Van Leeuwen
Hydraulic Response: same-day delivery for the Fluid Power industry

Hydraulic Response: same-day delivery for the Fluid Power industry

Mel Bate
Van Leeuwen Ltd., Brierley Hill, United Kingdom

Van Leeuwen has been a key player in the Fluid Power industry for years. Building on a strong reputation since the company was founded in 1924, Van Leeuwen has committed itself to providing high quality products and high quality service. In that same spirit, Van Leeuwen launched the new Hydraulic Reponse service in 2018. Mel Bate tells about its success and explains how customers benefit from this extremely fast service.

I started working at Van Leeuwen seven years ago as a general sales assistant. In those years, I was responsible for our smaller accounts. Almost two years ago, when the idea for a rapid response service was first introduced, I quickly became involved to further develop and manage it. In early 2018 we officially launched Hydraulic Response from our warehouse in Brierley Hill, in the English Midlands.

Van Leeuwen has two warehouses in Middlesbrough and Brierley Hill which both produce materials for the Fluid Power market. The large warehouse in Middlesbrough keeps a large and varied stock of many different sizes of cylinder tubes and chrome bars. They are typically meant for the manufacturing of hydraulic cylinders, cylinder barrels and piston rods. Because of the large production capacity of this warehouse, they are mainly sold to major manufacturers with a lot of stock capacity. These customers generally place periodic stock orders and while doing so, they take into account that the entire process from order to delivery, including scheduling can take up to a week.

Priorities are obviously different when it comes to repairs, where speed is an important factor. After all, when an agricultural machine breaks down in the middle of a business day, the costs can add up quickly. The same goes for a defective hydraulic ram in a digger. As long as the tool is not operational, a lot of money goes to waste. Think of lost production time and labor costs for workers who are out of action. When something goes wrong, smaller repair companies are often called in for maintenance and repairs. Since they often don’t have the physical or financial capacity available, they tend to keep a small stock of items. When a high priority call comes in they may not have the necessary materials or the required sizes at hand. Needless to say, their customers can’t wait seven days for materials to be delivered, so going to the warehouse in Middlesbrough is not an option.

This is where Hydraulic Response comes in. This service focuses on small, high-speed orders of high-quality materials. Our small team in the Brierley Hill warehouse are always ready for action.  If a tractor has a broken hydraulic ram, for instance, the repair company usually only needs the right chrome bar cut to the correct size and in some cases a honed tube as well. When the order comes in, we immediately get to work. In most cases, the materials are cut and sorted straight away. We are able to work much faster on these small orders because we don’t have to schedule them in the production chain. Instead, we can work on an ad hoc basis, jumping on the orders as they come in. At the end of the day, just before we close up, the carrier collects the order and it’s on its way. This allows us to offer next-day delivery for all orders.

Additionally, if a repair simply cannot wait and the customer is willing to pay a little extra, we can offer same-day delivery. Because we cut the materials as quickly as possible, they are often ready for delivery within one hour. A dedicated delivery vehicle will then pick up the materials and deliver them to the customer. When every second counts, this premium service can save our customers a lot of money, especially when they use expensive machinery.

Van Leeuwen introduced the Hydraulic Reponse service in 2018 and I can safely say that its first year has been a success. New customers have become regulars and last August we already reached the target we set for 2019. I’m very proud of this service and my team, so we’re raising the bar for 2020.



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