Fleet News

Longhurst Group appoints Fleet Alliance to manage fleet

Paula Maxwell, Longhurst

Midlands-based social housing provider Longhurst Group has appointed Fleet Alliance to manage its fleet of 165 company cars and around 250 grey fleet vehicles.

Longhurst operates throughout the Midlands and east of England, and owns and manages more than 19,000 homes. It employs around 900 people.

With current fleet manager Paula Maxwell switching to part-time working, the decision was taken to appoint Fleet Alliance to manage the fleet.

Longhurst has a user choice fleet structured across seven different job grades, with a free choice of vehicles for all drivers up to a carbon ceiling of 125g/km of CO2.

As a result, most of the major manufacturers’ brands are represented on the fleet, with a majority being German-badged, including BMW, Volkswagen and Audi.

There is also a financial incentive for drivers to choose greener models of 110g/km rather than the benchmark figure of 125g/km.

The company cars are currently contract hired over 48-month/60,000-mile replacement cycles, and Fleet Alliance will now apply competitive tendering via a panel of funders to select the most attractively priced new models, as well as being responsible for managing the legacy fleet. Any savings achieved this way will be returned to the company.

Meanwhile, a system of whole-life costs will be introduced to help drivers identify the most cost-effective vehicles over their fleet life, rather than relying on monthly lease rentals.

Fleet Alliance has also implemented its cloud-based fleet management and reporting suite, e-Fleet, to provide ‘live’ records for all vehicles on the fleet, increasing control but reducing fleet administration costs and allowing more effective management of the fleet regardless of the number of funders.

Longhurst drivers will soon be able to see all models available for their particular job grade via a dedicated portal, which will allow them to request quotations for their next new vehicle and order and track new vehicles online.

Fleet Alliance is also introducing its e-Fleet Mobile app for all company drivers with smartphones. The web-based app allows company drivers to access key support services, update business and private mileage and electronically complete vehicle inspection reports.

This is important for the group’s grey fleet vehicles, which are owned by various types of employee who do not qualify for a company car and for which they receive mileage reimbursement.

All vehicles are now entered on to the e-Fleet database and drivers have to provide regular vehicle conditions reports and mileage data. This provides a number of key fleet management and compliance benefits, including meeting the Longhurst Group’s duty of care obligations towards its employees.

Maxwell said: “As I will be taking a step back from my day-to-day operations, we wanted a full-time and independent fleet management supplier to look after the whole fleet, as well as providing us with an effective accident management service."

Martin Brown, managing director at Fleet Alliance, added: "We’d like to welcome Longhurst to the Fleet Alliance family. We will be aiming to improve fleet efficiency across the whole fleet, as well as ensuring the company meets its duty of care obligations with regard to its grey fleet.”

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