Fleet News

Fleet Assist passes £2bn vehicle leasing SMR spend

Chris Crow, head of network and technical services, Fleet Assist, with (left to right): Mark Bruce, technical services manager; Stuart Silby: network development manager; and Mark Davies, network development manager.

Vehicle service, maintenance and repair (SMR) expenditure data, reflecting the aftersales spend of the leading leasing companies with Fleet Assist, has passed the £2 billion mark.

The company, which launched in 2003, is today the leading supply chain management specialist to a significant number of contract hire and leasing companies collectively operating almost 900,000 vehicles.

In its 15-year history Fleet Assist has built up a wealth of vehicle SMR data to the extent that today a diverse range of organisations utilise the company’s consultancy service to obtain in-depth information on fleet car and van in-life expenditure to help establish real world whole life operating cost trends.

Jonathan Smith, chief information officer, Fleet Assist, said: “We now have the staff resources and sophisticated IT systems available to drill down and analyse all the data we have captured to provide customers with detailed information on every aspect of each vehicle’s SMR profile during its fleet life.

“Such data is hugely powerful to organisations as they seek to understand how fleet SMR expenditure continues to change and how savings can be made by comparing different manufacturers and models.”

Fleet Assist launched with the aim of providing a network of franchised and non-franchised service outlets to perhaps 100,000 vehicles operated by contract hire and leasing companies.

But today, Fleet Assist provides leading contract hire and leasing companies with a nationwide network of more than 5,000 service outlets which undertake SMR work on vehicles supplied to customers across the UK.

From an initial network of approximately 1,500 franchise and independent garages and five founding contract hire and leasing companies, including Hitachi Capital Vehicle Solutions, JCT600 Vehicle Leasing Solutions, Marshall Leasing and Volkswagen Financial Services, Fleet Assist has expanded year-on-year and now handles far in excess of 1,400 ‘jobs’ per day on behalf of  more than half of the UK’s top 50 contract hire and leasing companies with an annual SMR spend in excess of £175 million per annum.

What’s more, Fleet Assist has added a raft of additional services and is targeting further growth. In addition to network management, services now provided by Fleet Assist include:

  • Service booking enabling customers to direct work to network member garages
  • Vehicle maintenance authorisation
  • Undertaking franchise dealer ‘health checks’ to help them maximise aftersales business opportunities
  • Delivering consultancy services to a range of organisations, including motor manufacturers, seeking to use the company’s fleet SMR data and marketplace knowledge.

Vincent St Claire, managing director of Fleet Assist, said: “Looking back when the business was launched it was not envisaged that it would expand and evolve in terms of the range of services provided beyond delivering a network of service outlets to a few contract hire and leasing companies.”

Now employing almost 50 people, St Claire continued: “Service booking, maintenance authorisation and other products were not on our radar. However, we had more and more interest from both garages wanting to join the network and win fleet vehicle SMR work and an ever-growing number of leasing companies wanting us to provide them with a managed network of service outlets assessed against established quality and service standards and price.

“The resulting expansion has led to the company breaking through the £2bn mark in terms of recorded leasing company SMR spend since Fleet Assist’s launch.”

Peter Cakebread, managing director of Marshall Leasing, said: “We were delighted to support Fleet Assist at its inception, as we knew and appreciated what the company was looking to achieve. In particular, the concept of a buying consortium to leverage purchasing power was attractive, as it enabled us to play on a level field with our larger competitors.

“Over the years Fleet Assist has proven itself to be reliable in managing a network of service providers so as to provide a consistently high level of service to our clients. This is closely aligned with our own service offering.

Looking forward, St Claire said: “We would like to continue to grow the network of service outlets; we are seeing significant interest from more contract hire companies as well as rental companies in helping them to manage vehicle SMR, the latter taking Fleet Assist into a different sector of the fleet market; and, with an ever-increasing focus on cost management there is growing interest from customers in utilising our vehicle maintenance authorisation service.”

Developments have also included the launch of Fleet Assist’s industry-leading Atlas operating platform that will underpin the company’s future growth and drive customer efficiencies particularly with the emergence of the ‘connected car’.

Photo caption: Chris Crow, head of network and technical services, Fleet Assist, with (left to right): Mark Bruce, technical services manager; Stuart Silby: network development manager; and Mark Davies, network development manager.  

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