Sprinter - Tesco (2)

Mercedes-Benz Vans is working with Tesco.com to ensure the online grocer is able to evaluate the new drivers it needs to meet record-breaking home delivery demand.

The retailer recently reported picking 10 million items in a single day for the first time. It has also achieved a weekly total of 1.2 million online deliveries, twice the typical average prior to the Covid-19 outbreak.

To manage the increase, Tesco has recruited an extra 12,000 pickers and more than 4,000 new drivers since the crisis began. It has also committed extra resources to the teams responsible for assessing potential candidates for driving jobs.

In normal times Tesco temporarily reassigns vans from its home delivery fleet to examine their suitability. However, given the unprecedented volume of online orders now requiring fulfilment, all of these vehicles are needed to serve customers.

Mercedes-Benz Vans has therefore provided 15 Sprinters on a loan basis for a minimum of three months, and longer if needed. Allocated to assessment hubs nationwide, nine of these vehicles are new, the other six pre-owned.

The standard panel vans are suitable for driver evaluation purposes, freeing up front-line units for the home delivery work.

Mercedes-Benz Sprinters account for around half of the 5,000-plus vehicles on the Tesco.com delivery fleet. This year the manufacturer will supply 1,105 new 314 CDI chassis cabs, which are being fitted with insulated bodies by Solomon Commercials and Thermo King refrigeration systems.

Tesco has taken various other steps to manage the surge in demand, including increasing its order for new Mercedes-Benz vehicles and retaining others that would normally have been stood down after five years’ service.

However, the company said it is not essential to use a Tesco.com vehicle for driver evaluations. Its focus is on assessing the ability of each candidate to handle a 3.5-tonne van safely and responsibly.

Commented Mercedes-Benz Vans MD Steve Bridge: “Our commitment is always to do whatever it takes to keep our customers’ businesses moving. This is particularly important during the pandemic, when those businesses are providing essential services and their own customers include some of the most vulnerable in society.

“Tesco.com is a perfect case in point, so we were delighted to work with its team to ensure they are able to evaluate new drivers who will go on to serve even more people through this most challenging of times.”