From the Frontline: DAF Trucks UK MD Laurence Drake talks about how his business is responding to the COVID-19 crisis
DAF Trucks is reassuring dealers and operators that it will support them throughout the coronavirus outbreak.
In a letter to the DAF dealer network, DAF Trucks UK MD Laurence Drake, said: “I wanted to write to you and our customers to provide reassurance that DAF Trucks and the DAF dealer network have plans and a structure in place to continue delivering support.”
He confirmed that UK and Ireland’s network, which consists of 134 locations, is “operating at, or very close to, normal levels; undertaking inspections, fulfilling R&M contracts and delivering parts, not just for DAF trucks, but also for other makes and trailers through its extensive TRP parts programme”.
Drake said DAF is monitoring the parts supply chain on a daily basis to ensure stock levels and frequency of deliveries are maintained, adding that action has been taken to put in place additional stock at parts distribution centres across Europe, including in Eindhoven and Leyland.
“Meanwhile, critical parts have been identified and protected to be made available for every DAF Dealer if and when required,” he said. “And the DAF parts distribution service which replenishes parts stock daily is currently running without delays.”
Drake confirmed that DAFaid continues to provide breakdown assistance, with the control centre fully operational, and dealers across the network responding to call-outs.
But Drake acknowledged that the service levels for maintenance, breakdown and parts support could be affected in the future, with potential disruption due to staff sickness or self-isolation. If this happens, he said priority would be being given to vehicles delivering essential supplies such and food and pharmaceutical products.
HGV driver medicals threatened
A shortage of doctors combined with moves by landlords to close premises during the coronavirus outbreak is preventing HGV drivers from getting their D4 medicals renewed. D4Drivers, which carries out more than 5,000 D4 medicals a month at sites across the UK, has been forced to put out a national appeal to firms that have spare warehouse or office capacity after some of its clinics were forced to close down during the pandemic.
Medical director Dr Grant Charlesworth-Jones said: “In our efforts to keep the nation's drivers on the road at this critical time, we are working hard to keep our service running so that drivers can get their medicals to renew their entitlements. However as many of our venues close their doors, in some locations we are being left without spaces to examine drivers and run our clinics. Therefore, in order to help us keep our drivers on the road and our stores stocked we are putting out a national appeal to businesses that have office or warehouse space which they can offer to us to hold clinics for driver medicals.
Charlesworth-Jones said the need to be able to offer D4 Medicals in the midst of the pandemic was critical to ensure the supply chain keeps moving. “Without our service, drivers cannot renew their licenses and the DVLA have so far indicated that they will not extend renewal dates, which will mean they are forced off the road. If this happens it will have a massive impact for the 5000-plus HGV drivers we see every month, and a greater impact on our country’s ability to get supplies to its stores and medical facilities. GP surgeries are already overwhelmed and cannot help so drivers have nowhere to go.”
He added: “We are happy to discuss payment or incentives including discounted medicals for use of any suitable premises.”
The DVLA has yet to respond to a request for information on whether it plans to suspend D4 medicals during the coronavirus outbreak.