Avoiding Fleet Downtime
Vehicle down time is the enemy of fleet managers. Mechanical repairs generally have well-established procedures, livery replacement often doesn’t, yet it can keep vehicles off the road for longer than the initial repairs. By partnering with an established supplier, with the scale and expertise to maintain stock for dispatch within hours, fleet managers can get the utilisation they want while projecting the strongest brand image.
Vehicles off the road
Every fleet manager wants high vehicle utilisation, keeping their organisation running and their people on the road. Unplanned vehicle off-road (VOR) time is the enemy of utilisation figures, rendering vehicles and their operators inactive while essential repairs are carried out.
Stewart Signs works with some of the UK’s biggest commercial fleets and understands the immediate and hidden costs of VOR time. Conservative estimates from clients have put the former at £1,000 per day, rising exponentially when specialist vehicles with expensive equipment are considered. The hidden costs are more difficult to quantify, but will be multiples of the initial figure: missed appointments leading to cancelled orders and contracts; SLAs not met and penalties imposed.
Most fleet managers have a well-established network of garages for bodywork and mechanical repair; work that can generally be completed with stock parts available within 24 hours. Unfortunately, many managers and their repairers don’t consider livery until it’s too late and they are left hunting for bespoke parts which can take weeks to source.
Uninterrupted brand consistency
For many clients, their vehicles are the only physical presence their customer sees. Utility companies, housing associations and local authorities all have infrastructure and premises their end-users never view, but their vans are on the road and outside customers’ homes every day of the week. Branding is critical to influence perception of these organisations, and fleet livery is one of the most cost-effective ways to make an impact.
Large organisations have established brand identities and marketing departments which exercise careful control over how logos are used. Vehicles aren’t permitted back into service without full branding, often to exacting guidelines. In the very worst case following vehicle damage, a repairer will source graphics from an unknown company with no experience of the brand. They will have never seen the guidelines specifying colours, fonts and positioning. There will be no chance of consistency with the rest of the vehicle, let alone the fleet.
Different production methods and material specs will weather and age at different rates to the existing livery, compounding the problem over time. The risk of damage to the brand from a potentially low-priced component is huge.
Fully managed livery
Livery isn’t something fleet managers can buy once and then forget about. While the durability of quality graphics is assured, accidents do happen and replacement parts will be needed at short notice. By considering this at the early stages of a vehicle build, spare parts can be produced with new-build graphics, guaranteeing consistency and taking advantage of cost-effective bulk production runs.
Stewart Signs offers several livery management options, with online ordering and service levels starting at 24 hours fulfilment for any component. As pioneers of vehicle graphics since the 1960s, they understand what Fleet Managers want and work throughout the supply chain to deliver it, removing risk and uncertainty to keep vehicles on the road. Stewart Signs already deals with a nationwide network of over 900 accident repairers, and have processes designed to make it easy for everyone. Livery parts are supplied with comprehensive fitting guides, including all necessary measurements and instructions to maintain the highest standards of brand identity.
All decision makers need to understand the whole-life cost of their procurement decisions. While many livery suppliers can supply graphics that make a new vehicle look good, few have the expertise to keep a whole fleet looking great. With decades of experience and brand heritage, Stewart Signs can.