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Meet the Expert: Rob Telfer

Rob Telfer is a Regional Sales Manager and industry specialist within the Transport team. Here he shares his thoughts on his current role and talks about what developments we can expect to see within the Transport Industry.

Tell me a bit about your work history…    

Prior to Close Brothers I worked at Live Promotions events, specialising in Road Haulage events such as Truckfest, which operated as regional events across the UK, connecting suppliers with SME haulage operators whilst also helping Hauliers raise their profile. In addition to this I also worked for Fruehauf Tipper Trailers as an Export Sales Manager, targeting emerging markets where there was a requirement for a lightweight trailer due to increased weight regulations.

How has your experience been translated into your current role?

I feel working in emerging markets has enabled me to identify trends and match products that can assist in the development of SME operators. Working with SME’s in events has installed the belief that service levels to customers is pivotal in achieving their goals. A lot of our customers are very hands on within the business, from 9am till 5pm they tend to take a more operational role. As a result, the time they make strategic decisions around how to fund their business aspirations and cashflow management are taken outside of traditional business hours. I have also learnt flexibility is key when working with SME’s and in order to work to find the right solution, a real understanding of the business and creating a working relation is key.

What does your current role involve?

Having worked for Close Brothers for a little over 10 years, I currently manage a small team whilst looking after my own customers and introducers. I specialise in the transport sector working with Rental Companies, Hauliers, PSV operators and any business that uses wheeled assets. I like to take a ‘hands on’ approach and always prefer a face to face discussion with a potential customer, as this can often lead to a better understanding of their requirements.

What types of asset finance do you offer to customers?

We offer flexible asset finance solutions. The 3 main products are Hire Purchase, Finance Lease and Sale and HP Back (Equity Release). The payment profiles can be tailored to match the business cashflow requirements along with the term and deposit. Quite often we look at companies' existing finance agreements, looking at ways to release equity whilst reducing their monthly payments.

Looking towards the future, what developments do you think we can expect to see in the Transport Industry?

The implementation of low emission zones across the UK has encouraged hauliers and transport operators to look at the cost savings available through upgrading their fleet. Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans and other government initiatives have assisted with the liquidity requirements, however with the growth seen within this sector coming out of the pandemic I feel there will be an even greater emphasis on cashflow management. Alternative fuel options will obviously be key to this debate moving forward.

Have you seen a rise in the number of alternative fuel vehicles that are in demand?

I have certainly seen this in the light commercial vehicle sector. However, with the limits on vehicle range currently on offer for HGVs and passenger service vehicles, within these sectors I haven’t seen as much interest. However, as technology catches up with consumer demand, I feel moving forward, diesel and petrol options will become the minority as supply chains and economic factors demand a move towards greener fuels.

What effect is the semi-conductor chip shortage having on the Industry?

This has had a huge effect on any company looking to buy new motorised assets with most major manufacturers suffering from unprecedented lead times, which in turn has increased the value of used stock. Companies have then had to increase the period of replacement cycles, as the benefits seen by the increased value of their existing assets is often voided by inflated replacement asset costs. Moving forward we can already see signs of this settling down as both industry and the country move to a post pandemic stage.