The event followed Next’s attendance at a Mercedes-Benz VanExperience Live event, held at the Millbrook Proving Ground.
Next runs more than 250 Sprinter 313CDI Long panel vans – more than 100 of which have entered service this year – delivered and maintained by dealer Intercounty Truck & Van.
Next has 11 driver assessors, based at depots around the country, whose job is to coach and evaluate all 280 of its drivers, and the Mercedes-Benz briefing was aimed at knowledge building.
The Mercedes team provided what they describe as insights on the finer points of the Sprinter’s technology, particularly explaining how it can help with safety and fuel efficiency.
Issues examined ranged from the Sprinter’s adaptive ESP dynamic handling control system to its Crosswind Assist, Blind Spot Assist, Lane Keeping Assist, High Beam Assist, and Collision Prevention Assist.
Next transport manager Phil Belk says that on the subject of fuel economy, a round-table discussion examined the effects of driving style on the Sprinter 313CDI, claimed to be capable of more than 40 mpg.
“We knew our Sprinters were safe and efficient but this course of instruction has underlined their quality, and confirmed our belief that we made the right decision to invest in the Mercedes-Benz product,” states Belk.
“We realised immediately that our drivers could benefit from this level of expert input, and began discussions with the manufacturer,” says Richard Mawson, Next’s driver development manager.
“The session was extremely informative… I think we all learned a few things, and gained a deeper understanding of some aspects we’d been aware of but not fully appreciated,” he adds.