UW Home Services makes a smart move by ordering 200 Mercedes-Benz Vito vans
The smart metering systems specialist has ordered 200 Vito 111 CDI Compacts from Dealer Midlands Truck & Van, for use by uniformed mobile engineers based nationwide.
UW Home Services was established in June 2018 to manage the roll-out of smart meters to customers of its parent company, Utility Warehouse Group. The Government wants energy suppliers to replace old-style gas and electricity meters, with new, electronic versions.
Smart meters are being provided free-of-charge to consumers, who can then track their usage to save energy and money. The new technology also ensures more accurate billing, without the need for someone to come out and take meter readings.
Utility Warehouse Group previously entrusted its smart meter installation and maintenance operations to a third-party provider. It has now brought these functions ‘in house’, to ensure that customers receive the highest levels of service.
Midlands Truck & Van provided UW Home Services with a demonstration unit, and saw off the challenges of dealers representing two other manufacturers to win the prestigious order. The first 50 vehicles are now in service, with the balance set to arrive at a rate of approximately 25 per month.
The subject of flexible, low-cost Agility funding agreements with Mercedes-Benz Finance, the vans are powered by advanced 1.6-litre engines that offer outstanding fuel economy of 45.6 mpg (combined cycle). Other variants of the mid-sized Vito range are available with rear-wheel drive, but the 111 CDI model’s 114 hp output is transmitted via the front wheels.
To make life more comfortable and easier for its engineers UW Home Services has specified optional air-conditioning systems and proximity sensors, while the vans will be maintained under Mercedes-Benz Service Care packages by the most conveniently located members of the manufacturer’s franchised UK network. As well as three-year, unlimited mileage warranties, they come with MobiloVan cover, which includes free, 24-hour roadside assistance.
UW Home Services operates from a recently-opened headquarters and 32,000 sq ft warehouse complex in Bolton. It is currently engaged in a major recruitment drive, and plans by next autumn to have assembled a team of approximately 350 highly-trained and fully accredited engineers, who will move onto other workstreams once all homes have been fitted with smart meters.
Racked out by Van Liners, also of Bolton, the vans are being replenished with stock each evening by distribution drivers, who hold their own sets of keys and can access the cargo bays while they are parked outside engineers’ homes.
The company’s Head of Supply Chain Matt Barker explained: “The Compact version of the Mercedes-Benz Vito is perfectly sized for our operation. It combines a driving experience which is more akin to a high-quality car than a van, with a reputation for bullet-proof reliability and safety.
“It’s not the cheapest vehicle on the market, of course, but the Agility finance is surprisingly competitive, and we’re very happy to be investing in a premium quality product which our engineers are going to be proud to drive.”
Mr Barker continued: “The post-purchase support that Mercedes-Benz provides was also instrumental in convincing us to go with the Vito. The fact that many Dealer workshops are open around the clock will be an important factor in helping us to minimise unplanned downtime.
“So, too, will the MobiloVan emergency back-up. Whereas other manufacturers rely on breakdown agents to support their customers, Mercedes-Benz sends a factory-trained Dealer technician who carries the GenuineParts on his own van that he’s likely to need to get you up and running again. Factor in the rapid response times and it all adds up to a massive ‘win’.
Mr Barker also praised the service he and his colleagues had received from the Mercedes-Benz team, and particularly from Midlands Truck & Van Fleet Sales Manager Erica Stredwick. “Everything has been clear and transparent from the outset, and Erica has demonstrated great care and attention to detail,” he confirmed. “We had one issue relating to a delivery, and she resolved it straight away. We couldn’t have asked for more.”