Saville’s Freights shapes-up for future with DAF
- Eight XF tractors and CF 26-tonne rigid begin process of fleet rationalisation
- Fuel showing well in ‘twin’ weekly electronics checks
- New drivers prompted to apply for work in Super Space/Space cab vehicles
- Local DAF Dealer ‘on top of every little detail’
Savilles Freights runs around 30 trucks in its general haulage operations out of Bristol. The fleet currently includes four marques, and the latest additions are eight DAF XF 460 FTG tractors with Super Space Cabs, and a 26-tonne CF 330 FAS with a Space Cab. Now in its 31styear, the business began its life in warehousing and forwarding, but customer demands led it to begin running its own vehicles some 15 years ago.
Darren Saville, a director of the family-owned business, said, “We have been growing very steadily since starting to run our own trucks,” he said, “A key part of that growth process, especially through various recessionary periods, has been to manage capital costs through careful buying of new trucks, allied to sensible disposal of the used assets.
“That, however, has brought us to the position today where we have quite a mixed fleet. None of these have been bad trucks,” he said, “but we have now dropped one manufacturer and refreshed the line-up with these new DAFs. Right now, the feeling is that we will try to rationalise further and finish the year with just two marques in the fleet. That will happen as we work through a rolling replacement programme based on either Contract Hire term ends, or a five-year life cycle on our wholly owned vehicles.”
Supplied through Imperial Commercials Western Region, the eight DAF XFs are on three-year Contract Hire packages through PACCAR Financial, with the CF rigid being acquired with a two-year R&M deal on outright purchase. The haulier had operated a couple of DAF tractor units ‘many moons ago’, as Darren Saville put it, but was tempted to look again at the brand following an abortive negotiation to take over the management of transport operations for an own-account operator running an all-DAF fleet.
“While we were not able to reach a positive conclusion on that opportunity,” said Saville, “the good thing that came out of it was our exposure to today’s DAF range and the meetings it required us to have with Imperial Commercials. They have been on top of every little detail for us since we expressed an interest in DAF in our own right, and came up with solutions to our used asset disposal that allowed us to focus on the new trucks we needed. Apart from all the intensive stuff in the middle,” he added, “it seems to me the secret to success in any truck operation is how well you sell used, which then dictates how well you can buy new. Price isn’t everything in a truck purchase of course, not by any means. We also look very hard at things like reliability, fuel and driver acceptance.”
Savilles Freights monitors fuel on the new DAFs through its own telematics system, as well as receiving weekly reports direct from the manufacturer. “It’s reassuring to see the two systems tally with fuel reports,” continued Darren Saville, “These new trucks are already matching other Euro 6 vehicles in the fleet and have yet to get properly bedded in.”
Having also touched on driver acceptance, it is interesting that, since the new trucks have gone on the road, Saville has had a significant increase in drivers enquiring about job opportunities: asking specifically about the new XFs. He concludes, “We bought these to reward our current drivers for their loyalty and hard work. The fact that others are seeing them and reacting is a bonus, and that’s without the very positive impact we know they have had already on customers and potential customers.”
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