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Case study from Alphabet

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About Lyreco

With a group turnover of more than €2 billion a year and a mission of “simplifying life at work”, Lyreco is one of the top worldwide distributors of workplace solutions. Lyreco stocks more than 10,000 products including stationery, personal protective equipment, cleaning and hygiene solutions, catering products, furniture, shredding and archive services, office products; personalised products and packaging supplies, all available for next day delivery when ordered by 5.30pm.

Lyreco UK, moved to a sole supply arrangement with Alphabet for its fleet of 450 contract hire cars in 2014. Two years later, it awarded responsibility for accident management to Alphabet.

These decisions have led to quantifiable cost-savings for Lyreco, as well as valuable reductions in fleet administration time. For example, by ensuring repairers provide Lyreco’s drivers with courtesy cars, Alphabet saved the company over 400 days’ of rental charges in 2016: a cost saving of over £10,000

Sole supply

Driven mainly by field-based salespeople, Lyreco’s car fleet is predominantly Renault, VW and Audi-badged, with cars leased on four-year, maintenance-inclusive contracts. Prior to 2014, Cadwallader sourced new vehicles from three leasing companies including ING, which merged with Alphabet in 2011.

“In that sense, we fell into using Alphabet. But it wasn’t long before we made the conscious decision to continue with them,” he said. “We were very happy with the overall service. They are multi-marque, so we could continue with our existing manufacturer relationships. And of course, they were competitive on price.”

Of the decision to switch from a multiple supply arrangement to a solus one, he said that Lyreco carefully weighed up the pros and cons before changing.

“When you go to sole supply, there’s a pricing risk because you don’t have three or more companies quoting on each car. But a sole supply arrangement with a company like Alphabet, who present their figures regularly to you and show that they are fair, allows you to continue with confidence that you are getting the right rates.”

Cadwallader regularly benchmarks Lyreco’s lease pricing using an external consultancy. He says the feedback confirms the decision to go to sole supply, especially when saved time is included in the equation. Although it is not easy to precisely quantify the time benefits from eliminating the duplication associated with multiple supply, he says the difference is very noticeable. He cites excess mileage pooling as an example. “Now we only have to look at one mileage report, whereas before it was three. And Alphabet are very good at coming forward and helping us to manage that aspect of leases.”

Accident Management

Another area where Alphabet has delivered significant time savings for Lyreco, as well as reducing operating costs, is accident management.

“We don’t have to be involved with it on a daily basis, which I think many fleet managers will agree isn’t always the case with accident management services.”

David Cadwallader, UK Fleet Manager, Lyreco

Alphabet aims to minimise costs for its customers across the full spectrum of incident charges, from bodyshop bills, to replacement vehicle costs, to recovery of uninsured losses. For example, as well as being closely supervised by Alphabet to ensure quality and minimise downtime, every centre on the company’s repair network is expected to provide a courtesy car.

“Moving to Alphabet Accident Management was beneficial for us,” says Cadwallader. “The service runs in the background without much involvement from ourselves. We don’t have to be involved with it on a daily basis, which I think many fleet managers will agree isn’t always the case with accident management services.”


“Highly proactive and responsive” says Cadwallader of Alphabet, as the supplier relationship enters its seventh year in 2017.

“They have a great web-based reporting service where we can download reports and will also send management reports to my inbox at my request. They are very competitive and offer a very good service. That sounds like a very sweeping statement, but that’s basically what it comes down to.”

David Cadwallader, UK Fleet Manager, Lyreco

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