Follow us

Longevity And Sustainability – 101 Years Of Vincent Timber  

Clare Hollister

Established in 1923 in the Sparkbrook area of Birmingham, Vincent Timber is a prime example of how a fourth generation business with strong family values has also carved out a leading role in its sector – as a supplier of natural timber cladding, solar shading and decking for prestigious building projects across the country. 

The range of options on offer such as  Accoya® wood, Cape Cod cedar sourced from managed forests, and Sivalbp pre-coated timber cladding highlights the company’s commitment to sustainability. It was also at the forefront of the campaign to protect the environment as illustrated by the fact that it was only the 2nd company in the UK to be awarded Chain of Custody by BM Trada. 

Vincent Timber has introduced certain measures in recent years to support its aim to be carbon neutral by 2030. These include installing LED lights with sensors throughout the premises, a biomass facility that uses waste products for heating, and substantial investment in a fleet of HGVs that are Euro 6 and ULEZ compliant, and which have reduced its carbon footprint by 50%.

It is no surprise therefore that the forklift fleet that it had operated for decades – “dirty red diesel trucks” – according to MD Darren Powell, has been retired, and replaced by something much more contemporary and in line with the company’s stance on environmental issues. Three Combilift electric powered C5000 SLE sideloader models are now in operation at the 2.5 acre site, following demos from various manufacturers for the team of drivers, who judged the Combilifts to be the best of the bunch. “Looking after our workforce is a major driver for our success,” said Darren, “and this applied to the choice of new handling equipment where operator feedback was decisive.”    

Collaboration between materials handling suppliers Briggs Equipment, FTC Safety Solutions and the manufacturer Combilift resulted in a fleet of customised trucks that meet all operational requirements whilst reducing emissions and costs, as well as creating a quieter workplace. The Combilifts’ 5t capacity makes light work of handling products that can be up to 10m long and weigh in at 4t, whether they are being offloaded, loaded or put into the 5m high top racking in the undercover storage areas. Jake Vincent, Operations Director, commented: “compared with the limited manoeuvrability of the old trucks the multidirectional capability is also particularly beneficial when moving product around tight spaces on the premises and between machinery on the factory floor.”  

As a business that has the wellbeing of its 40+ strong workforce at the heart of its ethos, safety around equipment and in the warehouse is paramount. Vincent Timber therefore tasked FTC Safety Solutions to install its Pedestrian Detection Camera System onto the trucks, which uses AI and machine learning to help operators be more aware of pedestrians in their vicinity and to avoid collisions. The provision of real-time detection and alerts minimises the risk of injuries and damage. 

“As well as celebrating the rich history of the company, we are also looking towards further growth, and have purchased some adjacent land from the council to facilitate this,” said Darren. “Thanks to the expertise and first class service of all involved, our up to the minute fleet will allow efficient handling of an ever increasing volume of products  across a more extensive area.”