If you were to see a truck delivering Mercedes parts to a Mercedes franchised car or commercial vehicle dealer, you would reasonably expect it to be a Mercedes truck.

It seems you would be correct.

Since the beginning of this year XPO Logistics has been delivering automotive parts to Mercedes-Benz Trucks, Mercedes-Benz Vans and passenger car retail dealers.  These dealers in turn are servicing commercial vehicles that provide a variety of essential services, among them ambulances and supermarket delivery trucks.

XPO Actros Deal
Photographed in February, prior to the introduction of social distancing measures, are, from left, Jeff Hall, General Manager, Automotive – UK, XPO Logistics; Juan Manuel Santiago Mendez, CEO of Mercedes-Benz Parts Logistics UK; Richard Peake, Warehouse Operations Manager, Mercedes-Benz UK; and Simon Patton, XPO Logistics Operations Director, Transport Solutions – UK and Ireland

The Trucks

XPO Logistics’ 43 new-generation Mercedes Actros were supplied by East Anglia Dealer Orwell Truck & Van and are being inspected and maintained under Mercedes-Benz Complete Service Contracts at the most conveniently located official workshops. The tractors are the subject of a Mercedes-Benz Finance operating lease under which each is scheduled to cover 155,000 km per year. XPO has purchased the rigids.

Most of the vehicles in the distribution network are Actros 2545 StreamSpace tractor units with 12.8-litre, in-line six-cylinder engines that produce 450 hp. The line-up also includes 17 rigid 18-tonne 1824 models powered by 238 hp 7.7-litre ‘straight-sixes’, with ClassicSpace cabs and curtainside bodies by Lawrence David.

The Mercedes-Benz Parts Network

Working in partnership, the XPO team and Mercedes-Benz European Logistics Centre (ELC) colleagues are providing fast and efficient distribution of more than 750,000 parts numbers. While maintaining distancing to ensure personal safety, the ELC team are demonstrating their commitment daily by maintaining impressive ‘first pick’ service rates that comfortably exceed 90%, even during the coronavirus outbreak.

XPO Logistics commenced work at the ELC on 1 January, after signing a five-year partnership agreement with Mercedes-Benz Parts Logistics. XPO is managing UK parts distribution through an integrated, digitally managed transport network, and runs more than 40 routes daily, from the ELC in Milton Keynes, and from its own overnight-delivery depots in Motherwell, Leigh, Wakefield, Gloucester and Taunton.

XPO Logistics Mercedes Actros and trailer loadedSeed Vehicles

Whilst it is expected that the deliveries to Mercedes-Benz dealers arrive on a Mercedes-Benz truck (or van), XPO have other distribution contracts.  The supply of trucks for these jobs may well be up for grabs when new trucks are required.  This recent fleet purchase is important for the company.

Dan Myers, Managing Director, Transport – UK & Ireland, XPO Logistics, said colleagues were monitoring the performance of the new-generation Actros, as well as Mercedes-Benz Dealer support, to assess the vehicle’s suitability for other distribution work.

“Our initial perceptions of the new Actros are entirely positive,” he confirmed. “The trucks have already won positive feedback from our drivers for their fuel-efficiency, comfort and safety features.”

Mr Myers praised the support his team had received from Orwell Truck & Van, which delivered familiarisation sessions for members of XPO’s driver training team. “Orwell’s Fleet Sales Manager Rob Dale did everything we could have asked, managing the order process seamlessly by liaising with providers of ancillary equipment such as cameras, and delivering the trucks on time against a tight deadline,” he said.

Fuel Efficiency Vital

XPO will wait until the trucks have been on the road for six months before commencing detailed fuel-efficiency analysis. “The early returns are certainly encouraging,” reported Mr Myers. “Every indication is that the tailored solution we are providing will lower distribution costs and increase efficiency for Mercedes-Benz in UK parts operations.”

In addition to direct driver feedback, XPO receives data on driver and vehicle performance from the trucks’ Daimler Fleetboard telematics systems, and through the new Truck App Portal.

“We’ll be focusing on the ‘whole life’ operating costs of these vehicles,” Mr Myers said. “We have a high uptime target and most deliveries are being made at night, so detailed data capture and Dealer back-up, including responsive out of hours support, will be vital.”