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Collaboration By The Boat-Load

Brett Group company collaboration provides a unique service to customers

The diverse companies that make up the Brett Group are often able to provide a unique service to our customers by working together to fulfil specific requirements. 

A prime example is a recent, collaboration between Brett Specialized Aggregates and Brett Aggregates, which saw the delivery of around 1,500 tonnes of 20mm aggregate by sea to Stonepack, a Brett Specialized Aggregates customer in Scotland.

Brett Specialized Aggregates is part of Brett Landscaping & Building Products, focussing on the supply of specialist aggregates into a niche market. The company had built a strong relationship with Stonepack, supplying decorative aggregates to them for some time, but Brett Specialized Aggregates’ Commercial Manager in Scotland, Sandy Kerr spotted an opportunity to widen his product offering to them: the customer required 1,500 tonnes of 20mm aggregate, known in the decorative aggregates market as golden gravel – a product that they had previously brought in from Europe. Could Brett Specialized Aggregates supply this by working in collaboration with Brett Aggregates?

Sandy contacted Brett Specialized Aggregates' General Manager, Rob Hardes to see what might be achieved by working with their sister company and an enthusiastic Rob explained the requirement to Gregor Mutch, Managing Director at Brett Aggregates. So began an open, constructive dialogue between the two companies and a commercial offer was provided that could be taken to the customer.

Brett Specialized Aggregates and Brett Aggregates trade in very different market sectors and on a completely different scale so putting this proposition together required a great deal of communication between the two Brett businesses to ensure both teams understood the customer’s requirements.

While 20mm golden gravel is a product that Brett Specialized Aggregates supplies regularly, it had never delivered such a large volume in one boat-load. On the other hand, 1,500 tonnes is a modest volume for Brett Aggregates, where large shipments of general aggregates are its bread and butter. Another difference between the two businesses is the fact that colour is an important criterion in the specialized aggregates market, while size and grade are what matters in the world of general aggregates.

Rob takes up the story: “The team at Brett Aggregates went out of their way to help us get this right for our valued customer and provided Brett Specialized Aggregates with a representative sample of 20mm aggregate so that its colour and size could be approved. 

With marine-dredged aggregates arriving regularly by sea at Brett Aggregates’ Cliffe site on the Thames estuary, Brett Specialized Aggregates could ship 20mm aggregate directly from the jetty at Cliffe in Kent to the dock at Inverkeithing, near Edinburgh. Stonepack approved the sample and commissioned a shipping agent to provide a suitable vessel to transport the material.

Mick Sinclair, Brett Specialized Aggregates’ Operations Manager Southern, worked closely with the team at Cliffe to ensure that they understood the requirements of loading and sampling and also contributed to the planning phase with his in-depth knowledge of loading boats from a ‘past life’.”
20mm aggregate meeting the client’s specification was transported by Brett Aggregates from its stockpile at Cliffe to the jetty, where it was shovelled into a hopper and discharged directly onto the boat. 

Sam Tarr, Brett Aggregates' Logistics Manager at Cliffe explains that deploying the right vessel was important: “We liaised with the customer’s shipping agents to ensure that the vessel they supplied could be safely and evenly loaded from the Cliffe jetty.  Our loading conveyor has a limited reach and, in order to spread the load evenly, we needed a vessel with an excavator on board.  The Pluto fitted the bill well and its on-board excavator was able to distribute the aggregate across its 11m width, balancing the load safely.”

“This project demonstrates how effectively our people can collaborate,” says Rob.  “This being the first time that Brett Specialized Aggregates had sold a boat-load of golden gravel out of Cliffe, the whole operation required effective communication across multiple teams in both businesses – the commercial teams to ensure the customer’s requirements were fulfilled;  the administration teams at Sturry and Cliffe to ensure the correct product and volume was brought to the jetty for despatch; the technical team at Brett Aggregates to manage and oversee the safe loading of the material onto Pluto; and Brett Aggregates operatives on the ground who moved and loaded the material. Everyone worked together to overcome any challenges and get the job done.”

Brett Specialized Aggregates operates as a separate business unit within Brett Landscaping and Building Products, with its own sales team, production team and plant.  It has a calcining plant at Sturry, near Canterbury in Kent and a drying plant at nearby Faversham.

“The fulfilment of this order showed how seamlessly different parts of the Brett Group can work together to provide a great service to customers from any area of the business,” concludes Rob. “It represents a significant milestone for Brett Specialized Aggregates, and Brett Aggregates pulled out all the stops to help us reach it.”