In the latest instalment of our fleet management industry executive interview series we spoke to Andy Harrison (pictured), General Manager at Aftercare Response, about current supply chain challenges, the trend toward longer fleet leases and the associated maintenance implications, and the importance of nurturing the next generation of qualified ancillary engineers…
Tell us about your company, products and services.
Aftercare Response is the UK’s leading provider of mobile maintenance and breakdown services. We specialise in on-site commercial vehicle body repairs and ancillary equipment servicing, but also offer a host of other services such as fleet maintenance contracts, OEM warranty work and nationwide emergency roadside assistance. And there’s plenty more!
What have been the biggest challenges the Fleet Services industry has faced over the past 12 months?
The global shortage of parts and components has been well documented and, as in many industries, the impact on productivity has been significant. The lengthy delays in receiving chassis has contributed to increased costs and added huge pressures to all aspects of the supply chain. The shortages and delays experienced have created a considerable amount of additional work for all parties in terms of updating, chasing and processing jobs.
And what have been the biggest opportunities?
We continue to focus on building partnerships with our customers to deliver added value to the relationships we hold. By adopting this approach the volume of work continues to increase and, for us, the biggest opportunity is growing with our clients. We remain focused on the evolving needs of our customers to ensure that our service delivery is shaped around their business.
What are the main trends you expect to see in the market in 2023?
We operate within the commercial vehicle sector, both LCV and HGV. We’re seeing many fleet operators running their vehicles for extended periods. As operating costs continue to rise, many businesses are exercising more caution when it comes to investment and are changing vehicles less regularly. In this context, conversations around fleet maintenance are increasingly important – and that’s where we come in!
What’s the most surprising thing you’ve learnt about the Fleet Services sector?
I have over 45 years’ experience working within the commercial vehicle fleet sector, and I’m amazed at how innovative and transformative it is. It’s incredibly fast-paced and changing constantly; the businesses that survive are those that ensure they are at the forefront of new developments, driving the charge to bring new and better products and services to the market.
What’s the most exciting thing about your job?
I love working within the fleet sector. The pace of change in the industry today offers a vast amount of opportunity for a business like ours. We’re a flexible, highly adaptable team that’s always looking for new and innovative ways to provide the best service within the industry. Each morning, the challenge of the coming day being different to yesterday excites me and I really enjoy sharing my experience with colleagues who are building their careers within the industry.
And what’s the most challenging?
We’ve recognised that historically there has been a shortage of qualified ancillary engineers, which is of course challenging when you’re a business that requires a growing number of engineers to service customers that operate all over the UK. We’ve therefore decided to employ technically experienced engineers and provide training to upskill them across our diverse servicing offering. We’ve seen good success in growing our engineering pool by adopting this approach – and it’s great to open the opportunities that employment at Aftercare Response offers to a wider range of people.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Don’t assume you know everything, always look to learn new things. It’s certainly guidance that I can apply every day in my role!