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Q&A: Paul Baker, FleetCor’s vice president, customer management

By / 3 years ago / Interview / 1 Comment

Allstar ServicePoint aims to streamline fleets’ SMR requirements through a paperless, cloud-based online portal. Paul Baker, Allstar’s parent company FleetCor’s vice president, customer management, says it’s already delivering seven-figure savings. By Natalie Middleton.

Paul Baker, Allstar's parent company FleetCor’s vice president, customer management

Paul Baker, Allstar’s parent company FleetCor’s vice president, customer management

What is ServicePoint, and how can it benefit fleet operators?

ServicePoint from Allstar was specifically designed to enable businesses that operate privately maintained company vehicles to book, approve and reconcile service, maintenance and repair (SMR) invoices (including MOTs and tyre fitting) more efficiently.

As a cloud-based portal that uniquely complements existing fleet management software, it directly connects businesses to an ecosystem of reputable suppliers and garages. ServicePoint users enjoy nationwide SMR cover, and don’t have to establish individual trade accounts with suppliers. This saves a great deal of time for fleet operators when invoicing and reporting.

ServicePoint also provides single paperless HMRC approved invoices combining fuel transactions for centralised billing. It provides online job authorisation up front, which means that operators have access to accurate and quicker invoice reconciliation. Further, its ‘On Account’ functionality eases the expense claims process by removing the need for drivers to temporarily expense employers for SMR costs.

Finally, ServicePoint is entirely paperless. This means that all transactions and costs are held centrally on the portal, enabling operators to track vehicle costs over time and make better informed decisions on whether to remove a vehicle from their fleets.

All of these benefits are especially valuable for SMEs. Our research has indicated that 82% of SME fleets receive no discount from suppliers on SMR work. Additionally, 65% of SME fleet managers approve all SMR work by phone or email, wasting valuable time and energy. ServicePoint’s unique cost savings give SMEs the opportunity to invest more resources into their business growth strategies.

Why is this important?

Cost saving measures are crucial for all successful enterprises. However, it’s a strategic pillar that has recently gained increased focus for UK businesses – particularly given the impact of factors like Brexit, the UK’s ongoing productivity conundrum, and rising global costs for fuel and energy.

These economic pressures, and the subsequent need to cut costs, are heightened for those that rely on a fleet of vehicles to carry out fundamental business operations. Such vehicles need regular maintenance and repair, and fleet managers must ensure that all regulatory documentation and taxes are paid for on a timely basis – all adding up to significant expense.

In fact, service, maintenance and repair costs are second only to fuel when it comes to operating vehicles. Fleet operators must also contend with a huge volume of paperwork for each vehicle under their management. Not only is this time-consuming to manage, it also drains resources, meaning that less time can be spent on more strategic tasks.

Even the simple act of booking repairs and maintenance can be incredibly inefficient. Individuals often have to make phone calls to multiple garages and suppliers to secure the best quotes and provide booking details for their SMR requirements.

Taking note of these factors, Allstar Business Solutions saw an opportunity to use our unique insight into the fleet industry to provide an effective solution.

How much could customers save?

Before the ServicePoint solution, most fleet management software stopped at the point of providing fleet managers with a date for when vehicles needed servicing. ServicePoint goes several steps further and allows Allstar Business Solutions’ customers to interact more efficiently with suppliers; to gain access to several cost saving benefits and ensure that accurate records are developed for all transactions so that they can be easily reconciled within the business.

Due to its unique proposition in the market, the solution has already proved very popular with the business community so far. Over 4,500 customers have taken advantage of the service and we’ve seen 15% month-on-month growth on uptake of the portal since its launch in April 2016.

To date we calculate that we’ve provided customers with an average saving of 30% on SMR costs. We’ve saved SMEs as much as £1.4m and assisted in SMR transactions for around 25,000 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.