DAF Trucks maintains major supplier status with TNT
TNT’s tagline, The People Network, undoubtedly captures the ethos of the business, but trucks are still key among its working tools and DAF Trucks is delighted to have maintained its status as a ‘major supplier’ to the UK arm of the parcels giant.
Deliveries in 2015 have seen DAF Trucks put 150 Euro-6 LF 7.5t vehicles into TNT in the UK, with a further 60 Euro-6 CF 400 tractor units also going into service with the operator. The vehicles replace a variety of older fleet trucks being de-commissioned at the end of their TNT working life.
Talking briefly about the position, TNT UK’s National Engineering Manager, Steve Davis, said, “There are always a number of reasons why we select any vehicles, and typically these will include their day-to-day and overall operational performance levels, fuel consumption, reliability and driver acceptance. With DAF though, a further factor is added on top of all those considerations, which is that the trucks are simply a very good fit for our duty cycles.”
TNT runs the majority of its DAF tractor units on overnight trunking work between hubs, averaging 160,000kms a year – around the transport industry norm. What surprises many observers however, is that its fleet of rigid local delivery vehicles only averages some 30,000kms each in a year. Steve Davis explains, “We’re aiming for 50 to 60 drops from each vehicle every working day. So if they are stopped, making a delivery, they’re earning money: if they are running, they’re not! That makes for a very demanding low mileage, high intensity operating profile, and that means we need trucks that can be relied on to perform day in, day out.”
Unsurprisingly therefore, with such an intense programme for its prime assets, TNT manages the bulk of its service, maintenance and repair in-house, through its own on-site workshops. Local DAF branch support is still valued by the operator however, though this tends to be for Warranty work and prompt parts support.
With ‘grand-father rights’ fast disappearing for the light end of the rigid vehicle parc, there has been much talk about the future of the 7.5t vehicle, with analysts debating the relative value of 10t and 12t trucks. Steve Davis has very clear views. “We have had our own internal debates and listened to the industry as it has explored the future,” he said, adding, “The loss of grand-father driving rights has been significant, but only up to a point. Yes, it has focussed us all on the optimum vehicle weights for the more recently qualified drivers coming through, but there is another issue.
“The fact of the matter is that there are still a huge number of weight and access restrictions around the UK above the 7.5t level. My personal view is that 7.5t vehicle operations still have a good future in the industry. Especially in the parcels sector perhaps, if we find we can’t service certain areas with, say, 10t trucks, but are currently able to with 7.5t vehicles. People rely on us, trust us, to deliver. That means always specifying the right trucks to maintain the standards of our business.”