It seems that Tesco’s commitment to sourcing local produce and products for local markets, also extends to their vehicle supplier base. Tesco has recently taken delivery of 28 new Volvo FM tractor units for operation out of their Belfast and Antrim Distribution Centres. They are also due to take delivery of a further 9 Volvo FM Trucks before December 2013.
The vehicles were supplied by local Volvo Truck & Bus Dealer, Dennison Commercials Ltd. The new FM11 410 4×2 tractor units take the total Tesco NI fleet to 35 trucks and 115 trailers. This equates to a total UK and Ireland fleet of 1,800 tractor units and 4,000 trailers.
John Larosa, Regional Engineer for Tesco Distribution, explained the decision to purchase the Volvo product:
“We have had a very strong partnership with Dennisons for fifteen years now, since Tesco was first introduced into Northern Ireland. From the very beginning Dennisons demonstrated a clear understanding of the needs of our operation. This enabled them to develop a unique package that could service the requirements and ever changing demands of the environment in which we work.”
Mr Larosa added that the strong Volvo network in NI, coupled with Dennisons ability to provide a complete repair and maintenance solution for both trucks and trailers, means that the Tesco fleet operates with minimal downtime 24/7.
“As well as the unrivalled back up support that we receive from Dennisons in Northern Ireland, the product was of course a consideration, said Cliff Smith, Fleet Engineering Manager, Tesco GB. “Fuel efficiency was key to the product decision making process but whole life costs and value for the driver also played a strong part”.
Prior to making the purchase, Tesco Belfast were given the opportunity to trial a Volvo FM demonstrator for three weeks. Volvo’s telematics system, Dynafleet, was used to monitor driver behaviour. Dennisons experienced Sales staff, assisted by Volvo’s Driver Trainer, ensured that Tesco was able to maximise the fuel efficiency of the truck throughout the evaluation period.
Robert Cromie, Transport Manager for Tesco NI, explained, “The Dynafleet fuel reports proved the Volvo to be the most efficient distribution vehicle currently in the truck market for the Tesco NI operation, with over 11mpg being achieved during the local trials”.
The new vehicles are complete with Volvo’s I-shift automatic gearbox and sleeper cabs, as well as a number of safety features, such as red seat belts, full rear catwalk and a handbrake warning device. Cruise control, electrically heated mirrors, an air sliding fifth wheel and disc lock wheel nuts were also included. With two-step entry, the Volvo FM is ideal for the multi-drop Tesco operation.