Risk management and servicing, maintenance and repair (SMR) at first seem to be completely different areas of fleet management – but in fact the two tie in together.
Vans which are not correctly maintained will cause a risk not only to their drivers, but also to anyone else who happens to get in their way, whether it be pedestrians or other drivers.
According to the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA), around 50% of panel vans at 3.0-3.5 tonnes gross vehicle weight fail their first MOT test.
One of the problems is that with the advance of technology and quality, many vans require servicing only every 25,000 miles. In that time brake pads can wear out, tyre tread can fall below the legal limit and wiper blades can perish – all of which have the potential to cause accidents.
The second problem is that many firms see skipping routine maintenance as a way of saving cash – even though there is a mass of evidence to prove that this simply isn’t the case.
Whatever the reason, the fact remains that vehicle maintenance to ensure safety should be at the heart of any van fleet strategy.
Downtime usually means losing money – when a vehicle is in the garage it isn’t out on the road.
Here, two manufacturers – Mercedes-Benz and Iveco – stand out above the others because they also sell trucks and therefore dealers offer levels of service that the other van makers can’t match, such as 24/7 servicing.
Mercedes-Benz has just launched a new online service adviser in a bid to make booking in and quotes on repair pricing easier.
It enables van owners to get a no-obligation quote and also complete an online booking at any time of the day.
It is of paramount importance for fleets that their supplier treats the SMR regime of van fleets differently to that of cars, according to Mark Wolfe, director customer service, fleet management and garage services, at BT Fleet.