Fleet News

The Fleet News Interview: Tony Williams


All in One has made a rapid entry into the FN50, but its managing director has set his sights higher.

 

Jon Walden would probably need a pair of binoculars. Even then, the boss of the UK’s number one contract hire company might wonder if he was looking through the wrong end of his glasses from the top of the Lex tower.

Far, far down below, near the bottom of the FN50 chart, is All in One Leasing.

Who, you might ask?

It’s a name that made quite an entrance.

Now at 47 in the FN50, following an impressive debut at 50 in the hall of fame last year, All in One only commenced trading at the beginning of 2006.

Of course, the company has been assisted up the ladder by the volume of contract hire company mergers in the leasing industry.

As other names have disappeared from the leasing landscape, so smaller players have been sucked up the league table.

But to appear, blinking into the glare of the FN50 spotlight in its first year, provided some indication of the company’s progress.

It now has some 300 customers and a fleet of 1,500 vehicles.

“Reaching the FN50 came as a pleasant surprise,” says Tony Williams, All in One managing director.

“Don’t get me wrong. We planned to be there, but not necessarily in our first nine months. It’s a significant milestone.”

Start-ups need to be ambitious. They also need financial stability.

However, All in One has the backing of the UK Car Group, the largest independent used car retailer in Britain.

A family-run business since 1951, the UK Car Group trades as Carcraft, selling 50,000 used vehicles a year.

And this, reckons Tony, is a key to All in One’s offering to fleet managers. “We have a cradle to grave approach,” he says.

“We buy new, operate and maintain the vehicles in-life, and finally remarket them through our own channels. It means we cut out the disposal costs, which gives us a considerable advantage.”

It’s certainly a very different proposition.

Most of the large leasing companies are gravitating towards auction houses to dispose of their cars and have ditched owned used car outlets in favour of the services offered by BCA and Manheim.

So should – and can – fleet managers trust such a minnow of the FN50 to deliver in the face of such giants?

“I think the fact that our holding company is family-owned and has been in the automotive business for 55 years suggests a continuity of intent sadly lacking in some competitors,” comes the robust response.

“Because we own our used car outlets we can be bold on residual values.

"Our leasing rate benchmarks against Insight data (www.derwentdata.com) show we’re on the right side of value for any customer.

“We have a suite of products for the small and medium enterprise market as well as the mid-sector 100 to 500-vehicle market that includes driver licence checking, online reporting and accident management.

We also have the flexibility to rewrite contracts to reflect changed mileage parameters and national agreements on labour rates.”

The company has six regional sales managers for bigger fleets; a direct telesales team for small businesses after-value propositions; and a network of brokers.

The company also has a dedicated van website, Van Leasing Direct.

In particular, it’s the sales team that Tony sees as All in One’s key differentiator.

“A sales manager will ‘own’ the relationship with a customer,” explains Tony.

“Our remuneration policy allows the manager to invest in that relationship. It’s this superior customer service that larger contract hire companies often struggle with.

“It’s a difficult market and it’s not easy competing against the larger brands.

"So the proposition has to be compelling just to get through the door.

"But once there, customers realise our guys know what they’re talking about.

"We’re a family-owned business – those values permeate throughout the entire company.”

Williams says the company is currently writing between 150 and 200 contracts a month.

But All in One won’t stop there, according to Williams, who plans to put the company in the FN50 top 30 with a fleet of at least 30,000.

“We want to be a meaningful supplier in the contract and lease management industry,” he says.

It seems Jon Walden won’t require those binoculars for too much longer.

If all goes to plan, All in One will loom rather larger in the FN50.

A brief history

With a head office base in Rochdale, Lancashire, All in One Leasing was launched in early 2006 as the contract hire and vehicle funding subsidiary of UK Car Group.

The holding company has a strong automotive background.

Trading as Carcraft, which was established in 1951, it is now the UK’s leading group of independent used car hypermarkets, selling 50,000 used cars a year.

Williams’s Way

Tony began working in 1984 at Chartered Trust’s leasing division ACL before moving to Masterhire, Vauxhall’s leasing division, in 1988.

There, Tony’s first task was to put into place the foundations of the company which saw it grow into the FN50’s top 10.

With the integration of Masterhire and Interleasing (now Masterlease) Tony headed off to the European operation director’s post at Dent Wizard (2002).

He joined LeasePlan in 2004, before helping set up All in One Leasing at the end of 2005.

Customer counterpoint

Car Crash Line is a vehicle hire company that specialises in accident management claims, providing both insurance and trade replacement vehicles.

The company has 6,000 vehicles on its fleet which are all financed by non-risk methods – either contract hire or manufacturer buy-back.

Car Crash Line has 10% of its fleet with All in One Leasing.

Car Crash Line fleet director Adrian Hayter said: “We have a very specialist funding requirement, because we only want to hold our vehicles for 12 months.

"The traditional leasing companies are only interested in two to four-year leases. All in One was able to take a very proactive view on this sort of funding because it has the backing of Carcraft.

“The used car supermarkets provide a ready market for these cars when they come back at the end of the lease period.”

All In Ones’ top 10 cars

1. Vauxhall Corsa
2. Volkswagen Golf
3. Volkswagen Touran
4. Volvo S40
5. Ford Mondeo
6. Volkswagen Passat
7. BMW 3-Series
8. SEAT Leon
9. Renault Clio
10. Vauxhall Astra

 

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