Zenith builds towards pay-as-you-go SMR system
18 June 2013
Leasing company Zenith is trialling a scheme that could lead to pay-as-you-go maintenance based on usage.
The scheme involves monitoring its vehicles and alerting its maintenance team of any issues via a direct telemetry feed. The company intends to extend the scheme to a customer trial before rolling it out more widely.
"We would like to get in a position to offer a proactive maintenance approach, to get to a pay-as-you-go maintenance product based on usage," Zenith commercial director Ian Hughes told BusinessCar.
"We'd anticipate that if you drive within manufacturers' tolerances and use allotted tyres, clutch, brake wear etc we believe we will be able to give you a straight running cost for the maintenance budget.
"Then if you use more we could change the price to hard use or if you under-use we could consider a budget based on usage."
Hughes said, as is the case with vehicle mileage agreements, Zenith could offer firms the opportunity to reassess and alter the rates mid-agreement.
"That way, you pay for it during the contract rather waiting for a big bill at the end, which can cause tension," he explained, describing it as a "fairer model" because maintenance budgets are set on a risk basis across a basket, so companies aren't currently paying for their own individual usage, but that of an average sample.
The telemetry monitoring would also allow for more proactive maintenance, with Hughes using the example of a failed brake light.
The system would pick up on that, and he said Zenith could order the part and book the car into a dealer before contacting the driver to confirm if the time is acceptable, or re-booking to suit them.
The first batch of data is currently coming in from 30 of Zenith's own company cars, and within six months the firm hopes to operate a live trial with one of its customers.
Zenith is keen to point out it's concentrating on telemetry rather than telematics.
"Lots of people get worried about telematics, but we're looking at telemetry - what the vehicle is telling us," said Hughes.
"It's a diagnostic exercise. We're not interested in monitoring the driver and what they are doing. It's about management of maintenance and downtime. We're pretty excited about it."
Another area Zenith is examining is that of risk management, building a new tool to work within its Pulse platform.
It will amalgamate risk and document checks along with insight from fines and maintenance data to create an overall risk profile for a driver.
"For example, is a driver of greater risk if they go through front tyres, and do they go right up to the legal limit before changing, rather than just looking at speeding fines," questioned Hughes.
"And how do they respond to vehicle service reminders. We've got some insight that says they may be of a riskier disposition if they don't respond quickly to the need to get a car serviced."