Glen Dimplex service engineers across the UK are now gearing up for another busy Christmas in their new Mercedes-Benz vans.
A world leader in intelligent electric heating and renewable energy solutions, the company is also a major, global supplier of domestic appliances, and cooling and ventilation systems. It operates from headquarters in Dublin, and owns an extensive portfolio of household name brands, which includes the likes of New World, Belling, Britannia Living, Stoves, LEC Refrigeration, Dimplex, Roberts Radio and Morphy Richards.
Twenty Long-bodied Vito 111 CDIs have already been allocated to engineers who visit customers’ homes to maintain and repair fridges, cookers, heaters and other products, with 16 more scheduled to arrive by the end of November. Glen Dimplex service division Home Appliance Care plans to add a further 100 examples of the same model next year, and to complete the transformation of its 200-strong UK fleet as soon as possible thereafter.
The Vito 111 CDI is powered by an advanced, 114 hp 1.6-litre engine which offers outstanding fuel economy of 45.6 mpg and drives the front wheels – other Vito variants are available with rear-wheel drive. Supplied by the Mercedes-Benz Retail Group, the new vans come with a comprehensive list of comfort and safety features as standard, to which Glen Dimplex is adding optional air-conditioning and parking sensors.
Key to the company’s decision to switch to the three-pointed star was Mercedes-Benz Vans’ commitment to keeping its customers’ businesses running. Glen Dimplex Fleet Manager Andrew Winstone explained: “We talked to other van providers, but ultimately its 24-hour servicing capability and free, MobiloVan breakdown cover tipped the scales in favour of Mercedes-Benz.
“Our engineers are on the road every day,” he said. “Previous experience has proved that their performance drops if they have to use a hired van, as has happened when their own vehicle goes in for a service or repair during normal working hours.
“In such cases, the engineer transfers only the tools and spares he thinks he might need that day. But you can never really know what’s going to be required until you reach the customer’s home and see the appliance.
“The fact that Mercedes-Benz can work on our vans through the night means this issue will no longer arise, because the engineer’s fully-stocked Vito will always be available for work when he needs it.
“Crucially, too,” Mr Winstone continued, “Mercedes-Benz van Dealers are commercial vehicle specialists and they understand that we need our vehicles for work. By contrast, most of their competitors also sell and service cars, and they’d invariably prefer to work on the car that comes into the workshop, because it’s so much more familiar to them than the van.”
Glen Dimplex will run its Vito vans for four years. “They represent a significant investment, so we’d never have contemplated putting them through some back-street garage,” said Mr Winstone. “Instead, we will have the peace of mind which comes from knowing our vans are being maintained by factory-trained technicians fitting only GenuineParts. This might include remanufactured ReMan parts, which I’m very comfortable with, as they’re near enough brand new anyway.”
He added: “If one of our previous supplier’s vans broke down, we’d be attended at the roadside by a patrol from one of the major recovery organisations. These guys are working on all types of vehicle, though, so they cannot be expected to know all there is to know about a Vito. With MobiloVan, on the other hand, it will be a Mercedes-Benz technician who comes out, and it stands to reason that he will have a much better chance of fixing the vehicle there and then, before sending it on its way.”
Mr Winstone attended last June’s Mercedes-Benz VanExperience Live event at the Millbrook proving ground, in Bedfordshire, with colleagues Nick Fisher and Steve Ellison, respectively Customer Care Director and Field Planning Manager at Glen Dimplex Home Appliances.
“It is they who are responsible for the work of our mobile service engineers, and both were impressed by all that they saw and heard,” he said. “Given our Duty of Care to staff and other road users, the focus on safety was particularly reassuring.”
The company’s engineers are about to get a lot busier. “Their workload tends to start building up around mid-November,” revealed Mr Winstone. “Everyone wants their cooker working for Christmas
“Likewise, the heating side of the business… as temperatures drop, so the demands increase on the customer care team in our call centre, the planners who assign jobs to the mobile engineers, and the parts specialists who must ensure that stocks are replenished in good time. Winter is always the most challenging part of the year for Glen Dimplex, which is why efficiency in all areas of the business – including our van fleet – is so important.”
Mr Winstone recalled: “We met Mercedes-Benz Vans Managing Director Steve Bridge at VanExperience Live, while the support we’ve received from Key Account Manager Natasha Ho and Strategic Account Manager Kirsty McKinnon has been first rate. Both have worked very hard to win our business and I can’t fault them as a team.”