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, via eight area offices at Boston, Derby, Grimsby, Lincoln, Nottingham, Rushden, Rutland and Walsall, and owns and manages more than 19,000 homes, as well as employing around 900 people.
With current fleet manager, Paula Maxwell (Pictured), switching to part-time working, the decision was taken to appoint an independent and professional fleet management specialist to manage the fleet, and Fleet Alliance was appointed on a full time basis.
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, while vehicles also have to be fit for purpose.
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 48month/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.
And 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.
To further professionalize the Longhurst fleet, Fleet Alliance is also introducing its award-winning 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 vitally important for the Group’s grey fleet which comprises around 250 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 onto 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.
Fleet Alliance is also introducing an accident management service for all Longhurst drivers, not as a result of the Group having a poor accident record but because, without a full-time internal fleet manager, it was considered an essential service.
“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,” said Paula Maxwell.
“First impressions of working with Fleet Alliance have been very good and any teething problems have been immediately sorted out, with high levels of service and helpful and friendly staff,” she added.
Martin Brown, managing director at Fleet Alliance, added:”We’d like to welcome Longhurst to the Fleet Alliance family. We pride ourselves on the high levels of customer support and service we provide all our customers, and Longhurst will benefit from our undivided attention at all times.
“At the same time, 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.”