27 Jan 2013
Managers of vehicle fleets face a constant struggle to deliver the highest quality customer service while simultaneously trying to control the cost of delivering that service. As a global fleet management company (FMC), ARI prides itself on the ability to bundle unsurpassed technology, service and support to help its clients accomplish that goal.
When company representatives meet with a prospective client, they typically lead with technology, followed by the ability to globally service even the most complex fleets and a commitment to client satisfaction.
From its humble beginnings as a leasing and rental subsidiary of then Florida-based Holman Enterprises, the family-owned company has grown to more than 2,400 employees and maintains offices throughout the US, Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Europe and the UK. Headquartered in Mount Laurel, New Jersey, ARI manages more than 930,000 cars and trucks in North America and Europe and, combined with Global Fleet Services (GFS), an alliance of leading fleet management companies, more than two million fleet vehicles globally.
In December 2011, ARI acquired UK-based Fleet Support Group (FSG), Britain’s largest independent fleet management company with 55,000 vehicles on its books and began busily integrating the two companies’ technologies. FSG UK was subsequently renamed ARI Fleet UK in October 2012.
Keys to growth
ARI’s ability to leverage technology to manage complex global reporting, safety, administration, supply chain, right-sizing, maintenance spend and sustainability projects has resulted in it now ranking as the largest privately held and fastest growing fleet management company in the world. All this comes down to offering the best available technologies.
For example, ARI is the only fleet management company in the world to provide ‘in-memory’ data processing breakthrough technology that is up to 3,600 times faster than any other reporting tool in the fleet industry today. This enables fleet managers to analyse four billion fleet records in just three seconds compared to a taxing seven and a half hours using more conventional techniques.
Another offering, a web-based fleet management system, provides the ability to act on findings instantly to accurately forecast global vehicle needs and costs, permitting rapid response to changing business conditions. A consolidated dashboard lets fleet managers view everything from fuel consumption to current vehicle speed and location, helping them make sense of thousands of captured data points relative to both vehicle and driver performance. The system packages data in local currency and offers all necessary conversions, easily allowing cost benchmarking across countries.
ARI also provides global reporting tools that collect, synthesise and analyse fleet cost data from many sources around the world and custom-fit that data to each client’s business.
Advanced ARI technology tools came to the aid of a global consumer products client with a troublesome fleet spend. The size and scope of this was more than 6,000 vehicles in 60 countries and 262 suppliers making this fleet challenging and complex. With ARI’s global reporting solution, the firm was able to make informed, timely fleet forecasts, better control spend and stay on budget.
A Swiss industrial customer with ‘cost creep’ inching through its 7,000-vehicle fleet relied on ARI’s advanced technology to help stem the flow. ARI improved Risk For Proposal (RFP) process transparency and provided support in RFP and contract set-up, resulting in potential lifecycle savings valued at more than €6m.
Recently acquired ARI Fleet UK also offers a plethora of technology-driven fleet, vehicle and driver safety management programmes, many of which already have been integrated with the new parent company’s platforms.
A major UK tyre manufacturer that had been striving for a zero accident rate for its 350-vehicle fleet recently partnered with ARI to reduce its occupational road risk exposure. A fleet management agreement that includes using the company’s driver safety management programme has already translated into a €21,000 per year fleet cost savings resulting from reductions in accident frequency as well as both employee and vehicle downtime.
For another client, the UK’s leading vehicle glass repair and replacement company, minimising maintenance cost and limiting vehicle downtime were essential. Today, over 900 light commercial vehicles are managed by ARI. Data reveals that pence per mile running costs for these vehicles are virtually identical to the figure for mid-2001, the year when ARI began recording information in its current format.
Taking inflation at 2.5 percent per annum into account, that equates to a total saving last year in maintenance costs of €88,000 on the vehicles currently managed by ARI.
All companies that operate global fleets face special challenges. Simply put, global fleets are complex. The challenges vary from unpredictable global supply chains, critical data integration or different vehicle types, to other problems such as mixed fleets spread over multiple countries and continents, industries with difficult work conditions and the different environmental, regulatory and safety compliance laws and requirements. The ability to handle these types of challenges is amply demonstrated in the following example:
A global telecom company came to ARI for help developing cost-containment initiatives for vehicles spread throughout different parts of the world. Unaware of all internal and external factors running up costs on a 700 vehicle fleet in India and 500 vehicle fleet in Brazil, the major European company asked ARI to find the costs and the causes. Through separate, exhaustive on-site analyses, ARI improved fleet and workflow transparency in both countries, documented costs and exploited the inefficiencies resulting in substantial savings.
For India, the potential lifecycle savings totalled €1.5m, while in Brazil the savings potential was €1.7m. Keeping these mission-critical vehicles on the road, together with the cost-of-ownership savings generated, enabled ARI to exceed performance targets and the expectations of the client.
Commitment to satisfaction
Another key to ARI’s growth has been a commitment to 100 percent customer satisfaction through ‘partners in excellence,’ a quality assurance programme composed of four core elements. The first of these is client relationship monitoring, which quickly identifies and solves any fleet management issues. Performance management is another key element, whereby a list is created for each client from 50 global checkpoints to increase cost savings, efficiency and productivity. Employee rewards are in place to ensure a happy workforce, with aspects including a year-end performance bonus.
The last of the four elements is customer satisfaction incentives, which provides clients a 30-day problem resolution guarantee or invoice credit and also awards credits for suggestions that are implemented. Combined, these strategies motivate employees to deliver high-value solutions that improve each client’s business and bottom line.
The cornerstones for ARI’s growth and success are a combination of industry leading technology, service and support. These attributes have made the company the leader in its industry and continue to keep it at the forefront today.