ARH Group builds for the future with new Mercedes-Benz Vito fleet
A multi-million-pound contract win from a major UK supermarket chain spurred ARH Group’s return to Dealer Midlands Truck & Van with an order for another 28 Mercedes-Benz Vito vans.
The Shrewsbury-based facilities management, building services and process engineering specialist set its first 10 Vito 111 CDIs on the road late last year. So impressed has it been with their reliability, fuel-efficiency and all-round quality, and so positive is the feedback from the engineers to whom they are allocated, that it has now resolved to switch its entire fleet of almost 200 vans to the three-pointed star as part of a planned upgrade strategy.
ARH Group is recruiting up to 60 more skilled engineers and extra head office staff, all of whom will be dedicated to its new electrical services contract, which commenced on 1st June. The company has had a working relationship with the ‘top four’ supermarket since the early 1990s – its directly employed, regionally-based engineers have supported the retailer’s expansion while also serving other local businesses.
ARH Group recently underwent a rebranding exercise and the Mercedes-Benz vans are the first to wear its striking new logo and icons. All are Long-bodied models with advanced, 1.6-litre engines that offer outstanding fuel economy of 45.6 mpg (combined cycle). Other Vito variants are available with rear-wheel drive, but the 111 CDI engine’s 114 hp output is transmitted via the front wheels.
The vans are racked out to carry tools and spares. They will be maintained by the most conveniently located members of the manufacturer’s franchised network under
Mercedes-Benz ServiceCare plans, which the operator has paid for ‘up front’ in order to fix its costs.
As ARH Group Fleet Manager Simon Greene explained, the fact that Mercedes-Benz Dealers are commercial vehicle specialists and offer out-of-hours servicing was key to the Vito’s appeal. So, too, was the MobiloVan cover, which includes free emergency roadside assistance.
“It’s crucial to the smooth running of our operation that we do everything possible to minimise downtime,” he said. “Previously, when a vehicle was booked in for a service, we’d have to hire a replacement and our engineer would then have to swap all of his gear across, which was very time-consuming.
“However, because Mercedes-Benz workshops remain open at night he can drop his van off at the end of the day, go home in a courtesy vehicle, then pick up his own again first thing next morning, ready to go. In terms of convenience and efficiency, this is a massive step forward for us.”
ARH Group’s first 10 Vito replaced vans by its previous supplier, the oldest of which had been on the road for seven years. However, the company is proposing to operate its Mercedes-Benz vehicles for no more than three years, during which they will typically cover up to 20,000 miles per annum.
“We don’t want to run them into the ground, as the Vito’s strong resale value was another factor in our decision to move to Mercedes-Benz,” continued Mr Greene. “In terms of quality it’s definitely a superior vehicle, which helps to explain why the lads also prefer the Vito.
“The new vans are very smart in our redesigned livery, and we now look forward to seeing them live up to the Mercedes-Benz brand’s reputation, and to benefiting from the promised, highly competitive whole-life operating costs.”
Mr Greene highlighted the support that ARH Group had received from Gez O’Reilly, Van Sales Manager at Midlands Truck & Van’s Coventry branch. “Gez is very proactive and nothing’s been too much trouble,” he said. “We had a minor issue with one vehicle which he quickly resolved, but that aside everything has gone very smoothly.”
ARH Group started life in 1990, when Managing Director Tony Holton established ARH Electrical Services. Over the past 28 years the company’s portfolio has steadily expanded, so that it now offers an integrated service covering electrical, mechanical and HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) maintenance and installation works. ARH serves numerous ‘blue chip’ clients in the retail, leisure, commercial and healthcare industries, and boasts an annual turnover of some £25 million.
The Mercedes-Benz Vito comes in three lengths and at three gross weights, and is also available as a crew van with second row of seats or a passenger-carrying Tourer. As well as setting standards for performance and efficiency in the mid-sized van sector, it leads the field in terms of safety – standard equipment includes Adaptive ESP®, Adaptive Brake Lights, Crosswind Assist, driver and co-driver airbags, Hill-Start Assist, daytime running lights, Rescue Assist QR codes and a Tyre Pressure Monitoring System.