The trucks, originally destined to carry out essential product movements of blood and blood products, were reassigned for more urgent, frontline duty following the outbreak of the coronavirus epidemic in the UK. Despite the number of third-party suppliers involved, including Fleet Trak, Thermo King, Webasto and signwriters AST, and despite some of them facing staff shortages due to sickness and furloughing, a collective, complex effort has resulted in a remarkable two-week turn-around.
John Lowden, national fleet engineering manager at NHSBT, said: “Extremely impressed with the response from MOTUS and DAF, and all the companies involved in this true team effort. We’ve seen the transport industry rise to the challenge of the coronavirus outbreak over recent weeks and, here at NHBT, we’ve experienced British skill and ingenuity at its very best, and right at the moment when it’s needed most.”
NHSBT now runs over 90 DAFs after standardising its 7.5-tonne rigid fleet specification 17 years ago, and selecting DAF as the preferred marque based on cab ergonomics, parts availability and the dealer network. “We really needed a single 7.5 tonne platform rather than a mix of makes and models,” said Lowden, “and, naturally, reliability has always remained priority number one for us. We review our transport operation periodically, and DAF always emerges as our preferred choice. We have very few issues and we get first-class support from Motus.”
Jim Locket, truck sales coordinator at Motus Commercials Stoke, oversaw the project from start to finish. He added: “I received an email from NHSBT just two weeks ago requesting these vehicles as soon as possible, due to the commencement of blood plasma trials. We then made this order a top priority, organising the essential ancillary equipment and sign-writers and ensuring that they carry out their work as quickly and efficiently as possible.”