Error parsing XSLT file: \xslt\FacebookOpenGraph.xslt KWIK-FIT: Expansion of dominance
Cookies on Businesscar

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on the Business Car website. However, if you would like to, you can change your cookies at any time

BusinessCar magazine website email Awards mobile

The start point for the best source of fleet information

KWIK-FIT: Expansion of dominance

Date: 24 January 2011

New Kwik-Fit Fleet boss Peter Lambert tells Paul Barker about how he's going to develop the dominant fast-fit specialist now he's had time to settle into his new chair

Since Peter Lambert replaced Mike Wise as boss of Kwik-Fit Fleet last summer he says he's had plenty of feedback about the company from its customers.

The former UK boss of Chrysler Jeep and Mercedes-Benz commercial vehicles, among various motor industry roles that also take in Ford and Toyota, walked into his new job just weeks before a BBC Watchdog investigation levelled accusations of high bills and low standards at the parent company.

"It wasn't a pleasant experience but a couple of things came out of it," Lambert tells BusinessCar. "I've received a number of phone calls and letters from corporate clients saying they're not interested in what Watchdog is saying. What's critical is the service they receive - they monitor it closely and the service level is excellent, which is very encouraging."

Lambert says the way Kwik-Fit has responded internally is encouraging too. "Within days Kwik-Fit had every single centre manager and technician to one of four regional meetings for a formal briefing, plus we've committed an additional £1m to training, we're doubling the number of mystery shops and we have new quality controls implemented."

But away from the controversy of the Watchdog investigation, of which Kwik-Fit also disputed "several of the factual and technical points", Lambert has spent his first six months in charge looking for areas of potential growth. Kwik-Fit fleet currently works with 80% of the contract hire vehicle parc, so the core business doesn't have mass expansion potential. "There aren't many large lease companies that don't use Kwik-Fit," he says. "We've got the most coverage, mobile offering, good systems and processes and a culture within the business where customer service is important."

Where Lambert feels the opportunities lie is in the non-tyre business of service, maintenance and repair and MoT work, both in retail and fleet. "We've got a fantastic proposition to offer, we've got to show it," he says. "We've got seven-day opening, great network coverage and national pricing. Corporate customers already use us for tyres, brakes and exhausts - why not also use us for MoT and servicing?"

At present, Kwik-Fit Fleet's service and MoT penetration is "relatively low", but increasing month on month. "We're not going to suddenly see an increase in volume; [we're moving] slowly but surely to make sure service levels are maintained," he says, with the goal of increasing levels over a period of years. Kwik-Fit claims to be the largest MoT tester in the UK, thanks to its nationwide coverage, with 800,000 a year, and does 3000 corporate MoTs per month.

The light commercial vehicle market is another target for Lambert. "We can fit tyres on vehicles [with GVW] up to 3.5t and can MoT on up to 3.0t," he says. "The benefit we've got from a service point of view is that because vans are generally located at centres, the way we can work with operators of vehicles is that we can arrange for vehicles to be serviced once they're finished for the day at say 6pm; between 6-8pm we can collect, take them to a centre, service and return."

The opening hours issue is another in Lambert's sights. "I can envisage that if we need to man a centre overnight to service a particular

fleet it's not beyond the realms of possibility," he speculates. "We've got the centres, we've got the personnel, it just needs those willing to work a night. Really focussing on convenience, we could also almost do a 6-2/2-10 shift pattern. If the demand is there we can do it.

"We'll go down that route from a corporate perspective. We've already had discussions with a number of clients, and we will tailor solutions to meet that need," he continues. "We've done it with larger leasing companies where they've had cars on a buyback that needed servicing, we talked to them and offered a bespoke service where we went to their compound and collected, serviced and returned the cars. That worked well and continues to work.

"That's the sort of culture that exists in our business - tell us what you want and as long as we have the resources in the business we can turn our hand to almost anything."

Lambert readily admits that that complacency is the biggest threat when you're in a dominant market position. "But that won't happen on my watch - as soon as you get complacent you start to lose customers," he declares emphatically. "We'll continue to look at customer needs and tailor our product offering to the new initiatives and innovations."

Kwik-Fit has opened another 15 centres this year, and is targeting another 10 in each of the next two years, while Lambert is happy with the level of mobile fitting vans, currently numbering 200: "They are able to meet and fulfil the needs of the customer, but if we need more vans we'll put more on."

Other initiatives including expanding the collect and deliver pilot scheme launched late last year will also develop through 2011. It's clear that now Peter Lambert's feet are firmly established under his new desk, he's looking to expand on Kwik-Fit's already dominant position.