Fast, customer-focused aftersales back up from the manufacturer's UK Dealer Network was the key ingredient that persuaded PHOENIX Healthcare Distribution to commit to a new fleet of Mercedes-Benz Vans.
The high-profile wholesaler has added the first wave of 92 Sprinters to its 400-strong fleet. A combination of Short 310 CDIs and Medium and Long 313 CDIs, they were supplied by Dealer Intercounty Truck & Van and are the subject of a contract hire agreement with long-term partner LeasePlan.
PHOENIX Healthcare Distribution supplies a huge range of products to hospitals, health centres, dispensing surgeries and pharmacies. Part of the PHOENIX Group, one of the world’s leading pharmaceutical wholesalers, it operates from UK headquarters in Runcorn and a network of 13 depots nationwide.
Jason Gadsby, Group Fleet Manager at PHOENIX Healthcare Distribution, said the need to maximise vehicle ‘uptime’ was the crucial driver behind the company’s decision to move to Mercedes-Benz.
“We want our vans to be out on the road and earning, not laid up because we couldn’t get them into the workshop the night before, or because parts are on back order,” he explained.
“The after sales package we were offered by Mercedes-Benz was certainly eye-catching. Routine services and minor repairs will be undertaken at our own sites and at times convenient to our business, by factory-trained technicians.
“And should the worst happen, we also have the reassurance of knowing the MobiloVan support from Mercedes-Benz includes 24-hour emergency roadside assistance.”
Mr Gadsby continued: “Mercedes-Benz Van Dealers are dedicated commercial vehicle specialists. They understand the level of support that companies like ours require, which is why, for example, their workshops are open late into the night.”
PHOENIX Healthcare Distribution’s new Sprinters are on multi-drop delivery duties and typically cover more than 1,000 miles a week. All are fitted with tracking systems and rear parking sensors, and limited to 70 mph.
New EU legislation requires that pharmaceutical products must be carried in temperature-controlled vehicles. PHOENIX plans to trial a Sprinter chassis cab with fridge body by Paneltex, alongside a panel van converted by the same specialist.
“We’re not interested in short-term deals but like to develop long-standing relationships with our suppliers,” said Jason Gadsby. “We’re delighted, therefore, to be doing business with Mercedes-Benz Vans, a premium brand whose products enjoy an unrivalled reputation for quality, reliability, economy and safety.”
He added: “The support we’ve had from Key Strategic Account Manager Leanne Walsh and her colleagues at Intercounty Truck & Van, and from the Fleet Sales team at Mercedes-Benz, has been first class. They have been proactive, communicative, and reassuringly on top of the job throughout.”
Paul Kirby, Commercial Vehicle Sales Manager at LeasePlan UK, said: “We have worked closely with Mercedes-Benz to develop a solution that meets the requirements of our customer by maximising vehicle uptime. This new agreement also secures other operational efficiencies for PHOENIX, and all within a highly cost-effective framework.”
PHOENIX UK was formed in 1998 with the combined acquisition of L Rowland & Co Ltd, of Wrexham, and Birmingham-based Philip Harris Medical Ltd. The new business went on to acquire a number of other regional wholesalers and these were then combined to form one wholesaling company, PHOENIX Healthcare Distribution Ltd.
PHOENIX also owns Rowlands Pharmacy as well as the Numark symbol group. Rowlands consists of a chain of 519 community pharmacies across the UK. Numark offers a virtual head office facility that provides vital support for independent pharmacies all over the UK.