Timber and builders’ merchants, Ridgeons, has outsourced the management of its car and light commercial vehicle fleet to CLM to improve buying and disposal efficiencies and reduce internal administration and operating costs.
The Cambridge-based, family-owned business, which was established in 1911 and operates from 25 locations across the East of England, runs a fleet of around 114 cars and 19 3.5 tonne panel vans.
It also has a commercial fleet of some 100 heavy goods vehicles and 25 trailers, plus a further 150 forklift trucks.
On the car fleet, the company primarily operates Volkswagen Group branded models from three marques, Audi, Volkswagen and Skoda, which are used by a mix of sales representatives and area, trading and general managers, plus a small number of Mercedes C-Class and E-Class models.
Prior to appointing CLM, the company managed all aspects of the fleet operation in-house with several fleet administrators, and outright purchased all its vehicles, as well as handling their service, maintenance and repair and disposal.
However, with the appointment of the Newport Pagnell-based fleet management specialist, the company has been able to considerably reduce its fleet administration burden, freeing up time internally to concentrate on other aspects of the business.
CLM is now responsible for managing all in-life aspects of the fleet, including vehicle sourcing, invoice and supplier management, service, maintenance and repair and disposal, as well as providing accident management services across the whole car and LCV fleet.
Alistair Brace, general manager support services at Ridgeons, said his company wanted to reduce fleet operating costs, improve processes and increase efficiency across its fleet.
“Some 15 months ago we outsourced the day-to-day management of our commercial fleet to a specialist supplier and, as that had worked successfully, we felt we should also outsource the car and LCV fleet to a specialist, and selected CLM,” he said.
“The changes they have made in a short space of time have been significant and have freed up time for us internally to focus on other issues.
"CLM now uses its buying power to source our vehicles, and handles all fleet administration so that, rather than seeing hundreds of invoices every months, we now see just one or two consolidated invoices.
“They also handle all our service, maintenance and repair work and use a network of independent garages where possible to help reduce our SMR costs.”
CLM typically utilises a network of franchised and independent garages and, through careful invoice management and cost control, is usually able to reduce SMR costs for its clients by 8-10%.
Brace continued: “CLM have also brought their expertise to bear on our vehicle disposals and we are seeing some uplift in the prices achieved through the used car trading platform that they use.
“And they have also taken control of our accident management, which we used to handle ourselves. Now they are the first point of call for our drivers when they have an accident, and handle all aspects of the incident, including liaison with the insurers, repair garages and hire car suppliers, to get our drivers back on the road as quickly as possible.
“We also have our own dedicated customer relationship manager, Emma Walsh, who has been brilliant in handling all problems or queries that we may have.”