Next plays it safe with Mercedes-Benz Vans


Class-leading safety and reliable, fuel-efficient performance make the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter a perfect fit for leading fashion retailer Next.

The company runs in excess of 250 Sprinter 313CDI Long models delivered and maintained by Dealer Intercounty Truck & Van, more than 100 of which have entered service this year.

Mercedes-Benz Vans is also helping its high-profile customer to get the very best from the Sprinters by delivering a programme of driver training.

Next has 11 Driver Assessors, who are based at depots around the country. Their role entails coaching and evaluating all 280 of its drivers, and this task has now been made easier thanks to a special information briefing laid on by the manufacturer.

A team of experts attended Next’s distribution centre in South Elmsall, near Doncaster, where they held a classroom session and provided a detailed overview of one of the depot’s own vans.

Recognising the fact that the Driver Assessors are already highly experienced, qualified professionals, the Mercedes-Benz Vans representatives did not waste time on the basics.

Instead, they provided insights on the finer points of the Sprinter’s pioneering technology, and explained how it can help to increase safety and boost fuel efficiency.

The programme covered the innovative Adaptive ESP dynamic handling control system, as well as Crosswind Assist, Blind Spot Assist, Lane Keeping Assist, High Beam Assist, and Collision Prevention Assist, all of which are designed to help the driver retain full control and avoid accidents.

On the subject of economy, a round-table discussion examined the effects that driving style can have on the fuel consumption of the super-efficient Sprinter 313CDI, which is capable of returning more than 40 mpg.

The initiative came about as a result of Next’s attendance at the latest Mercedes-Benz VanExperience Live event, which was held at the Millbrook Proving Ground in Bedfordshire.

Next Transport Manager Phil Belk recalled: “As well as putting vehicles through their paces in controlled conditions, and witnessing at first hand the amazing capabilities of their safety systems, we also heard about the training support that Mercedes-Benz Vans could offer.

“We knew our Sprinters were safe and efficient but this course of instruction has underlined their quality, and confirmed our belief that we made the right decision to invest in the Mercedes-Benz product.”

Richard Mawson, Next’s Driver Development Manager, said: “We realised immediately that our drivers could benefit from this level of expert input, and began discussions with the manufacturer. 

“The session was extremely informative – I think we all learned a few things we hadn’t known before, and gained a deeper understanding of some aspects we’d been aware of but not fully appreciated.”

He added: “At Next, driving safely is of paramount importance, both for our drivers and other road users. We are committed to ensuring our van drivers are fully aware of the safety features in the vehicles they drive.

“Alongside this, we strive to ensure the vans are driven as economically as possible, which limits the impact of our operation on the environment as well as helping to control costs for the business. Mercedes-Benz vans play a significant role in ensuring our distribution function runs smoothly and safely, so we can continue to provide the level of service our customers expect from Next.”