Van operators demonstrated their commitment to safety and responsibility by attending a “hard-hitting” Freight Transport Association presentation staged at the flagship Gloucester branch of leading Mercedes-Benz Dealer group Rygor Commercials.
The FTA’s industry-led Van Excellence scheme aims to enhance standards of operator compliance and celebrate those who best represent the interests of the industry. As its only Platinum Partner, Mercedes-Benz Vans is the initiative’s lead sponsor.
The latest in a series of Operational Briefings hosted by Mercedes-Benz Dealers was delivered by Barrie Wilson, Regional Manager, Van FTA. He employed a fictitious fatal crash involving a gas fitter’s van to explore the issues of safety and risk management from the perspectives of the driver, fleet manager and company owner.
Twenty delegates representing van operators of all sizes and from different sectors attended Rygor’s purpose-built Dealership, which opened last year on Gloucester’s Railway Triangle. They watched video footage of mock interviews under caution, before engaging in a question and answer session.
Darren Turley is Operations Director with Gloucester-based national electrical contractor Clarkson Evans. “It was a very informative and hard-hitting presentation,” he said. “The company on which the case study was based operated on similar lines to our own business model, so some of the key messages were also highly relevant.”
Mr Turley added: “The Rygor team made us feel very welcome and at no stage did they try and sell us anything. I was impressed by the facilities and by the general tone of the event, which was about supporting the industry as a whole.”
Simon Shouls, National Operations & Logistics Manager at Birmingham’s Minor Weir & Willis, one of the UK’s largest independent suppliers of exotic and conventional fresh fruit, vegetables and salads, was equally enthusiastic. “The session was very engaging,” he confirmed. “The FTA does a pretty good job of spreading the word about best practice, but it’s surprising how little some operators still know about safety and compliance.”
Mr Shouls, who manages a fleet of 78 refrigerated vans rented from Petit Forestier, added: “Rygor’s facilities are exceptionally smart and well laid out, and it was encouraging to see Mercedes-Benz Vans and its Dealer working together with the FTA to make the roads safer for everyone.”
For Brian Davies, Solihull Council’s Interim Facilities Manager, Transport & Building the event was “both powerful and thought-provoking”. He confirmed: “The briefing represented a very good use of my time and I couldn’t fault the organisation – Rygor’s excellent hospitality was much appreciated by all.”
The FTA’s Barrie Wilson explained: “Our Operational Briefings provide practical, informative and essential advice. The event at Rygor was very well attended and there was a high level of engagement from delegates. By taking a closer look at the way a driver’s actions can impact the way in which a fleet operation works, we were able to reflect on how planning and consideration can improve not only safety and compliance, but also the image of the van driver.”
Safety is a cornerstone of the Mercedes-Benz Vans brand, and the Sprinter, Vito and Citan models displayed in the light, airy showroom at Rygor, Gloucester, lead the market in terms of active and passive technology designed to protect drivers and other road users.
Julie Steed, Rygor Group Director responsible for the £4-million facility, added: “Our Setting Standards philosophy means that rather than chasing the quick sale, we strive always to add value for our customers and to establish ourselves as a trusted business partner. The opportunity to support the FTA’s admirable Van Excellence scheme allowed us, once again, to demonstrate Rygor’s commitment to working with and supporting operators for the benefit of all.”
With 11 branches throughout Berkshire, Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Somerset, West London, Wiltshire and Worcestershire, Rygor are a multi award winning specialist Mercedes-Benz van and truck Dealership.