Key to the deal was Volvo’s offer of one white-liveried FH-500 vehicle with I-Shift dual clutch and extra seats for Samworth’s new driver academy.
“A significant factor behind Volvo’s success in winning the 35-truck order was the fact that they grasped the driver academy concept and worked with us jointly to come up with the special training vehicle,” says general manager Matthew Preston.
“We wanted the best truck for exclusive use by the driver academy and, with the FH-500 I-Shift Dual Clutch with its extra seating, we believe we have that.”
The other 34 vehicles are all FH-460 6x2 tractors units and Volvo was also chosen for its fuel performance, as Preston explains: “We looked at five makes over a four-week period. Each manufacturer recommended the truck type they offered for the fuel trial and we measured fuel usage via the truck’s telematics and also at the diesel pump.” Each vehicle was tested with a mix of single- and double-deck trailers.
So far, he says, the FH tractors are performing “above average” for the fleet.
Driver acceptance was also crucial and, of the shortlisted vehicles, all drivers voted for Volvo.
The trucks are maintained in-house by the Samworth Brothers Supply Chain vehicle maintenance unit at Leicester. Support is provided by Volvo Truck and Bus East Anglia’s dealerpoint at Bardon, which was also involved in the training and handover process. “The experience of moving from one brand to another was handled highly professionally and to our satisfaction,” adds Preston.