DAF provides definitive asset package for Axis
Axis Fleet Management, the contract Hire, leasing and asset management specialist, has introduced DAF Trucks into its heavy truck asset portfolio. 138 new Euro-6 DAF XF460 FTG Space Cabs are now on programmed delivery following the successful ‘whole-life-cost’ evaluation of 50 same-spec 6x2 units last summer. In addition, 10 LF 7.5T have been acquired specifically for Axis’ high-profile contract with British Gas as well as a smaller number of 26T and 18T rigids for other Customers
Axis is also to commence trials with an XF460 FTG 6x2 tractor unit featuring a number of recently announced 2015 DAF product enhancements that contribute to DAF Transport Efficiency, including Predictive Cruise Control, Predictive Shifting, Lane Departure Warning System and Advanced Emergency Braking System. The safety-laden vehicle will be presented to a number of Axis customers as an indication of the standard level of equipment on forthcoming truck specification. The successful conclusion to the trial will see an additional order of 50-100 units later in 2015.
DAF’s fleet introduction signals a new move for Axis as it switches to a two-supplier policy for this and future heavy truck acquisitions. DAF was selected following a tender to all major truck manufacturers to provide a ‘whole-life-cost acquisition package’. Axis has current experience of DAF with 150 light and middleweight rigids in successful operation; a fact that pointed Axis Managing Director, David Potter, in the direction of the Dutch manufacturer.
“We know DAF has a great product range,” he said, “and our current DAF rigid fleet proves that product reliability backed-up by DAF network support is a combination that’s just about the best in the business. However, a whole-life-cost package for 130+ tractor units brings its own challenges for a truck manufacturer, and DAF had to work hard to deliver a definitive asset package to suit our precise requirements – and I’m extremely happy that they did!”
“Our first, and in many respects our only, objective is to provide the complete fleet management solution for our clients.” continued Potter, “Telematics has been instrumental in this respect; we can be utterly transparent in how our truck and trailer offering is utilised and optimised to drive operational costs down. Telematics also permits us to provide our clients with a better understanding of maintenance requirements generally, and PMIs specifically, and to present clear evidence of where uptime can be fully maximised.”
Axis approach to its order bank is simple in that it work closely with preferred manufacturers to pre-order heavy trucks to a high standard of specification allowing it to respond to customer demand rapidly and efficiently with minimal lead time and disruption.
Potter said, “taking a partnership approach to our forward demand with the manufacturers is a win-win situation - they ensure the demand on the factory output can be smoothed, whilst we can have a consistent supply of the right range and type of equipment ready to go on hire contracts with our customer. It does require close management of demand / production schedules and a high degree of trust. However, as Axis has enjoyed 30% year-on-year growth for the last four years, we have got this down to a fine art”.
Altogether, investment in new equipment by Axis in the last three years has topped £120 million, with a further £40 million earmarked for the next 12 months, including provision for 300 new Montracon, Dennison and SDC trailers.
“DAF has a heritage in British truck manufacturing,” added Potter, “and I’m keen to promote that fact. The decision to acquire DAF goes hand-in-hand with our choice of trailer equipment, too. I’m proud of this country’s engineering tradition and I hope that shows in the hardware Axis is specifying in 2015.”
Axis is also taking a prominent role at the Multi Modal Show being held at the NEC in April. A new strapline has been defined based on ‘Innovation as Standard’. Together with DAF, and other leading manufacturer partners, Axis is confident that the progress seen over recent years can be maintained and that they will be at the forefront of further innovations, helping customers with their fleet management requirements.