Woodford Logistics adds 30 more DAF trucks to its fleet
Having initially bought its first 30 DAF trucks in 2021 and 2022, Woodford Logistics has taken delivery of 30 new units from Babcock, comprising the XF480 Premium Plus and Smart Spec models. In fact, the latest delivery – which took place on July 5,2023 – is part of a larger order of 60 units, which will see the remaining 30 trucks handed over before the end of the year.
From humble beginnings with a single truck in 2000, Woodford Logistics has over the years grown significantly and now operates a strong fleet of 125 trucks. One of the key pillars of growth, explains CEO Owais Suleman, has always been the focus on building strong, long-term relationships.
“For a transport business to be successful, critically important are the positive relationships it establishes, principally with its staff,” states Suleman. “The way a company looks after its drivers, for instance, is the same way they will look after the big-ticket assets (trucks) and the cargo, which together run into millions of rands.”
Based on this approach, most of the current crop of Woodford Logistics’ drivers average between 10 and 15 years with the company, which is testimony to the investment the company makes in its people.
The other important relationship for a transport company, says Suleman, is with the truck supplier. “For me, it’s not just about the truck itself; a truck is one thing, and the support behind it is quite another. Simply put, a truck is only as good as the people who manage it,” he says.
While DAF has inarguably proven its mettle on the international trucking stage, Suleman says key to the purchasing decision is the strong working relationship the company has forged with the Babcock team in South Africa.
“While the truck has proven itself, our buying decision largely hinges on the people behind the product,” he says. “The support from this compact Babcock team is unparalleled. We have established a close relationship with the whole team, including the managing director, Marius Barnard, who even takes my call on a Sunday evening. This, for me, exhibits true commitment to the brand, which is why we intend to standardise our whole fleet with DAF.”
Apart from the support, Suleman believes that the DAF product ticks all the right boxes for Woodford Logistics, all the way from fuel consumption and resale value to reliability and driver comfort. In such a low-margin environment, total cost of ownership (TCO) is a parameter of sheer significance for Woodford Logistics.
“We are especially happy with the fuel consumption of the truck. It gives us anything between 42 and 45 litres per 100 km, which in my experience with all the other brands is unmatched,” declares Suleman.
Marius Barnard, MD of Babcock’s Transport Solutions business, says the continued buy-in of a premium logistics operator of Woodford Logistics’ stature is a seal of approval for both the DAF brand and Babcock.
Commenting on the growth of the DAF brand under Babcock’s stewardship, Barnard says the combination of an internationally acclaimed product and a hands-on product support strategy are winning recipes for success.
“We have a product that has won the International Truck of the Year accolade twice in a row, which speaks volumes about the capabilities of the truck,” says Barnard. “Our local success is, however, largely driven by our strong focus on reducing TCO for our customers. The truck’s fuel efficiency is one important pillar of this TCO approach. Due to the increased uptake, our maintenance contracts have also become even more competitive, thus reducing service-related costs for our customers.”
As a key value add, says Barnard, Babcock has also made it easier for customers to sell their well-maintained trucks back through competitive buybacks and trade-in deals. This, confirms Suleman, was central to Woodford Logistics’ latest deal, which saw the company trade in its existing 29 DAF trucks for the new units.
“Resale value is a popular consideration for us when investing in new trucks,” says Suleman. “We always think about how much the truck will be worth when the time comes to sell it as this will have a huge impact on the return of our investment. Part of the reason we prefer DAF is the resale value and Babcock’s favourable buyback programme.”
In conclusion, Barnard commends trailer manufacturer, Afrit Trailers, for its role in making the latest delivery of 30 trucks a resounding success. “For a trailer manufacturer, it is always difficult to synchronise a big delivery of this magnitude, but Afrit has made it easy. We are proud to partner with one of South Africa’s well-known, like-minded trailer brands for this latest big DAF delivery,” concludes Barnard.