EVERY fleet manager knows that time is money, which is why it is essential that all vehicles are not only suitable for the task at hand, but are also kept on the road 24/7.
Gaps in the supply chain can have a domino effect that spirals out of control, leading to missed deliveries, unmet customer expectations and – ultimately – loss of business.
The always-on nature of business means that client and customer expectations are now greater than ever, and for fleet managers this equates to a constant source of pressure to live up to those expectations.
One of the key considerations is the range of vehicles in the fleet, which needs to not only be capable of carrying the merchandise, products or equipment, but also reaching the destination in a timely fashion, regardless of its location.
As such, having access to a large and widespread network of vehicles and branches is integral when it comes to catering for customer requirements, ensuring a quick turnaround and minimising downtime.
Size and scope
Size definitely matters when it comes to fleet make-up, but this must also be complemented by diversity and flexibility, and this is something covered by Northgate’s UK branch network.
As well as providing access to a large and diverse range of vehicles to meet service requirements, Northgate’s branches are strategically located to maximise customer access to the vans they need.
Furthermore, the majority of the branches contain workshops, which enables Northgate to manage the whole lifetime customer journey and removes the need to outsource the maintenance and repair of vehicles to a third party that may be located a significant distance away.
In business, requirements change all the time, which can range from needing new equipment for a job, to requiring a new line of vehicles to carry out essential tasks.
In many cases, a one-off contract for a project may require a completely different vehicle to what has been used before, and in instances like this it can often be difficult lining up the necessary vehicle to complete the task, particularly if it is arranged at short notice.
In these situations, having access to a suitable vehicle within an appropriate distance can be the difference between landing the contract and meeting customer requirements, or missing out and losing the opportunity to secure repeat business.
Shapes and sizes
Size matters and does not only apply to the number of vehicles in a fleet, however; it applies to the vehicles themselves, which can vary dramatically in size and capability and are each suited to multiple tasks.
Northgate’s vehicle offering includes 1,500 specialist vehicles, ranging from Lutons and welfare vans to utility spec vehicles with beacons, towbars and other bespoke features, in addition to a full spectrum of LCVs.
The positioning of these vehicles is carefully managed so that customer needs can be satisfied at short notice, and we strive to supply within four hours of an order being made for one of our standard vans, providing the branch is located within 25 miles of the customer.
A key consideration for all fleet managers is being able to meet customer needs, and no matter whether this is delivering on time, being able to transport a particular cargo, or having the ability to access hard-to-reach places, having the fleet in place to make this a reality is fundamental.
When jobs are bespoke or ad-hoc, there is often a need for bespoke vehicle builds, which are not only difficult to obtain, but can be subject to long-term agreements that far exceed the length of time that the vehicle is actually needed for.
All Northgate’s specialist builds are strategically located to avoid clients having to wait weeks or even months for contract hire and leasing companies to provide bespoke vehicles, and the result is the ability to meet client expectations fully and at short notice.
A nearby supersite with 100 sub-tonne LCVs is no use if the client requires a utility spec vehicle at short notice, and Northgate recognises this, which is why vehicles of all sizes are located in its geographically diverse branches, to boost the chances of meeting client requirements.
The big picture
Ultimately, all business take the big picture into account when making any decision, and fleet managers will be fully aware of overall expenditure or cost savings when committing to a decision.
For companies that have ever-changing requirements, having access to a diverse range of vehicles in widespread locations can be the difference between being able to carry out a project or not doing so, and on top of this, having transparent costs provides the ability to project long-term financials.
Flexibility forms an integral part of the Northgate service, which not only includes the ability to return and exchange vehicles at any time, but also enables clients to take vehicles to a network of workshops, which carry out service, maintenance and repair (SMR) as standard.
Northgate understands that fleet size is important, but also understands that this can apply to the size of the vehicles themselves, and their geographical diversity, all of which combines to provide an all-inclusive offering that creates peace of mind and enables clients to concentrate on their customers.