Fleet management and software provider TR Fleet has been acquired, in part, by European fines management and automotive IT specialist Safo Group.
The Italian business has bought a 75% stake in TR Fleet, which began trading in 2010 and whose client include Travelodge, Motiva and Rabobank. Key to the merger is TR Fleet’s DriveSecure software package, which will be developed and sold across Europe.
Julie Summerell, managing director of TR Fleet, said: “When I set up TR Fleet I wondered if there was an existing data hub on the market but I couldn’t find anything that was based on the driver rather than the vehicle.”
She developed DriveSecure which allows fleet managers to manage employees who drive on business. It integrates with data and services from a number of specialist providers to help businesses comply with legislation and also assists in the management of grey fleets.
“As the business has grown and developed I needed a partner that had a similar vision and commitment to driver safety and would help me develop DriveSecure into the hub I always thought it could be,” said Summerell.
Thanks to the merger, DriveSecure will now be developed using Safo’s expertise in the automotive IT sector and then marketed in Europe for the first time.
Safo Group CEO Elpidio Sacchi said that TR Fleet will have its own autonomy and identity.
“It will be presented as TR Fleet in the other countries where we already have a presence. Our marketing will start to promote both the Safo and TR Fleet offer,” he said.
Summerell continued: “A lot of people are talking mobility but a lot don’t understand what it means. If you ask leading players in leasing they haven’t got the expertise in house to deliver the solution. One thing that I saw early on in Safo is they were already there in terms of what platforms they were developing in Europe so I’m very excited about developing those into a UK offering through the TR Fleet DriveSecure platform.”
Safo is focused on developing mobile and IT solutions for mobility and already provides services to a number of UK leasing companies, including LeasePlan, Arval and Alphabet. But the majority of its business is conducted in Italy, France and Romania.
“We already process more than 50,000 fines per year in the UK and we work with some of the biggest parking agents for the electronic exchange of fines,” said Sacchi.
“I think there is a lot that can be done on developing the way in which the leasing and rental industry interacts with the authorities.”
In Europe, the company processes more that 2.5 million fines each year, 1.2 million completely electronically.
Fines management has always been a key piece of the puzzle that Summerell wanted in DriveSecure’s development and fines management will be included in the next version of the software. “One of the biggest frustrations in the past 30 years has been managing fines because differing authorities have different rules,” she said.
“Safo has been quietly developing solutions and supporting companies across Europe in this realm and I’m quite excited about how it can support the UK fleet manager.”
Sacchi added: “We have a fully operating solution that has been adopted by more than 400 authorities.
“I think there is a lot that can be done for developing the way in which the leasing and rental industry interacts with the authorities.
“Most companies use leasing or rental products but have so many issues with fines, maintenance and insurance. They need a professional product.”
By the end of this year Sacchi expects Safo Group, along with TR Fleet, will be operating in Spain and Portugal. In 2019 he said they will also expand into Germany.
Summerell concluded: “We’ve both got some very ambitious growth plans for the UK and I’m assured by Sacchi that they will be mirrored in Europe.”