Technology is increasingly enabling organisations to reduce the cost of car hire by helping them control closely which vehicle is rented when, and for how long.
One such example is the introduction of Automated Rental Management System (ARMS), an online reservation system from Enterprise Rent-A-Car, which enabled Halfords Autocentres to halve its car hire costs by introducing strict management controls for the use of rental vehicles across the business.
ARMS is a web-based application that enables everyone involved in a repair to manage the entire rental cycle electronically, sending daily electronic updates on the status of the repair.
As all information is captured on one platform, ARMS enables insurers to better analyse data and understand the rental process on a detailed level.
Halfords Autocentres primarily uses car hire for replacement vehicles when either fleet cars or private vehicles are being repaired or serviced in one of the Autocentres.
About one in 10 rentals are booked for collection and delivery of customer vehicles.
In addition, about a third of rentals are used by employees as a replacement for the ‘grey fleet’, where employees drive their own cars for business trips.
The company adopted the Enterprise ARMS platform at a time when use of car hire was growing but there were few systems in place to control authorisations and monitor usage.
A unique car reference enables each rental to be a matched to a vehicle repair form generated by each of the Autocentres.
Regional order numbers create an additional layer of control, allowing invoices to be tracked back to the original requirements of the repair.
Weekly reports and real-time online updates mean that Halfords regional managers are always in touch with how their car hire needs are changing.
Sam Grebby, procurement officer at Halfords Autocentres, said: “Enterprise was the only car hire company to show us a technology platform able to link up all the pieces in the repair process and give us complete control of each rental.
“It provides a full picture of why we’re renting vehicles, from the reasons behind the selection of a particular model to the rationale for the number of days the vehicle is rented for.
“We’re opening new Autocentres all the time, which means that demand for car hire is also increasing.
“ARMS has given us the proof that you really can only manage what you measure, and when you do the cost savings can be significant.”
Adrian Bewley, head of business rental at Enterprise Rent-A-Car, said: “Providing a replacement vehicle to drivers having their own car repaired is an increasingly vital aspect of body shop service.
“Both business drivers and those who need a car for personal use are likely to require access to a vehicle at all times.
“Technology increasingly is enabling us to help our customers better manage their rental needs and the Halfords Autocentres example is a great illustration of how ARMS helped them provide an effective rental service whilst controlling cost rigorously.”