With 2.7 million cars, 210,000 trucks and 208,000 buses and coaches registered in the Greater London area, providing deliveries to construction sites in the British capital is a daily challenge. Quattro’s fleet of mixer trucks service building sites all over the city from its two batching plants in West London.
Mastering London traffic is an art fine-tuned through experience and Quattro has loads of experience. The mixer trucks have a time window of just two hours from mixing water to the cement and aggregates at the depot to discharging concrete at sites. A single road accident can cause serious disruption and although this may render the concrete unusable for the customer, additives can retard the stiffening process in the drum.
Streamlined filling process
At its West London batching plant in Park Royal, Quattro has a streamlined process for filling up mixer trucks as quickly as possible. Before they are allowed back in traffic, they must be thoroughly hosed down to avoid loose gravel from soiling public roads.
“Approximately 75 percent of our fleet is Scania,” says General Manager Robert Duddy. “In this industry, it is all about availability of the vehicles, they need to be available 100 percent of the time. For that reason, we choose Scania.”
Quattro carries out most maintenance and repairs in-house as well as making use of Scania workshops. “Having our in-house facilities, we are able to carry out work during nights to make sure that the trucks are available the following morning.”
There is no lack of demand for Quattro’s products in London. Europe’s largest construction project, Crossrail, is nearing completion while around 70 high-rise buildings are under construction with another 200 more planned.
High volume, low margin
“However, this is a very competitive high volume, low margin, industry. It’s difficult to increase volumes so it’s all about service. Again, this means that the availability of the trucks and having an efficient fleet is very important.”
Ultimately, London is London and the biggest daily obstacle is traffic, Duddy notes. “London is a large city, it’s a busy city and there is always something that could happen. We have satellite tracking on all our vehicles and can, if need be, re-route them.”
However, traffic is not the only jeopardy. “We work in an industry where things do go wrong. We can have four-five trucks waiting on a site because they’ve had a breakdown and are unable to use the material.”
Driving construction vehicles in London is another challenge. London has recently announced a five-star safety rating system whereby trucks with the lowest rating will be banned from city roads. Quattro’s trucks are therefore CLOCS, Construction Logistics and Community Safety, compliant and equipped not only with close-proximity mirrors but also with side-view cameras.
“The biggest improvement in our truck would be driver’s visibility,” says Duddy. “We operate in a congested environment with vulnerable road users. The driver therefore needs as much visibility as possible but also comfort to be relaxed and in the best frame of mind to drive.”