Fleet News

Face to face: Leasedrive Group

STRIKING new offices are the latest ingredient in the recipe for success being created by senior executives at Leasedrive Group.

Last month, the rental to contract hire firm officially opened its new offices, based at Transport Research Laboratory in Crowthorne.

It is a visible indication of its success over the past year, particularly taking into account a string of high-profile new contracts it has secured.

The latest, announced in October, came when Microsoft announced the result of a six-month procurement review that included examining its fleet suppliers.

Microsoft has signed a deal with Leasedrive, its existing supplier, for a further three years. Leasedrive beat a string of large suppliers to win the contract.

In August, mobile communication giant Orange launched a massive new employee benefits scheme that offers its thousands of UK staff access to cut-price cars regardless of whether they receive a company car or cash allowance entitlement.

Called Driveaway, it is open to Orange’s 14,000 staff and is launched in conjunction with Leasedrive.

In both cases, Leasedrive was already the supplier and successfully won a renewal, a clear indication of customer confidence in the company.

A key factor in its success is its continuing commitment to computer systems that provide integrated online fleet management services.

The system, called Drive:Manager, puts a range of services together, including Fleet:Manager, which offers vehicle policies, vehicle comparisons, quotations, ordering and a range of other services under one system.

The web-based Fleet:Manager solution covers all key areas of fleet management, including company vehicle policy, vehicle comparisons, vehicle quotations, vehicle ordering, vehicle maintenance booking, authorisations, payments and management reporting. Users can obtain quotes and order new vehicles, tracking progress through production and delivery. Once vehicles are on the road, routine servicing, unforeseen maintenance and repair work can all be booked, authorised and paid for online.

Meanwhile, fleet decision-makers can get clear management information on how their fleets are operating.

The technology includes a service called RunOut:Manager, so that when Leasedrive wins an exclusive contract, it will also manage the fleet of the losing supplier until vehicles are replaced with its own orders.

A range of other electronic systems cover everything from administration to rental. For commercial director Roddy Graham and the rest of the senior management team, this is all part of a carefully created plan introduced when they secured the firm in a £45 million deal with a purchase covering Leasedrive Vehicle Management and Countrywide Vehicle Rental.

Graham said: ‘The technology we have put to use to automate key processes has meant that operational staff can now be moved to customer service. ‘Nothing replaced the personal touch but we have come a long way from when we started.’

Roger Partridge, chief executive officer, said some major companies had grown through acquisition and had had to take on old systems.

‘In some cases, the systems are up to 20 years old and the customer is having to deal with a range of different systems that mean the quality of service is poor,’ he said.

‘Microsoft has been with us since 1991 and it does a review every three to four years. Yet out of 14 companies, we were chosen.

‘This business is about technology. Had we not moved into the 21st century, we would not have got some of these contracts.

‘We could show Microsoft that our systems were market leading.’

Leasedrive regularly speaks to drivers among its customers to obtain their view on the standards of service it is providing.

With the savings made from using technology to automate key processes, such as service booking and maintenance approval, it is able to invest more heavily in customer service.

It has also brought in some high-profile figures from the industry to back up its business plans.

Graham said: ‘Getting the right people who have the knowledge to do what you want is vital. Some people may have the right people, but terrible systems. We have great people and great systems.’

To make the most out of its investment, the company is currently focused on solus deals with large clients.

Out of 14 recent tenders, the firm has won six and is still waiting for a response on several more.

Partridge added: ‘We set out a lot of plans 18 months ago and I believe we have achieved everything we said we would do. That is part of our ethos – what we say is what we do.’

A new solution structure

Called Drive:Manager, it includes

  • Fleet:Manager, covering customer policy, quotations, vehicle comparator, ordering and order tracking
  • Admin:Manager, covering driver services: infringement management; service reviews and document import
  • Service:Manager, dealer locator and service booking
  • Info:Manager, business intelligence, reporting
  • Rental:Manager, daily rental reservations and amendment
  • Run:Out Manager, fleet information for managing the run-off of an existing fleet with a third-part supplier
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