IFS provides robust technical evaluation for Guide Dogs
Inchcape Fleet Solutions won a competitive tender to manage the charity’s 520-strong fleet composed of around 340 company cars and 180 vans last year, when a two-year contract with a one-year option to extend was signed.
As part of a comprehensive and wide-ranging fleet policy review Inchcape Fleet Solutions’ experts have been trawling the marketplace to identify vehicles that are suitable for carrying two or three dogs. Predominantly the vehicles used currently are Renault Meganes and Peugeot 308 SWs, as well as a range of mini-MPVs.
After analysing vehicles from every manufacturer, Inchcape Fleet Solutions compiled a shortlist of potential models based on the charity’s own stringent space requirements that also took into account vehicle MPG and carbon dioxide emissions, specification and insurance groupings.
Finally a "beauty parade" of 17 estate cars, MPVs and car-derived vans were made available at a special evaluation day where more than 20 Guide Dogs’ employees assessed the operational efficiency of each vehicle.
Inchcape Fleet Solutions co-ordinated the event along with three other specialist providers which contribute to the operational efficiency of the Guide Dogs fleet including: Telford-base van racking and vehicle conversion specialist Qi Van Systems, which hosted the evaluation day; Welwyn Garden City-based The Window Tinting Company; and Atherstone-based dog cage provider Athag Ltd, trading as Guardsman.
Guide Dogs’ business support manager Gordon Smith said: 'Inchcape Fleet Solutions has been amazing in filtering out a shortlist of potential vehicles from the hundreds available from all manufacturers.
'That is something that has previously been impossible for us to do. We have switched from one model to another as one became obsolete and another came to the market and, while the vehicles have always been fit-for-purpose, our decision-making has not been supported by the robust technical evaluation that we now have available.
'The final choice of vehicle(s) will take account of the evaluation, whole-life costs and manufacturers’ terms and then we will make a final decision. If we decide on a solus fleet supply deal that will be a happy coincidence, but functionality is paramount and we may decide on a two or three-badge deal.'