Fleet News

Tyres: Team's mission to save time and money

PUNCTURED tyres and flats can be a real problem for fleets, resulting in lost revenue, out-of-action vehicles and the added inconvenience of getting them fixed.

But AA Tyre Fit is on a mission to combat the problem and following the launch of its mobile tyre-fitting service last August, the group has created a new Coventry headquarters dedicated solely to fleets.

The group also launched a new satellite tracking system last month, which it claims has slashed recovery times in half.

The AAHelp roadside rescue computer uses satellite-positioning technology to continuously monitor the location of AA vehicles.

It calculates which driver is closest to an incoming job, allocating the work on the basis of which fitter can reach the customer first.

Tony Ingram, AA Tyre Fit's training development manager, said the introduction of the system has had a major impact on business.

He said: 'It has been the most significant change to our business. The only human intervention is the person who takes the call and the fitter, which means fewer mistakes and more accuracy.

'We had 30 people controlling 43 drivers – now we have one person doing the work. The system also acts as a deployment aid as well as a satellite navigation system – it constantly looks for the best resource and fitter which slashes the estimated time of arrival.'

Fleet business forms the core of AA Tyre Fit's hub with a 70/30 split between fleet and retail and the group's new Coventry base now means fleet business is ring-fenced. This has helped AA Tyre Fit provide a more tailored service to fleets, according to Ingram.

He said: 'The service is now more specialised towards fleets. Fleets expect different things from retail customers such as authorisation codes and feedback data such as tread depth and mileage.'

The main problems encountered by fleets are punctures and tyre problems found on fleet checks.

The group offers fleets free checks, which means the whole fleet will be assessed in one go.

It also launched a forecast replacement service last month. Following a fleet check, AA Tyre Fit makes a note of the tyre wear on each vehicle. The group then calls the fleet manager when it believes a vehicle's tyres need replacing.

Ingram said: 'The one problem we have with fleets is that they don't check tyres and tyre pressures enough. Some fleets wait until the 20,000-mile service and tyres need to be regularly assessed before this, which means more costs for fleets. Tyres are the number one wear component that compromises safety.'

Ingram claims that fleets using the mobile service can save thousands of pounds a year.

'For a fleet of 100 cars it can save £20,000 a year by saved downtime. And the added bonus is that fleets don't even need to see the AA van. They can leave the keys and AA will complete the job, even if the driver is in a meeting or with a client,' he said.

Up until recently the standard AA patrol vans dealt with tyre queries within the M25 boundary. Now AA Tyre Fit is delegated any calls relating to tyres and there are plans to roll this out across the rest of the UK this year.

The group is also planning to focus on improving its satellite system and expanding its fleet of patrol vans over the next year.

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