GAVIN MYERS recently joined Mercedes-Benz South Africa (MBSA) as it celebrated the 125 000th truck off its East London production line.
Ask anyone in the industry and they’ll agree that trucking is a numbers game. For MBSA, the end of 2015 brought about some rather large numbers – the biggest of which was 125 000, as the company celebrated the production of this number of trucks at its East London plant.
After 53 years of producing Mercedes-Benz trucks at the plant, the vehicle marking the milestone was an Axor 3335. In 1948, the then Car Distributors Assembly (CDA) opened its doors. In 1958, the company was contracted by Daimler-Benz to assemble Mercedes-Benz products.
The company was to evolve into MBSA and, over time, has assembled the Unimog, Mercedes-Benz buses, as well as Fuso, Mercedes-Benz and Freightliner trucks locally. According to Clinton Savage, head of Mercedes-Benz Trucks, the plant has received six consecutive awards as one of the best manufacturing facilities in the world.
Coinciding with truck number 125 000 leaving the assembly line, was its handover to Aqua Transport and Plant Hire. If there’s a Mercedes-Benz client in this industry that knows about large numbers, Aqua is it …
“Aqua has a truck fleet of roughly 1 800 Mercedes-Benz vehicles and the largest fleet of water tankers in the country, at around 700. We run 24-hours a day and have our own accredited workshops, which ensure 95 to 98 percent availability of our fleet,” says the company’s director, Donovan Naicker.
He continues: “We have built a solid relationship with MBSA and there is great synergy between Aqua and the MBSA team, which is what has sustained this relationship. As a company that operates in the essential services sphere, we need equipment that is extremely reliable and we receive more than this. We treasure the reliability of these trucks and the fact that parts are readily available.”
The 125 000th truck (which is destined to become another water tanker) forms part of a bigger order by Aqua for 165 Mercedes-Benz trucks. “This is one of the largest single orders for our trucks,” notes Savage.
“This is only possible because the quality measures and processes at our plant are remarkable. It is fitting for us to do this handover here at our plant – an impressive facility that reinforces our legacy of reliability, safety and outstanding workmanship.
“This product generally operates in a very tough environment, which is also part of one of the industry’s most competitive segments. The fact that Aqua put its trust in MBSA and our product makes us very proud. It shows that it’s not all about price, but also about reliability and up time,” concludes Savage.
That’s what large numbers – in this case 53 years and production of 125 000 vehicles – will do for you.