For John Ward, head of the vehicle maintenance unit at supermarket giant Morrisons, operating in a high-pressured logistics arena where time is crucial means there is little room for downtime across his 700+ commercial fleet.
Each travelling over 125,000 miles a year, Morrisons’ drivers are responsible for delivering produce, including fresh and frozen foods, to tight deadlines between nine distribution centres and over five hundred nationwide stores. Such high mileage inevitably leads to an increased risk of vehicle damage, particularly windscreen breakages, of which 81% are caused by stones bouncing off the road surface.
Ward has worked hard to build a solid network of consistent repair suppliers that he can rely on to minimise off-road times, with automotive glass specialist Auto Windscreens being one such company.
“At the end of the day no store wants to receive a delivery of perishable produce that has been in transit too long,” he said. “It is my job to make sure this doesn’t happen and our drivers currently meet the allocated delivery windows 97% of the time.”
A partnership between the firms began in late 2012, when a three-month trial in Kent and Glasgow resulted in a long-term UK-wide sole supplier contract being signed. An anticipated 450 glass replacement jobs were expected annually.
Before the partnership, Morrisons used a network of independent glazing repair and replacement companies. but Ward said: “We found inconsistencies between sites and knew there could be improvements to the service being received.”
Morrisons’ commercial trucks operate around the clock, so it needed a 24-hour, seven day a week glass replacements service.
"We really wanted a supplier that could very quickly turnaround windscreen replacements at anytime day or night and guarantee a consistent level of service.”
“In our initial trial Auto Windscreens gave one standard price and procedure, and a one-stop-shop process that provides an ease of operation we didn’t have before.”
Auto Windscreens agreed a bespoke set of service level agreements with Morrisons, ensuring quick call-out times and a fast on-demand tinted glass stock system. Support from onsite trained Morrisons’ technicians was also negotiated to enhance the speed of repairs to get vehicles back on the road as efficiently as possible.
“This means Auto Windscreens’ technicians have a helping pair of hands to assist and so far it has worked very well,” he added.
Whilst there were a couple of issues when moving away from utilising independent suppliers, these were resolved quickly and, six months in, John says Auto Windscreens is beating key performance targets.
A 100% satisfaction record remains intact, calls from drivers reporting damage are answered through a dedicated Auto Windscreens phone line and Morrisons’ vehicle downtime rate stands at an all-time low. In the first half of 2013 glass breakage volumes peaked in March and February when bad weather consumed the UK, but all replacement work was also carried out to specified timescales, unless scheduled outside of these periods for an agreed reason.
He added: “I’m more than happy with how Auto Windscreens work with us. They deliver a first class service and technicians turn up on time looking smart and with a professional attitude. What I like is the very smooth approach they have, the efficiency of their work and the fact that they do an excellent job.”