M6toll helps lays the foundations for builder’s merchant success

EH Smith is one of the largest independent builders’ merchants in the UK, providing products and services to tradespeople and DIY enthusiasts. Set to celebrate its 100-year business anniversary in 2022, in 2021 EH Smith completed its five-year anniversary as a M6toll business customer.

Chris Paul, EH Smith’s Transport Compliance Manager, discusses how the M6toll benefits their business and its part in laying the foundations for their most successful year to date.

Despite the challenges of the pandemic, EH Smith has just posted its most successful year on record. This success has been driven by a soaring demand for build projects, everything from low scale domestic builds to more complex developments, as the UK literally builds its way back to recovery.

Chris said: “It’s been an incredible year. We have blown all our delivery targets out of the water, with the demand for build projects of all types driving the success we have achieved.

“As we have come out of lockdown, demand for building materials has increased but so has congestion on the roads.

“Although we are not a timed delivery service, we do have customers wanting materials delivered on site during peak times and that is where the M6toll has been so valuable. The consistency of journey and reliability offered by the M6toll helps ensure we always get our deliveries to our customers in our target regions.”

The M6toll sits at the heart of EH Smith’s delivery network and its close proximity to key customer locations in the region makes it an invaluable route.

Chris said: “We use the M6toll as a bit of a superhighway. It serves our two main branches in Cannock and Solihull well, as it means we can service Burntwood, Cannock, Lichfield, Walsall and even as far out as Telford.

"It’s those short hop on and off journeys that we value as a business."

“It means we can avoid the A5 corridor, which is stop start and congested, and we get that consistent journey time.

“It also enables us to avoid many of the B roads in the region, which as well as being congested are often too small for our larger HGV vehicles. In fact, we have included the advice to stay off the B-roads and instead use the M6toll in our new Driver Code of Conduct.

“It’s been well received by the new drivers, but then our drivers have always enjoyed the M6toll. When a previous Finance Director here had suggested reducing our usage of the M6toll, we had a driver backlash about it. As a result, we stopped advising drivers to cut down on their M6toll journeys, as the benefits to driver welfare, time saving, safety and reliability, far outweigh any costs associated with using the road.”

On the back of a record year, EH Smith have plans to build further upon their success, with both a business and fleet expansion under consideration moving forward.

Chris said: “We are currently looking at expanding the fleet and that will mean more M6toll tags for our vehicles.

“We don’t have to factor in the what ifs when we go on the M6toll, we can leave the branch, be on there in a short pace of time and know we are going to deliver on time. It saves us time, saves us fuel, and saves our drivers a lot of unnecessary stress, all savings we would not make if we used more congested local routes.

“The peak time usage and consistency of journey are vital to us and are undoubtedly the single biggest reasons for using the M6toll. It’s absolutely key to our business operations and so going forward we will continue to use the M6toll. I know for sure our drivers will welcome me saying that.“