Tuffnells has announced plans to invest £7m into the business over the next year.

The IDW freight specialist is planning a series of major investment projects with a 'significant upgrade' to its route optimisation technology a top priority.

It hopes this will lead to higher efficiency and visibility of collection and delivery rounds, while reducing emissions.

Enhanced tracking capabilities and security improvements will create a solid platform for the business to continue to build on, the company said, with a roadmap in place for future enhancements and upgrades.

The bulk of the £7m investment will be allocated to a major upgrade of the company’s fleet, with £4m to be spent on more energy efficient vehicles boasting the latest technology, including cameras and telematics capabilities.

During 2022, 137 new Euro-6 standard vehicles have been delivered as part of the upgrade plan, with a commitment made for a further 184 this year.

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Additional plans include a key upgrade to ePOD scanning devices, commencing this month, and enabling Tuffnells to take full advantage of the latest in scanning technology.

A large portion of the investment funds will also be used to upgrade the material handling equipment in Tuffnells’ depots to ensure greater care and safety during the collection and delivery process.

These new financial commitments are in addition to ongoing investments in Health & Safety and network security, as well as continued improvements to customer services, resulting in lower call wait times and faster resolution.

A raft of green initiatives is also underway, which last year alone included an upgrade of all Tuffnells’ 7.5-tonne vehicles to the latest energy efficient Euro-6 engines, the introduction of an electric car scheme for team members, green PPE made from recycled materials, and better waste management that has led to significantly higher reuse and recycling, with over 99% of waste across the business now diverted from landfill.

This year also sees the launch of a number of development programmes across the business, including Effective Leadership and Aspirational Women, plus the launch of a new mentoring programme. These initiatives build on the Green Shoots personal development programme, providing a fresh approach to career opportunities.

Michael Holt, chairman of Tuffnells, said: “These are game-changing investments which, together, provide a confident roadmap for the next phase in our journey. It is our ambition to be the technology leader in our sector, and by providing the necessary funding for operational excellence, we will enable our team members to deliver hugely positive change for our customers."