Fleet managers insisting upon service level agreements (SLAs) to accompany the standard warranty offered by vehicle branding suppliers will potentially reduce costs through efficiency increases and provide a best-in-class solution.
Yet, according to Barnaby Smith, managing director of fast-expanding fleet graphics and branding specialist Mediafleet, most suppliers only offer a five-year warranty and not an SLA.
Although the premise of vehicle graphics provisioning is a simple one, the processes involved demand an agreed schedule and pricing model set against the backdrop of all party responsibilities. That removes any ambiguity that would exist without an SLA.
For example, while a vehicle graphics warranty will typically cover the ‘failure of graphics’ and their free of charge replacement, it will not cover, the time frame in which those graphics should be renewed. But, with an SLA in place, vehicle off-road time is predictable and guaranteed leading to lower operating costs.
Similarly, a warranty will not cover the process of replacement or repair of vehicle graphics in the event of a road crash or third party damage.
That is where an SLA, which details acceptable turnaround times and costs, comes in and, according to Smith, should typically include:
- The scope of the agreement – which services are covered
- The goal of the agreement – a description of the benefits of the agreement
- Responsibilities of service provider and customer
- Services covered
- Timings for all service/product delivery
- Costs for service/product delivery
- Issues covered
- Issue resolution time
- Procedures for service delivery
- Dispute resolution policy.
SLAs were born out of the telecoms/IT industry in the 1980s and have become prevalent across numerous areas of business and commerce, including most sectors of the fleet industry, but not among the majority of vehicle branding providers.
But Mediafleet says it is winning significant new business with a raft of companies because of its twin track approach of being happy to provide fleet customers with both a vehicle in fleet life-time warranty and market leading ‘service levels’.
Smith said: “Fleet and procurement managers have a responsibility to ensure that the suppliers they are partnering with deliver best possible service levels. By asking for (or proposing) and agreeing an SLA with their supplier, there should be no nasty surprises during the complete supply process and the in-life care of the vehicle.
“We believe that a clear understanding of the relationship obligations by all parties leads to a more secure and profitable relationship for everyone – and that can only really be achieved by the implementation of an SLA.
“SLAs should be viewed as a rule book by which the relationship between vehicle graphics supplier and customers is governed and thus removing any ambiguity. Mediafleet is embarking on a process of offering an SLA retrospectively to all customers’ new work and all new customers.”
Oxfordshire-based Mediafleet counts among its expanding list of customers: contract hire and leasing companies Alphabet, Lex Autolease and Zenith, energy company SSE, vehicle rental group Europcar, OCS, UPS, Wessex Water and Bovis Homes.