Blakedale | Blakedale in numbers: The journey so far
Blakedale is the largest privately owned operation of its type and is the UK’s leading supplier of specialist self-drive traffic management and support vehicles.
It is also the UK’s leading manufacturer of motorway marker posts and hazard delineators.
Both short and long-term rental, as well as contract hire and sales of new and used vehicles are all part of the complete Blakedale service.
A name synonymous with road safety, here we take a look at Blakedale by the numbers for an insight into the scale, growth and journey so far of the entire operation.
1: Staff members when the company was born
Conceived by Fred Smith, the business’s roots can actually be traced to the 1970’s when Fred Smith with his recently acquired trenching machine was establishing himself as the “go to” man for digging the problematic trenches required on the network of motorways that were springing up in the North West of England.
1980: Marker posts put a significant marker down
In the late 1980’s Fred’s business had diversified into the manufacture and supply of distance marker posts for the UK’s road network.
1995: The Company was born
In the mid 90’s, some divisions of Fred’s former company were sold, and the marker post business, now known as
Blakedale Ltd was retained and passed on in equal shares to Fred’s four children, three of whom manage the business today.
26: Years in business
Standing the test of time, Blakedale has now been delivering to the highways sector for more than a quarter of a century.
Building upon its marker post division, in 2003 the company expanded into the self -drive hire market providing specialist traffic management vehicles and impact protection vehicles. The company’s road marker post division remains and thrives to this day.
27: Staff total
Remarkably, the staff total has continued to grow even during the global pandemic with the newest recruit joining the team at the beginning of March 2021.
16: Longest standing employee
Dave Staiano has been with Blakedale for 16 years. He has seen a whole host of changes and evolution in both the
company, as well as the entire sector.
We asked Dave for his thoughts on the single biggest change across that term:
“The industry we operate in today has evolved tremendously over the last 16 years, with safety and best practices leading the way, this has naturally had an effect on the demand for high specification traffic management vehicles, in particular IPV’s.
“With unwavering support from the Blakedale board we have strived to produce a fleet consisting of high specification vehicles available for sale and hire, supported by an unrivalled aftersales service. With over 350 vehicles on fleet, the demand for Blakedale vehicles doesn’t show any sign of slowing down”
Blakedale has employed 2 apprentices in recent months . Sofie McCaa has joined the clerical team and Harry Norris has joined the operations team. Blakedale is committed to providing opportunities for youngsters, helping them to gain a fully rounded work – place based education that will help them flourish in their chosen careers.
3: HQ Homes
Swansey Mill, Sterling House , and Binary Court are all places Blakedale has called home over the last quarter of a century. The new facility at Binary Court is purpose fitted for maximum capability as well as workforce comfort and welfare.
The old Swansey Mill location served Blakedale well
20,000: Sq ft of new unit
With impressive and spacious offices, as well as an in- house workshop, Blakedale HQ leaves no stone unturned when it comes to performing at optimal levels. The footprint increase of HQ is significant to say the least, with Swansey Mill providing 6,000 sq ft back in 1997 as opposed to the much larger 20,000sq ft facility the business now operated from.
The new Blakedale HQ provides plenty of open space for its workforce.
400: No of vehicles on fleet
From combo vans , mobile welfare vehicles , 3.5 T low bodies and 7.5T traffic management vehicles, as well as the flagship IPV’ the Blakedale fleet is as diverse as it is vast.
70: Approx no of new vehicles built per year
With demand for supply increasing, Blakedale is expanding its fleet size by on average, 70 new vehicles per year. With hire utilisation above 90% the figures speak for themselves, Blakedale is one of the go-to providers for specialist TM vehicles.
Blakedale has on average, 1 marker post situated every 100m on the UK’s motorways. These innocuous posts are the
unsung hero of many a stranded driver, helping to guide emergency assistance to them with pin-point accuracy.
The posts represent a truly nationwide presence and possibly the largest single presence of any company within the entire sector when it comes to maximum permanent coverage.
24/7, 365: Service team
Manned by Blakedale staff and not out- sourced elsewhere, the Blakedale helpline is available to its customers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year in the event of on out of hours emergency.
200: Years of experience
The Blakedale workforce has a combined 200+ years of industry experience and know- how. An impressive pedigree by any standard.
Blakedale MD Carmen Bowley told us:
“As a company we’ve come a long way and looking at the business in terms of these key numbers and how they have changed over the years demonstrates our growth and evolution.
“We’re very proud of where we have come from and that with all the growth the business has experienced, that we are still very much a family business with the same family values that we had in 1995 when Blakedale was born.”