The company supplies more than 22,000 products to veterinary practices across the UK from its headquarters in Castle Cary, Somerset, and depots in Carlisle, Ivybridge, Letchworth and Stoke-on-Trent.
Recent arrivals from South-West Dealer City West Commercials include models from the Mercedes-Benz Citan and Vito ranges. The vast majority of the vans are Sprinters – while most are 3.5-tonne 313 CDI models, the line-up also includes a number of 5.0-tonnne 513 CDIvariants.
Over recent years Centaur Services has invested heavily in its warehouse and distribution network. With the exceptions of two mid-size Vito 111 CDI Crew Vans, which have second rows of seats and are used by its VetSpace practice management software division to attend shows and exhibitions, its vehicles make multi-drop deliveries of food, drugs and consumables.
Typically, a van will service 17 veterinary surgeries each day. The company’s single, small Citan, a 109 CDI, is based in Inverness and covers the Highlands, where there are fewer drops and much longer distances between them, so fuel efficiency is more important than carrying capacity.
“We moved to Mercedes-Benz because of its reputation for reliability and its vehicles have certainly lived up to that promise,” said Lisa Derbyshire, director of supply chain and operations. “Not only are they much better in terms of build quality than the vans we were using previously, but the drivers much prefer them and they lead the market when it comes to safety – that’s something we’re very conscious of, given our Duty of Care to employees and other road users.
“The back-up from City West Commercials and other Mercedes-Benz Dealers is also far superior. The manufacturer’s nationwide network has a good geographical spread, which means that we’re always well covered. And we benefit from quick turnarounds when our vehicles need servicing, while any parts we need are invariably in stock.”
Centaur Services’ Mercedes-Benz Sprinters are fitted with tracking devices and limited to 70 mph – each covers around 60,000 miles per year. “The Sprinter is very cost-effective and economical,” continued Lisa Derbyshire. “Those working in towns and cities will use a bit more fuel but across the fleet they’re averaging 32-33 mpg, which is great.”