30 October 2019
Author: Rachel Boagey
Rachel Boagey finds out more about the AA's smart approach to managing vehicle life cycles.
The AA is known as the largest breakdown association in the UK, but the company is looking to expand its offering to fleets to more than just breakdown services.
At an event entitled 'AA's smart approach to managing vehicle life cycles,' spokespeople from the organisation explained how it aims to solve many of the challenges facing fleets and explore new ways in which the AA can actually help.
"We are becoming more of a tech and data-led organisation, and are looking at keeping drivers on the road to minimise stress and disruption to fleet operations," explained president Edmund King.
One way in which the AA is fulfilling this promise to fleets is using its Rescue Tracker software, which provides reassurance to drivers and fleet managers through the breakdown process.
"Fuel Assist supports misfuelled vehicles and we also have Road Start to send roadside assistance to a roadside location," Stuart Thomas, director of fleet and SME services at the AA, told us.
Using the AA app, drivers can report a breakdown, track the mechanic to their location using real-time updates, and be found by the mechanic easily using location-based services on the app.
One of the AA's most significant developments in recent years was its acquisition of Prestige Vehicle Services. The AA says the technology-led service, maintenance and repair (SMR) business will give it a "strong and profitable platform" from which to strengthen its SMR offering in the East Midlands.
"We can provide SMR, and allow existing AA members access to an 24-hour SMR network," said Thomas.
The company is also working on how to give fleets the ability to keep their vehicles on the road, "so we also have locksmiths that are able to provide Key Assist capabilities on the roadside," said Thomas.
Resembling one of the AA's distinctive yellow vans on the outside, the Key Assist van is a treasure trove of high (and low) tech solutions to make duplicate keys for resale and regain access for locked-out drivers.
Representatives talked about the opportunities for fleets to take advantage of the 400-strong garage network, as well as the AA's 3,000-strong mobile workforce, which can come out to homes and workplaces.
Thomas told us: "The majority of fleets already have a relationship with the AA on a number of different levels in one way or another, whether direct or through OEM schemes. Prestige has got relationships with fleets, so extends the services we offer and joins up some of the gaps for our customers.
"If you look at recalls for example, the driver isn't necessarily the manager of the vehicle - or the owner for that matter - so they need solutions that allow the support to get the resolution without taking too much time."
King agreed, telling us: "Fleets want downtime minimised, rentals want vehicles available to rent, leasing companies want to be able to fulfil the requirements of their customers.
"What we are doing, to put it simply, is making all of their lives and jobs easier."