Going the extra mile … no, really!
As any operator could testify, the transport industry is filled with many hardships and narrow profit margins … who you partner with could make all the difference.
“The customer is king”, and “we go the extra mile” – phrases that consumers hear everyday … but how many really deliver on these promises?
“Everyone says that they’re willing to go the extra mile, but seldom do,” says Flip de Bruin, owner of River North Carriers – an operator that specialises in bulk transport of various agricultural produce, such as potatoes, grain and animal feed, countrywide. “Mercedes-Benz, on the other hand, is different – it actually delivers on this promise.”
He adds that he is absolutely delighted with the service he received from the Mercedes-Benz dealer in Bloemfontein; John William’s Commercial Vehicles. “It’s really the first time that I met a dealer that honours an agreement and all special requests completely – from the time of purchase to delivery.”
De Bruin’s fleet consists of products from three different original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), which he approached. “I wanted to expand and went to all three manufacturers that are represented in my fleet,” he points out. “The transaction consisted of trade-ins and a few new purchases.”
De Bruin says that he bought some vehicles from a different brand as well; one which he has been supporting for many years. “My loyalty was met with poor service however,” he tells FOCUS. “It was as if they got used to me and didn’t want to bother.”
The transaction comprised specific conditions on when the vehicles should be delivered and how they should be painted, amongst other things. “There were a lot of criteria that they had to meet,” De Bruin emphasises, adding that John William’s met these ‘to the T’. “That really impressed me. The other dealer delivered the units two weeks after the deadline, however.”
He adds that John William’s, actually, started on the back foot … “I had a bad experience with a Mercedes-Benz dealer a few years back, so I was rather sceptical at first – John William’s had to work harder to persuade me, given the background.”
It delivered stellar service, however, which led to De Bruin adding nine Actros 2644s and 13 Axor 3340s to his fleet. Here there were also some hurdles to overcome … ”The previous batch that I bought, although they worked very well, had a few problems – mainly on the fuel consumption side.
“That was the only factor that made me consider going with the other brand,” De Bruin points out. “I went with Mercedes-Benz, however, and was pleasantly surprised. The problems were resolved in the new vehicles and the fuel consumption is much better than that of the old units.” He explains that these deliver almost a 14 percent improvement on fuel usage. “It has made a big difference and I’m very glad that things worked out the way they did.”