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Epyx: new software platform to shake up fleet servicing

Date: 05 June 2013   |   Author: Jack Carfrae

Software specialist Epyx is about to launch a new platform that could make it easier for fleets to arrange for tyre changes, servicing and repairs at independent garages, while maintaining the manufacturer's warranty rather than defaulting to a franchised dealership.

Speaking to BusinessCar, director for tyre programmes, Mike Wise, said: "Our next big step forward is something we are calling e-procurement, which will allow garages of all kinds to buy items from suppliers through the 1link Service Network for the first time.

"Initially, we are making tyres available. We believe this is a big opportunity for both franchise and independent garages to supply more tyres to both fleets and private customers. Manufacturers are especially keen to add tyres to their national fleet service offering.

"In time, through e-procurement, we expect to add oils and fluids, consumables and, ultimately, parts."

The move would allow independent garages much easier access to original equipment manufacturer parts, as opposed to using components produced by aftermarket, non-OEM parts suppliers, as is usually the default.

It would also remove the need for independent garages to order OEM parts from local dealerships at a greater cost, meaning that fleets could book their vehicles in for servicing and repairs at smaller, local outfits and rely on the use of OEM parts in order to comply with warranties.

Wise said the company had already had conversations with manufacturers and customers about the platform with positive feedback.

He continued: "Parts is an interesting area because of developments such as block exemption and new supply trends such as BMW selling parts through eBay.

"In theory, manufacturers could come onto the platform and offer parts to independent garages using e-procurement, allowing them to carry out a service with OEM parts."

He said the platform could effectively lead to a pricing system whereby customers could have two options for parts: one for OEM and one, cheaper, non-original equipment.

"Independents could offer two-tier pricing, using OEM or aftermarket parts, something that we believe would mostly have appeal to private customers.

"Of course, an independent dealer could already potentially offer an OEM service by buying parts from their local franchise dealer, but the technology would make it easier.

"If this happens, it will be some years away but it will be interesting to see how the market develops."