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CASE STUDY > Clarke Energy’s agile 24-hour support fleet

As a business providing 24-hour support in the engineering, installation and maintenance of combined heat and power engines, having an agile fleet is critical.

For Liverpool-based Clarke Energy, that means having its fleet of 172 specialist commercial vehicles ready at a moment’s notice should a problem occur in one of the gas engines it is maintaining.

Following some group changes which increased administration and driver support requirements 10-fold, Maria Bate, the firm’s deputy purchasing manager, needed a specialist partner to control costs, increase availability and, importantly, reduce the administration burden.

After a chance encounter at an event where Maria was nominated for a fleet manager of the year award, Clarke Energy signed with ARI Fleet to look after its accident management and maintenance requirement.

Like a lot of businesses in the UK, fleet forms ‘part’ of people’s role and for Maria it was no different: “I don’t just look after the fleet; I am responsible for training and supporting our buyers and assisting with supplier management and management of the purchasing operation within Clarke Energy.

“Before it was two people trying to look after more than 200 vehicles; now we have got 150 ARI staff taking the load. As a result, I am getting back several hours a day, which equates to around one and half weeks per month to concentrate on the core aspects of my role.”

Talking of the decision, Maria added: “We needed a partner that understood how to support our drivers in an accident situation, could control costs across our fleet and, importantly, aggregate our fleet data to enable us to make changes to our fleet that matter – after speaking to ARI, it was clear their transparency and technology would deliver this for us and was the correct fit for us.

“ARI also have the knowledge to know what is exactly happening in the repair chain and highlight additional costs; for example, is the damage due to the accident or is it wear and tear? Getting this transparency of costs is key for us, and a real centre point of our partnership.”

Gaining actual data on the fleet is also helping in other areas of the Clarke Energy fleet. Maria added: “The KPIs we are getting now from ARI insights and reports generated are helping us to manage our vehicle downtime and MoT process. Prior to ARI this was done in Excel and was not efficient at all.”

ARI Fleet’s Rory Mackinnon added: “It was clear to see from our first meeting with Maria that she had the expertise to do the job but didn’t have the time to do it at the level she would want.

“We have been supporting Clarke Energy since March and by utilising our expertise, Maria is now able to take our data and create information, allowing her business to understand the true cost of the fleet operation and take action.

“Providing the agility to flex their fleet as needed has been of real value to Clarke Energy and we are all looking forward to continuing our partnership and supporting them further.”

Clarke Energy > fleet fact file
204 x vehicle fleet
32 x company cars
172 x Toyota Proace vans and Hilux pick-ups (including 9 Mercedes-Benz Vitos)
59 x grey fleet vehicles

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for nearly 20 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day.