Samworth adds 35 Volvos

Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire, UK:In the largest single order for trucks ever placed by the company, 35 FH tractor units have joined the fleet of chilled foods logistics provider, Samworth Brothers Supply Chain

The order comprised 34 FH-460 6×2 tractor units plus a special, white liveried, FH-500 driver-training vehicle. The latter is equipped with I-Shift Dual Clutch and extra seats. The truck is used exclusively by drivers undergoing training with the Driver Academy recently launched by Samworth.

Samorth Volvo 1

In the largest single order for trucks ever placed by the company, 35 FH tractor units have joined the fleet of chilled foods logistics provider, Samworth Brothers Supply Chain

Driver Academy develops driving skills of existing drivers and helps recruit and train new drivers from inside and outside the company, known as the ‘Warehouse to Wheels’ initiative.

Matthew Preston, general manager, Samworth Brothers, says: “A significant factor behind Volvo’s success in winning the 35-truck order was the fact that they grasped the Driver Academy concept and worked with us jointly to come up with the special training vehicle.

“Suppliers need to add value to what they traditionally would bring to the usual purchasing and supply negotiations. Volvo successfully did that with their proposal to supply the Driver Academy vehicle. We wanted the best truck for exclusive use by the Driver Academy and with the FH-500, I-Shift Dual Clutch, with its extra seating, we believe we have that.”

The procurement process also involved a fuel trial. “We looked at five makes over a four-week period,” Preston says. “Each manufacturer recommended the truck type they offered for the fuel trial and we measured fuel usage via the truck’s telematics and also at the diesel pump.” Each vehicle was trialled with a mix of single and double-deck trailers to balance the workload and ensure a fair trial.

The new FH’s are performing “above average” for the fleet, says Preston, which he describes as “very pleasing and promising”. The trucks, which are all replacements, are maintained in-house by the Samworth at Leicester. Support is provided by Volvo Truck and Bus East Anglia’s dealer at Bardon which is was also involved in the training and hand over. “The experience of moving from one brand to another was handled highly professionally and to our satisfaction.”

Driver acceptance was key to the procurement process, says Preston and Volvo secured its position as one of the final two vehicles makes that were made available for driver feedback after the fuel trial. Of the drivers who took part, all voted for Volvo. “It meant that we knew we didn’t have an issue of driver acceptance with the Volvo,” Preston says.

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