Ged Raymond has seen many radical changes in the industry during his 34 years as fleet manager at Autoglass, but throughout that time his management principles for operating an efficient, safe and economic fleet remain the same.
Minimising cost and limiting vehicle downtime are critical for Autoglass, the UK’s leading vehicle glass repair and replacement company serving more than 1.1 million motorists each year – 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
When Raymond moved into the fleet manager hot seat in 1978, Autoglass operated a UK fleet of 315 vehicles.
Today the fleet numbers more than 1,800 light commercial vehicles and 200 company cars.
Around 1,600 are driven by Autoglass employees with the remainder used by staff employed at
sister companies Autostore, which offers same-day vehicle repairs, and replacement glass distribution company Laddaw.
In addition to being in charge of the UK fleet, Raymond has a second role as the group fleet manager for Autoglass parent company Belron, which has its global headquarters in Egham, Surrey.
Last year in that role he negotiated a global three-year deal with Ford for near-exclusive supply of vans, with an option to extend to five years.
During the first three years of the contract Belron, which is the world’s leading vehicle glass repair and replacement company and operates in 34 countries, including much of Europe, North America, Russia and China, will acquire 12,000 new vans.
In the UK, Autoglass already operates a 90% solus Ford van fleet covering Transit 260 and 280 models, Transit Connect 230 models and Fiesta vans. Additionally, due to the requirement for some specialist vehicles, a few Mercedes-Benz, Renault and Vauxhall vans are also on the fleet.
Reducing maintenance costs
All vehicles are on contract hire and are replaced after four years/110,000 miles. Pay-on-use maintenance is outsourced to long-time partners Arval and Fleet Support Group (FSG), with the latter responsible for an increasing share of the fleet over an 18-year partnership.
More than 50% of the light commercial vehicle fleet is maintained by FSG and pence per mile data reveals that operating costs are 2.57ppm per van today compared with 2.46ppm in July 2001 when the fleet management specialist began recording information in its current format.
Taking inflation at 2.5% per annum into account, it equates to a total saving last year of £71,316 in maintenance costs on the 900 Autoglass vans currently on FSG’s books.
“FSG figures show that our vehicle maintenance costs are reducing if inflation is taken into account and that is amazing,” says Raymond. “Pence per mile figures are the most accurate mechanism for monitoring individual vehicle costs.”
A future development could see ARI (Automotive Resources International), which acquired FSG late last year, working with Belron outside the UK.
“We are interested to hear what it has to offer,” he admits.
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