Fleet News

Face to face: Nick Gregg, ATS Euromaster

COMPANY Bosses at ATS Euromaster are in the process of launching new innovations aimed at the fleet industry and claim they are starting to win back lost customers.

The business turnaround is led by group managing director Nick Gregg, who took on the role in November 2003.

Parent company Michelin charged him with the task of bringing the company up to date.

Gregg said: ‘It hadn’t moved on at the same speed and pace as the rest of the market. It was behind the times.’

Every pound spent on improving the company has been invested with the customer in mind.

Gregg said: ‘The customer sits at the centre of our business and they determine how we deal with issues.’

Backing up this claim is the fact that ATS Euromaster is currently trialling a new reporting system with a couple of its major fleet customers.

Gregg says his staff see fleet vehicles more often than other service providers, as tyres need changing before the vehicles needs servicing.

It could potentially seize the opportunity of carrying out other safety checks on the vehicles, download the information onto a handheld device and feed the data through to the customer within seconds.

Gregg said: ‘Those trials will finish soon and we are discussing what other elements the fleet companies will want us to do.

‘Fleet managers very rarely see the vehicle themselves. We’re currently working on the best way to provide them with information about their vehicles. We’ve got the kit and the technology but it’s how we deliver it. We’re looking at that at the moment.’

Gregg anticipates the service will be offered to its car fleet customers within the next few months.

Company bosses believe they are in a unique position to bring new products to market quickly as they deal with a raft of different sectors – working with anything from a wheelbarrow to a large truck.

Gregg said: ‘The things that are developing in one market quite easily spread into others. Running a truck fleet is no different to running a car fleet – there is a set of vehicles that have to do a job, they are needed all over the country and therefore the operational capability is no different, although trucks have different rules and laws of course. And even these will arrive in the car and van fleet market in the future.

‘When that happens we have the great advantage of dealing with the truck industry, so a lot of this we are ready for. A lot of the innovation that we launch for car fleets over the next year will already have been tried and tested in the truck or van environment.’

The company also recently announced it had pioneered a system to provide greater control of all tyre-related spend for its contract managed commercial customers.

It aims to speed up all tyre maintenance processes, ensuring an improvement in driver downtime.

The web-based system links ATS Euromaster services to customer fitment policy information, turning it into an instant online authorisation system.

In another move aimed at improving efficiencies, ATS has changed the way it handles customers’ in-coming telephone calls, now boasting that 98% of calls are answered within 10 seconds, compared to 60% last year.

ATS claims to be the oldest national tyre fitting chain in the country, starting life as a chain of independents in the 1960s each carrying the name, Association of Tyre Specialists.

Today, it is part of the Michelin-owned Euromaster Group, has 520 service centres in the UK and operates in 10 European countries.

Gregg said: ‘There are very few places where we are no more than about 30 minutes from a customer. We also have about 150 mobile vehicles specifically for the car fleet market then about another 1,000 which cater for the car, van and truck market.’

On its position in the marketplace, Gregg said: ‘We are the market leader in trucks and vans and in national car fleet we are second to Kwik-Fit, in terms of size. We have the same principles for all divisions and that is dealing with the customer and making sure the customer is moving.’

And on the company’s long-term aim for the future, Gregg said it aimed to be number one in customer service but not necessarily the biggest in size.

He said: ‘Not one of our strategic goals is to be the biggest in the market, our goal will be to deliver the best service in the market. If that grows us into a size that is bigger than everybody else, then so be it.’

But it is not just about keeping one type of customer happy, as head office personnel will deal with fleet operators while centre staff have day-to-day dealings with the company drivers themselves.

But the ultimate aim is the same – to get them or their vehicles back on the road as quickly as possible.

Gregg said: ‘We have two types of customer in our business – the driver and the business-to-business customers, perhaps a leasing or fleet company. They have different requirements and we have to balance both.’

Centres get multi-million pound upgrade

FLEET drivers around the country will be experiencing ATS Euromaster’s network of revamped centres, with their upgraded reception areas and improved facilities.

So far this year the company has spent about £4 million improving its sites, and parent company Michelin has committed to further investment over the next three years.

It plans to revamp between 50 and 70 centres a year – a move prompted by Nick Gregg’s visits to certain sites shortly after taking on his managing director’s role.

He said: ‘I wasn’t happy with the conditions some of our staff were working in. I wouldn’t be prepared to work in them so I don’t see why they should.

‘Our network will turn itself into the most modern in the business.’

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