Fleet News

Award winner’s profile: Interleasing/Masterlease

THINGS are happening fast at Interleasing, winner of the Fleet News Best Contract Hire/Fleet Management Company Award this year.

Change is paying dividends for top-10 leasing company Interleasing as a series of initiatives aim to build on the company’s award-winning service. The firm moved to new offices in Birmingham last year and used the move to introduce a new approach to customer service.

It brought another new addition in the shape of a Fleet News Award, naming it the industry’s Best Contract Hire Company for 2005, an award sponsored by Toyota GB – and there is more change to come.

Garry Hobson, the firm’s managing director, who took over the role last year, is now driving forward a change of name that sees the company become Masterlease from next month. The Masterlease name reflects a single global brand that is part of the leasing arm of General Motors Acceptance Corporation (GMAC), with a network of operations in 13 countries, as well as the UK.

The single brand move is aimed at giving consistency and clarity, which the firm says is good news for existing and new customers looking to expand or consolidate fleet requirements beyond the UK.

Hobson said: ‘Changing the name to Masterlease makes perfect business sense. It is a strong, single brand which will take the business forward throughout GMAC’s expanding European leasing portfolio by providing a single point of reference that provides customers with continuity, clarity of communication and consistency wherever they are located.’

But he insisted the service which won the company a Fleet News Award would remain the same. He added: ‘Interleasing will remain the same in everything but name – it will have the same leadership and will continue to offer the same high level of service to its customers.’

The Fleet News Awards judges, whose deliberations were independently audited by Deloitte, were glowing in their praise of the work carried out by Hobson.

They said: ‘Interleasing provided extensive and positive customer support, and gave proof of an absolute commitment to pushing the boundaries of customer service, with a complete change in the way the company operated to create a truly customer-centric method of service delivery, backed by a move to new headquarters.

‘Its product range, invoice accuracy and internet services also drew praise, along with strong staff retention levels and evidence that Interleasing was delivering on its commitment.’

For Hobson it is vindication of a strategy that changed the way employees worked, with service delivery split into nine teams, each with its own manager.

Each team has a wide range of skills and is authorised to resolve issues and make changes to processes to benefit customers. As a result, each team takes ownership of problems and has full accountability for service delivery.

The firm also appointed a new head of service delivery, Kim Noble, to drive through the approach. Hobson said: ‘My background is very much retail. I am focused on the management of transaction because if you don’t get it right, you don’t survive.

‘When I first walked in I felt in general that it was a good company. But we did not think at the time that we were taking care of enough detail.

‘I felt it was fragmented and customers dealt with three to six different people in the organisation, but that wasn’t co-ordinated. This was the time we started to form our service delivery teams who can deal with all elements of a customers requirements.

‘We wanted people to have more skills, so they could answer a question straight away.

‘We started to measure ourselves against other benchmarks and made sure we were honest with ourselves.’

The company has invested heavily in vast amounts of training for staff to reinforce its commitment and ensure that employees have the skills they need to deal with fleet problems. Hobson added: ‘People knew the whole plot was changing and that is why it worked.

‘The old building made itself into silos but there is much more interaction in this building.

‘Even if you don’t talk to everyone, you see people.

‘Moving a business is an opportunity that only comes around every 20 years and the key thing was we had to drive that change in behaviour.’

The firm is already one of the biggest leasing companies in the country, with about 107,000 funded vehicles, including the fleets of Vauxhall Masterhire and Saab Contract Hire, but it sees great potential for growth.

Key areas include small to medium enterprises, which will be tackled with a specific service, rather than a reworked version of the approach used for large customers.

It is also focusing on ensuring dealers make the most of the potential business opportunities that come their way, as a single sale per week across the dealer network could create the equivalent of a 3,000-vehicle fleet in a year.

Hobson also sees potential in carefully selected sales through intermediaries and through affinity sales.

His firm also continues to focus on its employee car ownership scheme, Alto, which had one of its biggest votes of confidence this year when pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline announced it would be renewing for a further five years the massive 5,000-employee programme it embarked on two years ago.

GlaxoSmithKline, which originally launched the programme with Whitechapel, appointed Interleasing to provide and administer cars through its Alto scheme, as well as providing a full risk management package, insurance administration and driving licence validation. It is part of an agreement that Interleasing claims will save the company time and effort in paperwork. Previously, GlaxoSmithKline had three suppliers, which it claims led to overly-complex administration.

As a result, Interleasing will provide an administrator to manage all aspects of the scheme. Interleasing developed a bespoke package including a ‘self-authorising’ website to complement the day-to-day fully outsourced helpdesk.

The system automatically recognises employees and gives them access to personal information, such as their car allowance. They can produce their own quotes, place an order and arrange a test drive.

Fact file

  • It is rapidly expanding across the globe, offering business to business, multi-marque full service leasing

  • Masterlease is a subsidiary of General Motors Acceptance Corporation (GMAC), the global financing arm of General Motors

  • It employs around 1,200 people and is headquartered in the UK at International House, Birmingham

  • Masterlease services around 16,000 customers worldwide with a fleet of more than 160,000 vehicles

  • Masterlease has over 40 years’ experience in the leasing market

    Masterlease in Europe
    Country Fleet size
    Austria 1,750
    Belgium 500
    France 4,800
    Germany 39,000
    Greece 2,350
    Italy 4,100
    Netherlands 8,000
    Poland 13,250
    Portugal 3,000
    Spain 3,850
    UK 106,896
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