In May 1956, the founder of our family business, Jack Richards,setup the haulage company with just a five-ton Bedford truck and an ambition to carry out his dream.Known simply as J.W. Richards, it was one man and his truck. The first ever job that Jack landed was delivering a load of 2” stone down to RAF Mildenhall; where they were extending the runways after the war. Without a tipper, the entire load had to be shoveled off by hand. But Jack didn’t mind at all; it was his first job, and the 25 shillings he earned from it made it well worth the effort.
By 1958, Jack had made quite a name for himself in transport and started to up a dedicated nightly service to the Nottingham wholesale fruit and vegetable market.To this end, Jack bought a new truck; a bright yellow S Type Bedford which had been a Lucozade lorry in a previous life. Jack’s wife, Glad, loved the colour so much they decided not to have it repainted. And so,the bright yellow trucks that we are famous for today were born.
By the late 1960s, Jack was running 30 vehicles covering all the wholesale markets from Nottingham to London. So knowledgeable did Jack became about the markets and their traders that in 1967, he set up an additional company called ‘Richer Produce’ offering packaging for the producers.
In 1971, the Fakenham depot was built to support the increased haulage demands in the Norfolk area. The growth of the business brought with it a fleet expansion which had now risen to 40 vehicles. In this year, we became ‘Jack Richards & Son Ltd’ to mark the official involvement of Jack’s son, Anthony. Fakenham remained a pivotal point of operations as the business grew and in 1977 it became headquarters for all our operations.
In 1998, a second site was purchased in Northwich, to manage the ever-growing business in Cheshire and the North West.We are still very much a family business; our senior management team is spear-headed by Anthony Richards as Executive Director with daughter Lisa Richards as his right-hand-(wo)man in the North.Meanwhile Peter Brown manages operations as Managing Director.
Today, we are a multi-million-pound business with a fleet of over 330 vehicles and 700 curtain-side trailers. Our total logistics solution includes a dedicated fleet, full and part loads and a pallet network; to help reduce costs and empty running. As a national road haulage company, our distinctive yellow trucks can be seen on the road 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We work for some leading UK names in sectors such as FMCG, construction and packaging. With depots strategically located across the country, we are perfectly set up to deliver reliable road services anywhere in the UK. The fully computer-tracked fleet means that customer notifications are a standard feature of our operation.
At our main depot in Fakenham we have warehousing facilities available to customers to improve efficiency of onward shipment. Equally, we can hold inbound shipments until you are ready to receive them. And our partnership with Palletline gives us the ability to deliver pallets to anywhere in the UK and Europe – from a single pallet to a full shipment.
In 2018, we set up a dedicated Recruitment & Training department, with the aim of bringing a steady flow of new talent into the business. We hire drivers with a range of experience and train them accordingly. We offer first aid training and bespoke online Induction programmes as well as being a qualified CPC training provider. We are aiming to start putting drivers through their Class 1 qualifications.
With all the growth in our business, we are always looking at ways to reduce our impact on the environment and lower our carbon footprint. In the last 5 years, our trucks have travelled 84.5 million miles. Thanks to DAF Trucks, our 2019 Euro 6 trucks generate 7% less carbon emissions than the older Euro 5 trucks. To keep things as efficient as possible, we run a fleet of vehicles that are all less than four years’ old. Additionally, we have our own on-site workshops to maintain the vehicles, including routine tyre pressure checks and other key factors which improve fuel efficiency.