When the Tool Hire Division of the Travis Perkins Group looked at alternative vehicle specifications for certain delivery schedules, it was Isuzu Truck that came up with an innovative solution, using the Isuzu Forward N50.150 5.02 tonne 4×2 chassis cab, fitted with a purpose-designed aluminium beavertail body, to replace some of the company’s existing 3.5t rigids.
With the new 5.0 tonne Isuzus, the nationwide builders’ merchants group now has the benefit of extra capacity, extra payload and better productivity for its vehicle fleet, whilst reducing the actual mileage covered by its trucks for delivering hire equipment to customers. As a result, the Group has taken delivery of 15 of these new specification Isuzus in the past 12 months from its local Isuzu dealer, Westons Car & Commercials Ltd, as the Tool Hire Division increases the adoption of these trucks into its national fleet.
On average, the new 5.0 tonne Isuzus are covering 35,000kms per annum, although the first one that was supplied has now broken the 90,000kms milestone. The Travis Perkins Group estimates that each 5.0 tonner will have a vehicle life of approximately eight years and the initial batch of 15 vehicles is working predominantly in the southwest, where they are particularly well suited for the road networks of Devon and Cornwall.
Based on the Isuzu 5.0 tonner, Isuzu Truck and Westons Car & Commercials Ltd worked closely with the Group over many months to devise a dedicated vehicle and body specification and the specification now gives the Travis Perkins Group a payload in excess of 2000kgs compared to the 900Kg on its incumbent 3.5t trucks. Furthermore it provides them with the added benefit of being able to tow a platform trailer with an additional 2800kgs of payload to assist with the delivery of plant and equipment.
According to Andy Ray, Group Fleet Manager at the Travis Perkins Group, "Historically, we have run 3.5 tonne trucks on this operation, although we sometimes use 7.5 or 12 tonners at some of our larger centres. With the 3.5t trucks, we have to make four journeys to deliver and collect a digger and a dumper on a one-day hire. The larger trucks obviously make fewer journeys but they run and operate at considerably higher costs. The new 5.0 tonne Isuzu plugs the gap perfectly. It enables us to achieve a 2 tonne payload on the chassis cab with the ability to tow a trailer with another 2.8 tonnes of payload, effectively reducing the number of journeys we need to make by half. For many of our operations this specification is ideal because the Isuzu 5.0 tonner can undertake some of the jobs a 7.5 or 12 tonne truck can do, but at a fraction of the cost."
The Travis Perkins Group currently operate over 176 Isuzus at 3.5 tonnes and 7.5 tonnes and as Keith Child, marketing director at Isuzu Truck UK says, "Having supplied in excess of 300 assorted truck chassis in total to the Group over the years, we have a very good understanding of the needs of their transport operation. This has enabled us to tailor our vehicle specifications to assist with their demanding and diverse operational requirements. The 5.0 tonne Isuzu models provide an innovative and extremely productive alternative to traditional 3.5 tonners with minimal difference in operating costs."