According to CASE, these systems take advantage of every fuel-saving opportunity, further reducing operating costs and contributing to a longer life for the machine.

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