Customers of "Britain’s favourite DIY Store" are now receiving home deliveries from six new 7.5-tonne trucks that combine market-leading payloads with minimal ‘footprints’ which make them ideally suited to operation in residential areas.
They are the first Fuso Canters to wear the colours of Wickes, and fitted with lightweight fast-access curtainslider bodies by West Midlands dry freight specialist Bevan Group.
Based at stores nationwide, the trucks deliver a comprehensive range of Wickes products including standard and ‘Big & Bulky’ items like sand, cement, timber and sheet materials, on a next-day basis.
The range-topping Canter 7C18 chassis were supplied by Wellingborough-based Mercedes-Benz dealer Intercounty Truck & Van – the German manufacturer’s UK network is also responsible for sales and support of the popular Japanese light truck range.
Constructed around aluminium frames at the Bevan factory in Halesowen, the 20ft bodies are ideally suited to multi-drop applications because the curtains are tensioned from front to back by sliding door panels and have locks at both ends, so drivers have no time-consuming straps and buckles to contend with – to gain access they simply slide back the curtains, concertina-fashion, in seconds.
Bevan also fitted each vehicle with a 1,000kg Anteo tuckaway tail-lift. Despite this, the truck still achieves an impressive payload of some 3,300kg.
Wickes Group Fleet Manager Sean Cooper confirms: "We introduced our delivery service direct from stores to customers’ homes a couple of years ago and it’s gone from strength-to-strength.
"Much of this work is assigned to 3.5-tonne Mercedes-Benz Sprinters but the 7.5-tonne Canter, with its outstanding payload potential, allows us to increase efficiency and save fuel by making more ‘drops’ per run. It’s also more compact than a traditional 7.5-tonner, with a narrower cab and a reduced visual impact, which makes it more appropriate for home deliveries."
Although this is the first time that Wickes has commissioned either Canter chassis or Bevan Group bodies, both have performed with distinction for other businesses owned by parent company Travis Perkins plc.
"Bevan was recommended to me by a colleague from our Benchmarx and City Plumbing operations," continues Mr Cooper. "Its bodies are clearly built to a high standard and look well able to stand up to the eight-year working lives we anticipate for these vehicles. Bevan’s representative Simon Lake has also provided a first-class service, producing various designs before we arrived at the final specification."
Wickes operates a total fleet of more than 300 commercial vehicles, including some 60 tractor units used primarily for delivering from its warehouses to stores, and a number of 15-18 tonne rigids, many of which are equipped with cranes.
With a portfolio of over 200 outlets, Wickes was recently voted "Britain’s Favourite DIY Store" for the third time in four years, in a nationwide poll of 6,000 consumers.