With more than 130 locations, and 40,000-plus cars and vans in total, Europcar Mobility Group UK is part of the global Europcar organisation, which has 70 years of experience in car rental and 3,500 outlets worldwide.
Benjamin Spokes, Fleet Maintenance and Administration Manager at Europcar, said: “The Europcar preference is for franchise dealers to handle SMR and previously, we worked with each manufacturer network separately on an account- by-account, dealer-by-dealer basis.
“This created three main issues. Firstly, we believed the labour rates and parts discounts we were receiving from the garages were not competitive, and could be improved.
“Secondly, payment processes to multiple accounts weren’t easy or efficient, with different invoices for each. This could easily become an administrative mountain.
“Thirdly, the process of getting vehicles booked into dealers and work subsequently approved was very time consuming. This included e-mailing garages to get job prices, issuing authorisations, getting updates, sending purchase orders, and more.
“There was just a very strong sense that, in 2021, there was a better way of doing things and, after looking at what was available in the market, it seemed clear to us that Allstar ServicePoint would provide the comprehensive yet simple solution we needed.”
Current car and van market conditions are creating challenges for Europcar. Semiconductor shortages affecting vehicle production mean it is difficult to obtain new vehicles; customers are also demanding longer rentals for the same reason.
Benjamin explained: “This situation has been having a definite impact on our SMR requirements. Also, ensuring availability and minimising downtime of cars and vans has become essential because there is ongoing, high demand for rentals.
“Specifically, the increased focus on delivering for the growing number of customers who retain vehicles for several months or even longer has meant that we need to enhance our processes for managing SMR and keep vehicle off-road (VOR) time to a minimum.
“Allstar ServicePoint has very much helped us achieve these objectives. Its adoption has streamlined our SMR processes onto a single platform to bring significant operational efficiencies, from reduced administration to in-depth reporting, and from access to a comprehensive network with manufacturer franchises to improved customer service.”
Benjamin said: “There has been a whole series of gains through using Allstar ServicePoint. Firstly, the labour rates available at main dealers through the platform are good, and we are saving around 12% on our SMR spend as a result."
“Downtime of vehicles has reduced. Especially, VOR time decreased by 1.1%, which translates to around 400 additional vehicles being available for rent at any one time.
“It’s informative to look at exactly why VOR has fallen. Our specialist team can book in the vehicles via the online booking portal, and then see better data and details about each job, its current status and when it will be completed so the vehicle can be collected faster.
“The real-time online information means that maintenance controllers at Europcar are also able to review jobsheets from garages on the portal – and can authorise, decline and request further information from the garage as appropriate and, for example, review images.
“All of our payments are consolidated into a single invoice and, in the future, we anticipate even greater efficiency benefits as our Flex solutions, designed for longer-term rental, gain market share.”
Benjamin Spokes, Fleet Maintenance and Administration Manager at Europcar.