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LETTERS to Fleet News’ editor Martyn Moore.

Set down standards and dealers will deliver them

SIR – I am responding to the news story regarding the Sewells survey ‘Fleets feel let down by their dealers’ (Fleet NewsNet, March 30).

Like all suppliers, it is important to be clear on the level of service you expect and then use key performance indicators (KPIs) to determine whether those expectations are being met.

We work with more than 1,700 dealers for servicing, maintenance and repair to provide our Lex One-Call service and also 130 dealers who supply the 30-40,000 new vehicles we buy each year and generally they deliver a good service.

To measure this, we introduced a customer service index (CSI) in 2004 for servicing and maintenance to make the levels of service more consistent across the UK and dealers have responded by achieving more than 80% satisfaction, which still isn’t perfect, but it continues to improve. On new vehicle purchase, we have been measuring dealer performance since 2003 and have scored more than 90% on our service level agreements in 2006.

Of course, to continually increase the levels of customer satisfaction is not a one-way street and we adopt a partnership approach where we can.

We are very clear what we expect from our suppliers and in return, if performance standards are met, they get paid in seven days and we direct more work to them.

If dealers do not deliver the goods, initially we try to work with them to improve their service levels, but ultimately if they don’t improve we have to terminate our agreement.

Currently we are working with both franchised dealers and independents and both generally are providing high levels of service.

Our biggest concern at the moment is that it can take between two and three weeks before we can get a managing director’s prestige car into a dealer for service in certain locations, where a volume fleet vehicle such as a Mondeo or Golf can be serviced inside two to three days. Try and tell the head of a major company that he is less important than one of his staff.

The result is that we have adopted more independent dealers to address this problem, which means high profile dealers losing servicing business in some areas. At the same time we have placated customers who are very happy working with any service supplier as long as the work is done correctly and on time.

It’s all too easy to condemn dealers – they have a tough job to do and sometimes work on very low margins, but be clear about what you want from them, communicate well and we have found that they will deliver the goods.

Paul Kerrigan
Head of customer care and supplier development, Lex Vehicle Leasing

Tyre report was too pessimistic

SIR – Your article on the cost of tyre recycling ‘Tyre disposal rule changes inflate costs’ (Fleet NewsNet, March 9) was overly pessimistic.

The UK tyre industry has been successfully addressing issues of end-of-life tyre disposal for some years now and already well over 90% of tyres are being recycled or recovered in one form or another.

Whole tyres were banned from landfill as far back at July 2003, though now even tyre shred will be prohibited from our landfills from July of this year.

The fact is that most collectors of used tyres moved away from landfill long ago in favour of beneficial re-use, and the full introduction of the landfill ban should not prove that oppressive either to fleet users or others.

It has, however, been the case in the past that some fleet operators have been reluctant to pay a price to cover the inevitable costs of beneficial recycling. If this is still the case then things will need to change.

Used tyres may well be classed as a waste but they do, in fact, have very many beneficial uses which our members pursue. These include fuel in cement kilns, carpet underlay, sports and equestrian surfaces and very many others. True, there is a cost to all of this which the consumer is ultimately asked to pay but the overall picture is a very positive one.

Peter Taylor
Secretary general, Tyre Recovery Association

Budget was another missed opportunity for fleet changes

SIR – If this Government wanted to do something about the decline in fleet drivers, the effect of cars on the environment and all the issues surrounding duty of care, then I would expect them to make company cars more attractive by reducing BIK tax or even doing away with it.

But no, what we get is an increase in road tax that is poorly thought out and will not force drivers back into fleet care.

Was the last Budget another missed opportunity or am I just dreaming again?

David Taylor

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