Some fleets are starting to take service, maintenance and repair (SMR) management back in-house, reports FleetCheck, in a reversal of a trend towards outsourcing that has been underway for decades.

Peter Golding, managing director at the fleet software specialist, explained that the move was being prompted both by both electrification and the general ageing of the fleet vehicle parc that was currently underway.

He said: “There’s a growing perception among fleets that what they are being charged for SMR by third parties, especially leasing company maintenance packages, is overinflated and outweighs any expertise that third parties bring when it comes to SMR buying.

“To an extent, it’s easy to see why this is happening. Some SMR providers who have limited experience of maintaining electric vehicles, and older cars and vans, have perhaps been pricing well on the side of caution, and some fleets have noticed where this is the case.

“As a result, we have seen a growing interest in using our software to bring SMR back in-house and fleets are relearning skills in this area that have been outsourced to third parties for decades, such as identifying the best suppliers and interrogating workshop bills.”

Peter said that the solutions adopted by fleets managing their own SMR depended very much on factors such as the vehicles they were operating, their geographical footprint, and the complexity of their maintenance needs.

“If you operate a relatively straightforward fleet on a more local basis, then it can simply be an issue of creating relationships with a handful of nearby workshops, especially if you use fleet software to provide a managerial infrastructure.

“Conversely, if you have many different types of cars and vans, and your vehicles are used on a national basis, then there are extensive networks of SMR providers that you can plug into, and we have existing arrangements in place that our users can easily adopt.

“Certainly, some of the fleets involved are making considerable savings compared to the third party costs they were paying previously.”