DEKRA is a global leader in the testing, inspection and certification sector, helping customers to improve their safety, security and sustainability outcomes. With thousands of inspectors visiting various client sites around the globe, it requires a reliable yet sustainable fleet.
DEKRA Automotive UK have a particular focus on supporting automotive clients with optimising sales, and delivering customer satisfaction and training programmes, many of DEKRA’s coaches work independently on client sites for different brands. As a result, DEKRA’s team needed reliable vehicles to visit these sites – and often, these needed to be manufactured by the clients’ brands. Alongside this, however, DEKRA Automotive UK also wanted to reduce its carbon emissions in line with global sustainability targets, and knew its fleet had a crucial role to play.
A lack of time and resource
The key challenge was time. Eli Jeavons, Operations Administrator at DEKRA, looks after the fleet internally, but that responsibility is just one part of her much broader role.
Managing a fleet can be incredibly time-consuming. DEKRA’s vehicles were often sourced by team members through the dealer network, leveraging existing manufacturer relationships to see what was in stock. Consequently, there wasn’t a clear, overarching strategy for vehicle replacements. This also meant that Eli had to manage 40-50 different lease agreements independently.
A streamlined, strategic solution
“We partnered with Volkswagen Financial Services (VWFS) Fleet back in 2018, and its SME offering dramatically improved how we were able to manage and monitor our fleet,” explains Eli.
VWFS Fleet’s SME offering covers a suite of customer solutions to help fleet operators to save time, improve efficiency and reduce overall costs. This includes a bespoke Fleet Management Portal, access to highly-experienced fleet consultants as standard, an eDriverline portal where drivers can take control of their own vehicles’ service, maintenance and repair schedules, as well as a range of EV transition support tools.
“Working with VWFS Fleet made everything so much easier – it was all in one place, with monthly invoices, pooled mileage and all the benefits of managing one account together.”
DEKRA now leases a wide range of vehicles through VWFS Fleet for its coaches working with Volkswagen Group brands. This includes the Audi e-tron, Škoda Enyaq, as well as Volkswagen Golf, ID.5 and ID.3. While DEKRA has relationships with other leasing partners, VWFS Fleet’s Management Portal helps Eli to keep track of everything in one place.
“I use the VWFS Fleet Management Portal on a regular basis to find information on the start and end of contracts, when MOTs might be due, and what the contract mileage is,” says Eli. “It’s a vital tool to help me ensure that all the data we have on our vehicles is accurate. It acts as a dashboard where I can see all the vehicles – over the whole fleet – in one place. It also keeps track of all my communications with the VWFS Fleet team, so I’ve got full visibility into where my queries are up to. It’s massively reduced the administration time and burden of running the fleet.”
Working with VWFS Fleet has also given DEKRA an administrative resource that assists with fleet management, after sales support and reporting. Additionally, it now has access to VWFS Fleet’s Driverline portal, where drivers can book services and other vehicle maintenance, removing the burden of this from the central fleet contact.
Aligning with sustainability goals – a carbon neutral future for DEKRA
As a global business, DEKRA is working to become carbon neutral by 2025; no mean feat with 48,000 employees across six continents. In the UK, DEKRA’s transport has one of the biggest impacts on its carbon emissions – so there were significant potential carbon savings to be made across the fleet. As a result, DEKRA designed a new company car policy, based solely on EV or PHEV choice, to tackle the fleet’s carbon emissions.
By working with VWFS Fleet, DEKRA is now able to select new vehicles more strategically, rather than being guided or limited by stock availability. This is crucial to support DEKRA’s focus on electrification. VWFS Fleet is able to source multi-marque EVs to complement DEKRA’s customer-facing requirements, as well as providing a broader range of choice. This has helped DEKRA to build a longer-term strategic roadmap for its fleet.
“We have consciously moved all of our field teams to EVs. Where that’s not been possible – for example, a couple of drivers’ home situations don’t support home charging, or their work profile makes it more challenging to transition to an EV right now – we have instead moved them to PHEVs,” adds Eli.
“However, when these replacement cycles come to an end, we’ll be looking at EV suitability again – the technology behind EVs is continually developing. For example, EV range and the UK’s charging infrastructure is continually improving. We’re really optimistic that in the next replacement cycle, with the help of VWFS Fleet, we’ll be able to transition every driver to electric.”
A well-rounded solution
“Working in the car industry, there’s a disproportionate amount of emotion and effort bound up in company vehicles. It’s not about making quick decisions, our people care a lot about the vehicles they drive,” continues Eli. “Through VWFS Fleet, our drivers are happy to be in more sustainable vehicles that are of such a high quality.”
“VWFS Fleet is also extremely proactive. Our Account Manager, Sanj Chohan, will always reach out if he has access to tactical stock that meets our fleet goals – and on several occasions, this has helped to solve a problem we hadn’t gotten around to approaching them with yet.”
“The account team is excellent – they’re very responsive whenever we have any questions and always on hand to help when we need. VWFS Fleet continually drives to improve its service, and that really shows in the support we receive. We’re confident and excited to see what the future with VWFS Fleet will hold.”
“VWFS Fleet has transformed our fleet process from a labour-intensive, disjointed system into a one-stop-shop. Our fleet is now managed in one place, which has freed up so much time internally, as well as given us a more strategic, holistic view on our fleet and how it impacts our carbon emissions.”