Long-established Mercedes-Benz customer Broughton Plant Hire & Sales has underscored its commitment to safety by commissioning its first dropsiders from the recently launched new Sprinter range.
The company operates from headquarters in Romford, Essex, and depots in Bristol, and Alfreton, Derbyshire. Supplied by Dealer S & B Commercials, the latest three additions to its fleet are 314 CDI L3 (Long) chassis cabs, with bodies by Piggott Coachworks, of Bishop’s Stortford, and 500 kg Dhollandia tail-lifts.
Within the last year Broughton Plant Hire & Sales has also acquired 16 Euro 6-engined vans from the previous Sprinter model range, while it has another nine new-generation versions on order, the last of which is scheduled to enter service next summer.
Broughton Plant Hire & Sales specialises in the hire and sale of plant and equipment to the heating, ventilation, and fire protection industries. The company was established in 1984, as a trading division of the Michael Broughton Group, which celebrates its 50th anniversary next year.
Sprinters account for the overwhelming majority of its vehicles. However, the line-up also includes three Mercedes-Benz Vito service vans – one for each of its locations – and three trucks: an 18-tonne Mercedes-Benz Antos with beavertail plant body, and a pair of 7.5-tonne FUSO Canters, which were also sourced from S & B Commercials.
The Sprinters are employed primarily to transport small tools, plant and equipment – Broughton Plant Hire & Sales claims market leadership in the rental and maintenance of pressfitting tools, and as a specialist supplier of low-level access equipment owns a large fleet of podium steps and push-around vertical lifts.
Having previously run vans from the Mercedes-Benz T1 range that preceded the Sprinter, Broughton Plant Hire & Sales switched to another brand in the early 1990s. When the new vehicles proved to be nothing like as reliable, however, it quickly reverted and has remained loyal to the three-pointed star ever since.
“We work on the basis that as it’s not broken, we won’t try to fix it,” explained General Manager Joe Zammit. “We cannot afford unplanned downtime, as we make next-day delivery commitments to our customers. First and foremost, therefore, we need workhorses that won’t let us down, and that’s what we get from Mercedes-Benz.”
Safety is also crucial to a company which is proud to have secured Silver accreditation from the Fleet Operator Recognition Scheme (FORS), and which equips all of its Mercedes-Benz vans with recordable front- and rear-facing cameras.
The Sprinter has long been recognised as the benchmark for safety in the van segment, and the third-generation model, which was launched to the UK Press in June, once again leads the way. New features include the autonomous Active Brake Assist system with pedestrian recognition technology – another industry ‘first’ – and ATTENTION ASSIST, which detects drowsiness in drivers and encourages them to take breaks when tired.
External revisions are relatively subtle, but new Sprinter also boasts a completely redesigned cab interior that raises the bar in terms of quality, quietness and smoothness. Ground-breaking 4G connectivity allows operators to take advantage of a number fast, efficient and cost-effective vehicle management services via the Mercedes PRO connect system, while drivers also benefit from cutting-edge Mercedes MBUX infotainment technology, which features a user-friendly voice control function that responds to “Hey Mercedes!” followed by the command, in conjunction with Navigation.
“The previous Sprinter was good, but the latest model represents a huge leap forward,” enthused Joe Zammit. “Safety is our number one priority and we’re very conscious as a business of our Duty of Care to colleagues and other road users, so the new developments in this area are very welcome. As for the improved cab layout and comfort, the drivers were all drooling when the first of the new dropsiders arrived, and I can understand why – it’s a fantastic working environment.”
Broughton Plant Hire & Sales serves customers across most of England, as far north as Yorkshire, and Wales. The majority of its Sprinters are based at Romford, from where they undertake multi-drop deliveries throughout London and the South-East, as well as East Anglia and the East Midlands.
Underpinning the company’s relationship with Mercedes-Benz is the exemplary service it receives from S & B Commercials’ van sales executive Paul Ramsden, and mobile technician John Beard. “Paul provides fantastic support, while we’ve come to regard John as a member of our own team,” continued Mr Zammit.
“He’s very flexible, and is always at our site on Saturday mornings and in the evenings, carrying out routine and preventative maintenance. Over and above the scheduled services, he also undertakes full inspections of every vehicle on a quarterly basis, so we know they are always road-ready and performing at the optimum level.”
Like all Mercedes-Benz vans, Broughton Plant Hire & Sales’ new Sprinters are backed by three-year, unlimited mileage warranties and came with MobiloVan cover, which includes free, 24-hour emergency roadside assistance.
“The Mercedes-Benz star conveys an image of quality which can only reflect well on our own business,” added Mr Zammit. “With superb products, and customer-focused back-up from S & B Commercials, we’ve developed a tried and tested formula that’s served us very well for many years.”