In this issue of FleetPoint we catch up with S & G Response managing director, Andy Whatmough, to glean his current perception of the commercial vehicle repair market and what S & G Response has in store for the next 12 months.
1. Briefly outline your position within S & G Response and your involvement in the commercial vehicle market?
I am the managing director and responsible for the general strategy for the development of the business. I also have ultimate responsibility for our sales and marketing and product development teams.
2. What is your current perception of the commercial vehicle repair market?
We think that there is a real opportunity to build robust and scalable repair solutions leveraging technology and process. Repairs falling outside of the traditional heavy goods vehicle (HGV) repair shop remains a concern for most fleet managers as, in many cases, the accident damage costs ends up hidden within the service and maintenance budgets. The business therefore has to manage the increase in vehicle off-road time and the underutilisation of the fleet.
3. How would you define the difference between the car and commercial accident repair industry?
The private motor industry has become a commoditised sector. By comparison, the HGV repair sector is relatively ungoverned with little transparency on repair process and standards. Reliable and readily available repair methodology remains a big concern.
Today’s fleet manager wants his fleet on the road and mobile in the shortest possible timeframes. There is a trend towards moving current techniques from the private car sector into the commercial arena.
4. In your opinion, what is the biggest change facing the commercial vehicle industry at the present moment?
The cost of electronic software such as telematics in recent times is the single largest change within the commercial sector. Today as much as 35% of the total vehicle build cost is electronic and software related, compared to 15% a decade ago.
5. There now seems to be a prevalence of commercial operators using telematics/video technology, what influence do you think this has had/will have on the commercial market?
The information that is driven from telematics/video technology gives real time understanding of driver behaviour and actual driver trends. The application of this extends beyond accident management to a more comprehensive risk management solution focused on reducing claims frequency. This is something we are working closely with our partners on.
Vehicle allocation is also being influenced by the data pull from modern telematics.
6. What do you see as the main aims over the next 12 months for both S&G Response and the commercial market as a whole?
We have matured organically and ethically by promoting transparent, and mutually beneficial working partnerships, with our unique and tailored commercial repair network and offerings.
The next 12 months will focus heavily on uniting our tailored and bespoke supply chain on a common platform that will further increase transparency and best practise, while driving down vehicle off-road times and overall claims costs – optimising fleet utilisation for all of our clients.
7. Do you consider that there any elements of the car repair market which are now moving into commercial vehicle industry?
Telematics, fast track repairs along with HGV replacement and lease schemes have all made the cross over to the commercial sector in-line with the car industry.
Also, we have found that fleet managers now do not want their vehicles being moved hundreds of miles to be repaired. Local and reliable means of repair is the way forward.