Ashcourt drives down fleet costs with Continental Tyres

The Ashcourt Group in Hull has developed a tyre-management strategy with Continental Tyres and local dealer, Adams Tyres, that has helped save up to 20 per cent on the running costs of its road fleet.

The Ashcourt Group comprises six main divisions: Haulage, Aggregates, Concrete Construction & Civil Engineering, Residential house building, and Student Accommodation. With over 20 years’ experience, the group’s transport and haulage division has expanded rapidly in the last decade. From a fleet of just four in 2012, it now operates 56 vehicles including heavy-duty tipper wagons, hook-loaders, tankers, concrete mixers, skip-loaders and low-loaders for specialist heavy haulage moves.

Transport Manager, Ian Donkin, said: “When I first started here, we had very few trucks, so we had a policy of fitting what might best be described as ‘economy tyres’. We looked after them very carefully and changed them whenever needed, because safety drives everything we do, but those changes were far too frequent.

I knew Adams Tyres, the local Continental dealer, and as our fleet grew we looked at the options. On their advice, we switched exclusively to Continental. They cost a little more than the budget/economy tyres, as you’d expect, but they are much better. More consistent tread wear and fewer punctures means a longer service life and overall lower costs.”

He added: “I am confident the move to Continental has saved us a good 20 per cent in terms of tyre costs and associated downtime.”

Today’s Ashcourt fleet is extensively shod with Continental Tyres’ Hybrid range. However, a departure from standard fitting behaviour comes with Ian Donkin’s decision to run Conti Hybrid HSC1 tyres on the steer axles, with ContiRe HDC1 tyres on drive axles across the tippers, hook-loaders, tankers, mixers and skip elements of his fleet.

He said: “On our on/off road fleet, we know we are going to be operating on a wide range of surfaces, from the quite rough to the really extreme. The maximum impact of these conditions always falls on the drive axles, so we anticipate greatest wear and potential for punctures on those, even with Conti tyres in place. For that reason, I decided to go with the ContiRe retread products. The ContiRe utilises all the technology and benefits of a new Conti tyre but, thanks to the ContiCasingManagements programme, makes more sense from a financial perspective.”

In addition to his routine contacts with the dealer, Ian Donkin also has regular visits from the Continental Tyres regional team. He recently joined the ContiCasingManagement programme. “It’s a great scheme,” he enthuses, “Adams Tyres take away all our worn casings and we receive credit towards ContiRe tyres, as and when we take them. Continental Tyres recognises that even worn Continental Truck Tyres have a value. So, through the local dealer, they take care of the complete casing handling: collection, inspection, purchasing, retreading and proper disposal, if necessary. It’s good for us and it has to be good for the environment as well.”

On the fleet’s low-loaders and any other trucks that might not be required to go off road, Ian runs all new Conti Hybrids across both steer and drive axles, in keeping with this strategy. Today, the fleet is almost all Volvo, he specifies Conti Hybrids and immediately changes any tyres that do not meet this requirement.

A major part of the success of the Ashcourt Group tyre management strategy has been Adams Tyres, the local Continental dealer. “I have known Jonathan Adams for many years,” said Ian Donkin, “and he and his team deliver a first-class service. In addition to our normal daily drivers’ checks on tyres, the Adams team come in every Saturday afternoon when the fleet is back in the yard and run a full check for uneven wear, damage and any other problems. This is a key element of the safety aspect of our tyre selection. We need to be fully compliant to ensure we meet our O Licence demands, but we also recognise our broader social responsibilities to our staff and the wider public. Good tyres in good condition are a vital part of that.”