Grain merchant Openfield has sown the seeds of future success by commissioning a new fleet of 11 premium specification Mercedes-Benz Actros tractor units.
The move follows an outstanding performance from Openfield’s first six Actros, which had been on the road since 2006 and proved both reliable and fuel-efficient.
"Those first Mercedes served us very well indeed," confirmed Contract Manager Keith Hughes. "There was hardly any downtime, which is no mean achievement when you consider the nature of our work; our trucks pull bulk tippers and go onto farms every day, where the rough tracks and yards can be tough on chassis.
"But experience has proved that the Actros is up to the job and can stand the test of time. The fuel returns are also very good while our drivers, some of whom have been with us for many years, like the Mercedes too."
Openfield is the UK’s largest grain co-operative. It works in partnership with global logistics specialist DHL and has headquarters near Grantham, Lincolnshire, as well as a network of depots nationwide – the new tractors are now operating from sites in Bressingham, Norfolk; Godmanchester, Cambridgeshire; London; Scunthorpe and Southampton.
Supplied by Peterborough dealer Intercounty Truck & Van, all are Actros 2546 models with flat-floored MegaSpace cabs and 460hp engines which drive through 12-speed Mercedes PowerShift automated transmissions.
They are the subject of a Mercedes-Benz Financial Services contract hire deal, under which inspections and maintenance are being carried out by the manufacturer’s most conveniently located dealers – Intercounty is looking after six of them.
The latest trucks have replaced Openfield’s original six Actros, as well as five vehicles by another manufacturer. Mercedes-Benz is now the predominant brand on the operator’s mixed fleet of 25 tractors.
"The Mercedes-Benz contract hire package is flexible and competitively priced, while the back-up is first-class too," continued Mr Hughes.
"Intercounty’s Fleet Truck Sales Manager Steve Sinnott provided an excellent service, co-ordinating the fitment by third-party suppliers of the hydraulics, trailer connections and load weighing systems, as well as the application of the paintwork.
"Intercounty also provided some demonstration units to tide us over when our previous contract hire provider insisted on the return of its non-Mercedes trucks before their replacements had arrived."
Openfield was formed in November 2008 with the merger of two farmer-owned businesses, Grainfarmers (which had roots dating back to 1907) and Centaur. A key supplier to leading brands such as brewer Molson Coors, Sainsbury’s and Warburtons, it undertakes around 450 grain movements every day.
Together, Openfield and DHL strive to optimise costs and service from farm gate to end user. Their collaboration has delivered reductions in farm and mill turnaround times, a 40 per cent service improvement to mills, and a 10 per cent reduction in road miles covered compared to previous seasons.