The number of fleet service and maintenance e-commerce transactions has risen by more than 20% so far in 2010 and is set to hit three million by the end of the year.
So reports epyx, the company behind the industry standard 1link Service Network service and maintenance e-commerce platform, used by fleets totalling two million cars and vans to work with more than 15,000 franchise dealers, independent garages and fast-fits.
Ken Trinder, head of business development at epyx, the company behind 1link, said that there appeared to be two factors driving the increase in usage – a desire to continue to drive down costs and the ongoing trend by fleets to extend company lease contracts.
He explained: "With economic conditions continuing to be tough, fleets are continually looking for ways to drive down costs and using e-commerce to buy service and maintenance is an easy win. Through 1link Service Network, handling SMR has a lower cost, and is faster and easier for everyone in the supply chain.
"Also, the trend for company cars to be extended into their fourth or even fifth year of fleet life is continuing, if not at the same rate as during the height of the recession. This creates additional demand for fleet SMR through MoTs, major mechanical tasks such as cambelt changes and increased levels of ongoing maintenance."
Trinder said that the difficult economic conditions had also seen fleets become much adept at their use of fleet e-commerce.
He said: "We are seeing increasingly sophisticated use of 1link Service Network. A good example of this is our recently introduced Price Check feature. This can be used in a variety of ways but, at its most basic, enables fleets to identify where savings are being achieved and then repeat them in future.
"For example, the best value price for any maintenance action can be recognised by the platform’s user and stored on 1link Service Network so that it will then automatically by pointed out by the system when an identical job arises in the future.
"Key areas where Price Check can be applied include dynamic real-time management of labour rates, parts discounts, lubrication costs, as well as significant cost savings through parts pricing control, overlap time reduction, warranty claim referrals and fluid quality management."