Refrigerated Delivery Services Ltd

Name: Chris Bott

Title: Transport Manager

Company: Refrigerated Delivery Services Ltd

Question: How did you get into the temperature-controlled distribution sector and what is your role within RDS Transport? 

Answer: I’m the Transport manager at Refrigerated Delivery Services Ltd. I started as the first driver here in 1991, via a chance meeting with Richard, our MD, who knew my father. I was at a bit of a loose end after leaving school and didn’t  know really which, or what direction I wanted to take.

Question:  Can you firstly tell us what temperature-controlled vehicles that RDS Transport operates?

Answer: We have a total of 49 dual temperature vehicles , which includes 25 panel and box vans , 24 rigids which include a mix of smaller 12t & larger 18t/26t rigids, we also have 12 artic units & 13 twin evap trailers.

Question: What has been the most important technical development in your temperature-controlled bodies and refrigeration systems in recent years and how has it impacted on your operations within RDS Transport?

Answer: I think the efficiency improvements in insulation & engine systems had driven the running costs down for us to a decent level & then the government abolished the use of red diesel ! so we are watching to see where the fridge bodybuilders will improve their product next.

Question: Are you using telematics across your fleet currently? If so, what advantages do you see this gives your clients?

Answer:  We use the Samsara system currently. it’s a good system encompassing vehicle & temperature live tracking, giving our clients instant feedback should they require it.  From an internal perspective we can see the drivers tacho hours live so we can manage their days work appropriately. Any on road issues highlighted by other road users, or by our drivers can be reviewed and resolved with the live, in cab, and forward facing cameras it also interfaces with. 

Question: Customer needs are constantly changing, so what are you finding is now the biggest request from your customers?

Answer: Up to the minute tracking data.

Question: What environmental measures does RDS Transport incorporate to ensure best practice?

Answer: Currently we are focusing on fuel efficient driving – we use the scoring system provided by the Samsara telematic system as a basis for this, coupled with periodic driver assessment.

Question:  The last 36 months has thrown us all a curve ball, how has business been for RDS Transport since the pandemic started?

Answer: Fortunately for us in our part of the food transport sector, we didn’t see much of a dip in terms of work volume.  People still need to eat !

Question: If you could give one piece of advice to a newcomer to our industry, what would it be? 

Answer: Technology & regulation is constantly evolving, keep up to date with both.

 Question: Lastly, would you like to share any news about your company that you feel would benefit the TCS&D readers?

Answer: We have a continuous investment program in plant & staff – we recently completed large extensions for our onsite fridge and freezer facilities & we have several staff going through the Transport Manager CPC qualification at the moment.

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