An impressively reliable performance from its previous fleet of Mercedes-Benz Sprinter vans convinced fast-growing hydraulic hose repair and maintenance specialist Hiflex Fluidpower to invest once again in the three-pointed star.
It is already running a dozen new high-roofed Sprinter 311CDIs and has orders for a further 25 in the pipeline. They are provided by Stirling-based Ogilvie Fleet on four-year contract hire deals under which they will be maintained within the Mercedes-Benz UK dealer network.
Customers of Hiflex Fluidpower benefit from a one-hour emergency response service provided by its team of mobile engineers. The company, which has headquarters in Salisbury and 14 depots nationwide, has been expanding its service fleet and aims to have 50 vans on the road next year, an increase of 25 per cent.
Sales and Marketing Manager Fintan Ennis believes the strong growth of its national accounts business in recent years owes much to the fact that Hiflex Fluidpower offers a consistent level of service across the entire country. “Our customers have a single point of contact for both call handling and follow up, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. 'One call does it all',” he says.
The company's new Sprinters are supplied by Glasgow dealer Western Commercial and
racked out by Bott, of Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Leicestershire. Each carries a comprehensive stock of hose and fittings, as well as a 12v cut off saw and swaging machine used for making new assemblies.
“Ours is an arduous application,” explains Mr Ennis. “These vans are always operating at gross weights of just under 3.5 tonnes gross and often have to venture onto rough building sites and quarries. But our experience over the last six years with our first fleet of Sprinters has confirmed that these vehicles can take the punishment and keep coming back for more.”
He continues: “A reliable emergency response fleet is fundamental to the success of our business. When our customer suffers a hydraulic hose burst on his excavator, access platform or hydraulic crane, that piece of equipment is not earning him money. And if we are telling him that we can be on site within an hour to fix it, we need to be confident that we have the vans which will allow us to deliver on that promise. The Mercedes Sprinter helps to give us that confidence.”
As well as being reliable, the Sprinter is popular with Hiflex Fluidpower's engineers, while the Mercedes-Benz image of quality is another of its key attributes.
“We have contracts with several leading car transporter firms,” says Mr Ennis. “If one of their vehicles breaks down on a dealer's forecourt, they want to see a competent and professional engineer turning out in a smart, fully-equipped van. It's almost a subliminal thing – the three-pointed star says 'This company has done its research and is taking the job seriously'.”
Launched in 2006, the new-generation Mercedes Sprinter bristles with active and passive safety features, including an advanced new version of the remarkable ESP® anti-skid system called Adaptive ESP®.
“The Sprinter's unrivalled safety features are also an important plus,” adds Mr Ennis. “As a responsible employer mindful of our Duty of Care obligations, we're determined to minimise any risk of injury to staff when they're on the road, as well as when they're actually doing the job.”
Ogilvie Fleet's Account Manager Tom Brown says: “We are delighted to have won this very prestigious new contract. Hiflex Fluidpower were adamant from the outset that they wanted the Ogilvie Fleet solution to include Mercedes Sprinters. Working closely with our supplier Western Commercial, we have been able to provide the right balance of vehicle, service and rental.”