As part of a major £1.2m fleet investment programme covering both new delivery trucks and material handling equipment, Somerset company CRS Building Supplies has replaced 50% of its 3.5 tonne truck fleet with the addition of seven new Isuzu Grafter N35.125 tippers.
The Isuzu Grafters are replacing an ageing fleet of end-of-life Nissan Cabstars and are more suited to the intensive multi-drop delivery operation at CRS Building Supplies.
“We needed a more robust truck to cope with the increased demands for bulk deliveries on our 3.5 tonne trucks but also a vehicle that will future proof us in advance of the forthcoming Clean Air Zones in both Bath and Bristol. Following a demonstration from our local dealer Harry Moore Commercials, we were really impressed by the Isuzu offering at this GVW,” said Paul Gibbard, transport manager, CRS Building Supplies Ltd.
“During the two-week demo period, the Isuzu Grafter passed its technical evaluation with flying colours. We were also really impressed by the overall build quality, especially the running gear and the cab, which gave great visibility and could incorporate our preferred mirror set up,” added Paul Gibbard.
During the demonstration programme, over 15% of the CRS drivers took part in the trials, which also involved more than half of the company’s current eleven branches throughout Somerset.
All seven Isuzu Grafter tippers have been supplied by local dealer Harry Moore Commercials in Exeter and they are each fitted with TGS tipper bodies. The Grafters have also been upgraded to include wide angle cab mirrors on both sides, a proximity cab mirror on the nearside and forward-facing recording cameras. The vehicles will initially be working in the CRS fleet for a four-year period, but this could be extended up to 8 years.
With a payload of 1100 kg, which is a significant increase on the payload from its predecessors, the Isuzu Grafter trucks are delivering aggregates, timber, plasterboard, bulk sand, decorative stone and chippings to customers and act as a quick response vehicle from selected depots as well as providing daily delivery runs.
Two of the Isuzus are based at the CRS depot in Yeovil, whilst the others are based at Somerton, Taunton, Watchet, and Weston-Super-Mare, with the final vehicle shortly going into operation at CRS’s newest site in Keynsham. Each truck generally works within a 20 to 40-mile radius of their respective branch.
Paul continues, “Now that the vehicles have been on the road for a while, we are finding that they are trouble-free in operation and providing us with excellent fuel returns. The robust nature of the Isuzu chassis and the superior TGS tipper bodywork combine to give us a versatile truck that can go to places other trucks cannot go. This allows us to deliver to residential driveways and premises which have limited access. “
Another significant, and most important, benefit of the new Isuzu Grafter Green is that it complies with the proposed requirements of the planned Clean Air Zones in Bath and Bristol, which allows CRS Building Supplies to future proof its urban distribution fleet, by planning for this future legislation.
Established in 2005, CRS Building Supplies is one of the largest independent builders’ merchants in Somerset and currently operates through eleven branches. As part of its ongoing expansion programme, CRS is shortly to open a twelfth branch in Keynsham.
“The introduction of the first ever Isuzus into the CRS 3.5 tonne delivery fleet is a major development for Isuzu Truck UK. With industry-leading payload and proven on the road reliability, the Isuzu Grafter is the truck of choice at this gross vehicle weight and we are pleased to see that CRS will be benefiting from these advantages over the next four to eight years,” said Andy Williams, network business manager, Isuzu Truck UK.