Krispy Kreme's freshly-made glazed doughnuts are synonymous with "delicious tastes and joyful memories". To ensure those products are always of the highest quality, the global brand relies on a key ingredient - the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter.
Krispy Kreme runs 60 vehicles with gross weights of 3.5, 5.0 or 5.5 tonnes in this country, all of which have insulated, ambient box bodies and column tail-lifts. Every one of them wears a three-pointed star.
The latest addition to its fleet is one of the first chassis cabs from the just-launched, third-generation Sprinter range. Recognisable as such from its reworked front end - slender new LED lights, a more upright windscreen and blistered wheel arches - the 314 CDI L3 long was fitted with its box body and 500 kg Dhollandia lift by Krispy Kreme's regular supplier, All Style Bodies, of Reading.
While external revisions are relatively mild, new Sprinter has been transformed inside. The 2018 model's cab interior combines class-leading style, practicality and quality. The result is the most car-like driving experience yet seen in a van, one that offers unrivalled levels of comfort, quietness and smoothness.
New Sprinter also breaks new ground thanks to its 4G Internet connectivity. This advanced manufacturer solution incorporates the Mercedes PRO connect range of fast, efficient and cost-effective vehicle management services, as well as the cutting-edge Mercedes MBUX infotainment system, which features a user-friendly voice control function that responds to "Hey Mercedes!" followed by the command, in conjunction with Navigation.
Meanwhile, to a reassuring armoury that has enabled the Sprinter to dominate the safety category at awards events for years, Mercedes-Benz has now added more innovation. New features include the autonomous Active Brake Assist system with another 'first' in the shape of pedestrian recognition technology, and ATTENTION ASSIST, which detects drowsiness in the driver and encourages them to take breaks when tired.
Delivered by the Mercedes-Benz East London Van Centre, Krispy Kreme's new vehicle is the subject of a lease purchase agreement with Mercedes-Benz Financial Services and, like the operator's other Sprinters, will be maintained under a ServiceCare Plan within the manufacturer's Dealer Network.
Krispy Kreme's UK headquarters are in Camberley, Surrey, and its distribution operation is based on a 'hub and spoke' model. The vans work from 14 factories ('hubs'), where its iconic doughnuts are made. At 11 of these locations customers can enjoy the ultimate Krispy Kreme experience by seeing the process take place in unique Doughnut Theatres.
The company's bright and comfortable Doughnut & Coffee Shops ('spokes') receive daily deliveries of fresh doughnuts, while the company's drivers are also responsible for cleaning and replenishing the self-serve cabinets in many supermarkets and service stations.
Krispy Kreme's National Transport Manager Ben Povey explained: "Product freshness is integral to our success - if a doughnut is not delivered on the day it's made then it doesn't get sold, so time is precious.
"We simply cannot afford to have vehicles off the road, and this - above all else - explains why we choose the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter. It's the 'best in class' in terms of reliability and uptime, and essential to the smooth running of our business." Krispy Kreme's drivers start their shifts early each morning with approximately 4,000 doughnuts on board - the new Sprinter is operating from the company's factory in Slough - and typically make 14 deliveries per day, the last of which takes place at around noon. It is a demanding job, so providing comfortable, safe vehicles in which to work is also a priority.
"The Sprinter has always been popular with those who use it, but the new model has raised driver acceptance to a completely new level," declared Ben Povey. "It's a real pleasure to be at the wheel, while for a company like Krispy Kreme, which is acutely aware of its Duty of Care obligations to colleagues and other road users, the additional safety specification can only reinforce our commitment to the Mercedes-Benz brand." He continued: "Efficiency is key to the smooth running of a logistics operation that entails delivering doughnuts fresh every day across the UK, so we're certainly very interested in the potential benefits to be gained from the new Sprinter's industry-leading connectivity. The enhanced fleet visibility which Mercedes Pro connect offers, and the obvious attractions of a 'one-stop shop' solution, mean this is something we're going to be looking at very closely." Ben Povey and Krispy Kreme colleagues attended the latest Mercedes-Benz VanExperience Live, as guests of the manufacturer. Staged in June at the Millbrook Proving Ground in Bedfordshire, the event presented them with the chance to try a variety of models from the new Sprinter range which, as well as all-wheel drive models, includes the first front-wheel drive variants.
"VanExperience was a great day out of the business for my National Transport Management Team," recalled Mr Povey. "It was tremendous fun, of course, but also very informative and engaging. The opportunity not only to learn about the product but also to really put it through its paces was one you just wouldn't get anywhere else."