Sheffield-based Tuffnell, whose brand “The Big Green Parcel Machine” will be familiar to many, has called into administration today. Sadly, thousands have already been made redundant, with only 128 staff remaining as the company goes through the administration process.

Although the company is known for its parcel delivery service, it did also service other sectors, including fenestration, and there are signs that potential disruption could already be happening.

Tuffnells administration will disrupt deliveries

Tuffnells has recently posted an update on their website, confirming the news:

Richard Harrison and Howard Smith were appointed Joint Administrators of Tuffnells Parcel Express Limited (the “Company”) on 12 June 2023.

The affairs, business and property of the Company are managed by the Joint Administrators. The Joint Administrators act as agents of the Company and contract without personal liability.

Tuffnells Parcel Express Limited is registered in England and Wales (No 00319964)

Richard Harrison and Howard Smith are authorised to act as insolvency practitioners by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales.

We are bound by the Insolvency Code of Ethics.

The Officeholders are Data Controllers of personal data as defined by the Data Protection Act 2018. Personal data will be kept secure and processed only for matters relating to the appointment. For further information, please see our Privacy policy at –

There are a number of delivery companies that provide services to the UK fenestration sector, and a percentage of companies have their own delivery fleets. However, the hardware part of our sector as well as doors and windows did use Tuffnells for the delivery of products to site. Indeed, an email sent by Evolution to clients has already warned of temporary issues as they have to arrange new plans for their deliveries to clients:

Dear Customer,

We have been made aware today of our usual courier supplier, Tuffnells, has gone into administration. This will mean a short-term realignment of delivery methods on some products, especially on those on shorter turnarounds.

If you could kindly bear with us whilst we make these unexpected but critical adjustments. We will endeavour to have scheduled items with you as soon as possible. Any changes in delivery dates will be communicated as a priority.

For specific updates on your items, please contact: aftersales@evolutionwindows.comwhere we can offer more up to date individual information.

Thank you once again for your patience and bearing with us.

Although this is going to provide a headache for companies who used Tuffnell’s services, there should be enough choices and alternatives in the marketplace for companies to swiftly make new arrangements. I do think there are going to be some delayed deliveries across the sector before these creases are ironed out though.

Safer to use own fleets?

I consulted social media to gauge how much of the sector uses Tuffnells for their delivery services, and among the replies was a suggestion by one user that companies should go back to using their own fleets of vehicles.

Companies have been outsourcing their deliveries for years in a bid to save costs. As many of you will be acutely aware, running a fleet of vans, LGVs and HGVs is an expensive enterprise. So turning to companies like Tuffnells, DPD and others provided companies in our sector with a regular and cheaper service.

However, as with all parts of the economy, rising fixed costs and high inflation have been eating at the profitability of delivery companies, which is mentioned as a factor in the demise of Tuffnells. It then exposes companies who use an external service to the risk of being left in the lurch should a delivery company go under.

The idea of companies using their own fleets is perhaps safer in the long run, and can protect a company against external shocks like this. But with the current economic backdrop becoming rather grim, and the cost for both new and used vehicles, as well as staff and fuel and all other costs that vehicles companies all remaining high, there is little prospect of this event causing our sector to go rushing out to start buying fleets of their own vehicles.

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