A highway breakdown not only causes delays for the customer. It can also be expensive for the haulier who will have to call the nearest workshop for roadside assistance – typically overpriced and rarely of a particularly high quality.
"As a one-time customer, you usually get the poorest service – at the highest price," says Søren Lund, Equipment Manager, DSV Equipment Center, Puurs, Belgium. This is home to the 8,500 trailers in DSV’s trailer pool that make up Europe’s largest individual fleet of trailers.
The pool was recently supplemented by five strategically located workshops with associated roadside assistance: fully equipped mobile workshops covering a distance of 200 km from workshops in Horsens (Denmark), Gothenburg and Landskrona (Sweden), Uusikaupunki (Finland) and Gorinchem (the Netherlands).
Each workshop has fully equipped break-down vehicles that can quickly reach the broken-down trailer or lorry and help with repairs, tyre replacement, etc.
We benefit from uniformly high quality at competitive prices,
says Søren Lund, who is supplemented by Flemming Steiness, Deputy Manager: "At the same time, we get the highest level of flexibility and service-minded technicians with a ‘no-problem’ attitude":
The service is naturally intended for DSV’s own trailers and hauliers in the network, but more and more external hauliers have become aware of DSV’s new repair shops with roadside assistance, i.e. mobile workshops:
We hear from external customers every day who appreciate our transparent and fair pricing – and high quality,
Flemming Steiness says.
Søren Lund, Equipment Manager (left) and Flemming Steiness, Deputy Manager, DSV Equipment Center in Puurs, Belgium
The trailer pool attracts new users every day. Spain will soon have its own pool with Spanish registered trailers, so there will be trailers in Spain, Italy, France, Germany, the UK and all of Scandinavia. But it is entirely up to the individual forwarder to decide whether he or she will be part of DSV’s trailer pool.
"To many, it’s a matter of tradition, but it’s important for us that there is no obligation. We compete freely on the market and though we aim to make a profit, we also emphasise our decentralisation. We don’t want to quell anyone’s personal initiative or commercial intuition; everyone should be able to optimise a potential benefit," says Søren Lund, who is not in doubt of the advantages of joining Europe’s largest individual trailer pool:
"In addition to reducing empty runs and promoting collaboration between modes of transport, our mission is to make trailers available at the lowest possible price. We specialise in fleet management and now also in repairs," Søren Lund says.
High volume – low prices
"We now have a volume that allows for a much more efficient control of purchases of spare parts and repairs. We repair and inspect 80% of our own trailers and we’re able to keep costs low because we do the repair work in our own workshops," adds Flemming Steiness who has received five containers with tyres from China in the past few weeks.
Every year, 14,000 tyres are replaced on trailers which have an average age of 2.5 years and an expected service life of five years – after which they are re-sold for less demanding tasks.
"It is essential for us that the equipment is impeccable so we can avoid breakdowns in transit that cause delays," says Flemming. However, if an accident does occur, a call centre in Poland with trained technicians will handle the initial contact with drivers – from 7 am to 7 pm.
Outside these hours, incoming calls are directed to Falck breakdown service who also answers the phone with "DSV Roadside Assistance". Some incidents can be managed over the phone and otherwise the drivers are directed to the nearest workshop or serviced by the mobile unit.
Five newly established workshops with a mobile service van each – which is actually a rolling full-scale trailer workshop – ensure high-quality low-priced repairs. Service with a no-problem attitude!
Just like the countries are currently collaborating on trailers and workshop service, DSV Equipment Center in Puurs will set up a similar scheme for forklift trucks. This is an area where huge costs can be saved by establishing cooperation for the approx. 4,000 forklift trucks, such as by reallocating rolling stock in peak load situations.
"We have measured the utilisation of our existing forklift trucks and reviewed repair bills, measured accident rates, etc. Part of the project will be to ensure value for money, such as by standardised purchasing schemes for new trucks and ensuring qualified audits of workshop bills," says Søren Lund of the Equipment Center.
Together with the country organisations, they have already appointed forklift truck suppliers for the individual countries and set up a team of DSV Equipment experts who will ensure that the estimated annual savings of EUR 5 million are realised.
"Together, we can get better equipment at far lower prices than if we purchased it separately," he says.
Read more about our Road transport services here