Thompsons makes Blackburn the UK’s number one tipper town

Latest News | 18th Aug

Who would have thought it?

Back in 2000, no tippers at all were built in Blackburn. Today, 16 years later, it’s the No1 tipper town not just in Lancashire, but anywhere in the UK.

With three factories on Blackburn’s Shadsworth Industrial Estate, Thompsons’ northern enterprise now produces more tipper bodies than even at the company’s long established home base in Croydon.

“The opportunity to plan our operations virtually from scratch and then back them up with continuous heavy investment have been the real keys to our success” says Thompsons director Simon Shields. “This year alone, we have committed £500,000 to a new in-house shotblast and paint facility at our Blackburn 3 site, as well as taking on over a dozen new people to further boost our northern operations.”

Looking after the new paint facility is Eduardo Vieria, who joined Thompsons last year and a professional vehicle painter all his working life. For shotblasting, Nigel Bird has come to Thompsons after 20 years service with Bolton – based Edbro. Their results are immediately impressive, with tippers now emerging with a higher than ever level of finished quality.

Of key significance, Thompsons can now provide its customers with a complete start – to – finish bodybuilding service that starts with a bare chassis being delivered into its factories and subsequently emerging 100% complete and ready for work.

As Blackburn Production Manager Phil Sutcliffe explains;

“Today, customers simply want everything done by us in-house. No matter however detailed or complex their specification, they want every part of the build process to be done by Thompsons. The days are now gone when a truck would go to one company to have one item fitted, then to somewhere else for any additional items, and then to a third to have it painted.

Managing the whole production process ourselves also makes us as efficient as possible in coping with higher than ever demand. Our staff now have an industry – leading skill set and an overall level of professionalism that no other tipper bodybuilder can equal.”

Investing in plant and equipment might be one thing, but to achieve these results Thompsons Blackburn absolutely relies on its people – with its factory headcount steadily growing in direct proportion to the scale of its business.

Phil Sutcliffe himself joined Thompsons last year from another Lancashire tipper bodybuilder – and has already brought his previous workplace colleague Arthur Wright to join the Blackburn team as Workshop Foreman. Earlier this year Paul Moss was promoted to Production Assistant at Blackburn Site 1, whilst Matthew Shields takes on a specific responsibility for cranes.

With its three factories in Blackburn in close proximity to each other, the whole production process can therefore be made as streamlined as possible.

As a result, Site 1 is principally engaged in fitting incoming chassis with tipping gears and cranes. Site 2 is where the bodybuilding actually takes place and the bodies are mounted to the chassis. Completing the process, Site 3 is primarily for paint, with a key additional activity at this most recent facility being the fitting out of truck chassis with skiploader and hookloader equipment.

Another notable success for Thompsons Blackburn has been its eParts internet shopping scheme, whereby some 5,000 parts lines for tippers, skiploaders and hookloaders are now directly available via the dedicated website

Managed by Dave Lees and supported by Shaun Thompson, the eParts activity has just recorded its first £1m of sales. To build further on this unique service, the eParts stockholding area at Blackburn 3 is now being expanded to provide over 50% extra floorspace.

Rounding off its most recent appointments, Megan Williams has just joined the Blackburn team as Human Resources and Health and Safety Assistant. On a placement year from her Business Management course at Sheffield University, Megan’s ambition is to join Thompsons full time in her chosen role with responsibility for all HR and H&S issues over the whole company.

Completing Blackburn’s two year investment programme, the finishing touches are now being applied to a new suite of hi – tech offices at Site 3.

“Judged on any parameter whatsoever” says Simon Shields “Thompsons Blackburn is now the UK’s leading tipper bodybuilding location. By working as a team, each and every one of our people can be proud of what they have achieved.”


Above: Phil Sutcliffe     Below: Megan Williams