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  Posted by: electime      30th September 2019

Dawsongroup truck & trailer has helped Hughes, the fast-growing retail, trade and online supplier of TVs and white goods, to add two high-capacity DAF 7.5t boxvans to its store distribution fleet. Hughes needed to replace two older vehicles that had always met the company’s required 2.5t payload and Dawsongroup was asked to source and deliver Euro-6 compliant vehicles that, despite their inherently heavier driveline technology, still delivered that required payload figure.

“We need to maximise payload,” says Andrew Tucker, Hughes’ Distribution Manager, “because many of the individual units we move from warehouse to store are quite heavy. We could have looked at 12t vehicles, but we have drivers who operate our 7.5t vehicles based on ‘grandfather rights’ to their licence, so that would have given us a new headache. Then, with many stores in quite restricted town centres, we needed trucks that could take the loads yet still be manoeuvrable in those urban environments. We ‘d been looking at other fleet possibilities with Dawsongroup recently, so knew they weren’t bound to any single manufacturer and could look for solutions across the board.”

Hughes accepted that Euro-6 trucks were relatively heavier because of the technology, but if they couldn’t get a suitable 7.5t option were going to be faced with looking at vans to keep their current drivers operational. “That would have meant more wheels on the road to meet the demands,” observes Andrew Tucker, “and that was neither economically nor environmentally acceptable to us. So we gave Dawsongroup the problem and waited for their response.”  

That response came in the shape of two DAF LF 180 FA box vans fitted with column tail lifts, 20ft box bodies fully liveried in Hughes colourways and signage, supplied on contract hire for a fixed five year term. The package also included full R&M including annual MOT, national roadside assistance/recovery, replacement vehicle for MOT and unexpected VOR situations, tyres and Road Fund Licence. The cab spec included automated gearboxes, air con and Bluetooth connectivity, with air deflectors and side collars for enhanced aero dynamics and fuel economy.

National Contract Hire Sales Manager for Dawsongroup truck & trailer, Chris Beckett, said, “After reviewing the options, we chose to work with DAF. We felt their on-line bodying process could give us the best chance of supplying quality vehicles that would meet our customer’s payload needs. Because Hughes doesn’t pick up any return loading during the delivery run, the choice of box body, rather than a lighter curtain-side alternative, was made both for normal security considerations, and to allow goods to be strapped securely to the sides of the body as loads diminished. The tail lift was important too, as the vehicles go out single manned, but with the lifts and appropriate on-board handling equipment, once at the store, unloading is a safer and simpler process for Hughes drivers.”

“Once we had the payload issues resolved,” reflects Andrew Tucker, “to get DAF product, with its reputation for driver comfort and all-round economy and performance, was a bonus.  “At the end of it all,” he concludes, “we wanted just two things, the right trucks and the right economics. I was very happy with the vehicle specs and our Finance Director was happy to give me the thumbs-up on the overall deal – it all makes sense. We have, in the past, tended to buy vehicles outright, so this is something of a departure for us. That said, with the right payload, quality trucks, livery already done, lots of extras and even a driver training package thrown in for good measure, it is something we would certainly look at again.”