Smiths Concrete opt for Liebherr mixer drums
Concrete producer purchases new 804 mixer drums and makes Liebherr its sole supplier
SMITHS Concrete, a Hanson Group company, have recently chosen Liebherr as sole suppliers of their mixer drums and have marked the decision by purchasing a number of Liebherr 804 drums with a carrying capacity of just under 8 cubic metres.
Trading for almost 60 years, Banbury-headquartered Smiths Concrete have become one of the largest independent suppliers of ready-mixed concrete and mortars in the Oxfordshire region with six satellite depots supplying in excess of 800 cubic metres of concrete per day.
Currently running a mixed fleet of trucks and mixer bodies, Smiths Concrete have emerged from the recession with a new management team and a scheduled replacement scheme in place.
Transport manager Paul Simpson explained: ‘In the past the company has taken the approach of keeping trucks and bodies for a number of years with purchases being made from a number of manufacturers.
‘Although this has worked to a certain extent, lack of commonality between parts and service levels from the various manufacturers has not helped us obtain the level of service we expect from suppliers.’
As a result, Smiths Concrete have decided to source both truck chassis and mixer bodies from single suppliers in a bid to bring the fleet under a single manufacturer for each piece of equipment.
‘We have always run Liebherr drums and found them to be extremely well made and durable,’ said Mr Simpson. ‘Liebherr drums have caused us very little in the way of problems, although long lead times and the availability of ready-to-go outfits from all manufacturers led to the fleet being made up from a variety of manufacturers, sometimes not ideally suited to our work.’
Things have now changed, however, with the new management team in place and a focused replacement scheme under way. DAF chassis are now the carrier vehicle of choice with Liebherr in the driving seat for the supply of mixer drums.
‘As part of the Hanson Group, we are required to specify our vehicles to their standards and this includes the fitment of quick-release hatches to the mixer drums,’ explained Mr Simpson.
‘The Liebherr system is by far the best and simplest solution, and although we had a few niggly issues with the seal on the first example to enter service, the response from Liebherr and their team has been what we expected from such a large and professional company.’
Smiths Concrete are currently running a fleet of 29 trucks throughout their region and the latest Liebherr 804 mixer drum purchases join other 804 units and a number of smaller 6 cubic metre capacity 704 drums in the company’s fleet.
The new, high-specification Liebherr mixer drums come complete with electronic mixing and discharge controls. These are the first drums to have such a system and early reports are said to be very positive from an operational and servicing point of view.
The lightweight drums are also said to combine good carrying capacity with superior longevity compared with rival makes. ‘The Liebherr mixers are almost so good that we can fit them and forget them,’ Mr Simpson remarked. ‘We check them every six months and, apart from early seal issues, they have been exemplary.
‘When we have had to call Liebherr to deal with an issue, it has been dealt with quickly and effectively. We know they aren’t the cheapest mixer on the market, but that small increase in purchase price is soon forgotten with the low overall cost of ownership.’
According to Mr Simpson, the operation of a one-truck, one-driver system means the company’s drivers have ownership of their vehicles, which results in an immaculately turned out fleet. ‘We like to think we look after our drivers and, in return, they look after the vehicles,’ he said. ‘The company is aiming to replace three vehicles per year and to keep them on the fleet for up to 10 years, depending on the mileage and reliability of the chassis.’