When it comes to reliability and fuel economy, the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter is ‘the best thing since sliced bread’. That’s the view of Tiffin Sandwiches, the UK’s largest independent wholesale sandwich producer, which is now well on the road to converting its entire van fleet to the three-pointed star.
The Bradford-based company was founded in 2000 and is growing strongly. Over the last 18 months it has purchased 21 Long-bodied Sprinters from Mercedes-Benz Vans’ reigning Retailer of the Year, Northside Truck & Van.
The latest five, its first 314 CDI models with Euro 6 engines offering lower emissions, have just entered service. Like their predecessors, they were converted for temperature-controlled operation by RVL Northern, of Pudsey, West Yorkshire.
Tiffin Sandwiches relies on a fleet of 39 vehicles, all but three of them vans, to deliver its high-quality sandwiches and other tasty convenience foods to some of the country’s biggest and best-known organisations, including businesses, universities and hospitals, airlines and rail operators.
Most of Tiffin Sandwiches’ delivery vans are based at its state-of-the-art production facility on Euroway Park, Bradford. The remainder operate from a second centre in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, from where they supply customers in London and the South.
The company is committed to providing the highest standards of customer service, and works its vans hard, each vehicle typically covering anything up to 2,000 miles per week. It was the Sprinter’s reputation for outstanding reliability and durability, coupled with the round-the-clock servicing capability of the manufacturer’s franchised UK Dealer Network, that prompted the switch to Mercedes-Benz.
Fleet Manager Steve Gadd recalled: “Our previous supplier’s vehicles were struggling to cope with the rigours of our delivery regime, while its after sales service was poor. We therefore approached Northside, and trialled a Sprinter for six months. It slotted into the fleet very well and didn’t miss a beat. We purchased our first nine Mercedes-Benz vans in the spring of 2016, and haven’t looked back since.
“Not only is the Sprinter more reliable, but it’s also impressively fuel-efficient. We’d been getting 22-24 mpg from our established vehicles, whereas the Mercedes-Benz vans are returning 28-30 mpg. Given the high mileages they cover, this improved economy equates to a big saving on our fuel bill, so we’ve allocated Sprinters to our longest routes and also sent a few down to London, where they excel in the stop-start traffic.”
Mr Gadd continued: “Our drivers certainly appreciate the Sprinter’s comfort and enjoy having a Mercedes-Benz badge on the front of their vehicle. Our plan, of course, is to replace the entire fleet as soon as possible. During this transitional phase, however, there’s invariably a bit of a clamour when the next batch of new vans comes in, because they all want one.”
Tiffin Sandwiches’ Sprinters are the subject of Mercedes-Benz Service Care agreements arranged by Northside Truck & Van. “The after sales back-up is fantastic,” enthused Mr Gadd. “Our drivers tend to start at 1am and finish by about mid-day. So Northside will collect the Bradford-based vans from us in the afternoon, and get them back to us before the shift starts again the next morning. The ‘no quibble’ three -year, unlimited mileage warranty is also very reassuring, as is the MobiloVan cover, which includes free, emergency roadside assistance.”
He added: “Northside provide a brilliant service. From sales executive James Hart right through to the workshop team, they’re honest, helpful and have the same kind of ‘can do, will do’ attitude as ourselves. When we had a rare issue relating to the gearbox on one of our Sprinters recently, they took the vehicle in and had it back to us the following day. I couldn’t have asked for more.”