The modern business environment is 24/7, with the adage ‘time is money’ being more apt than ever.
Clients and customers are more demanding and expect swift and effective service, and as such, it is essential to be able to respond to their needs as quickly as possible.
When these requirements extend to vehicles, it is especially important that near-constant mobility is ensured, so that the wheels are literally kept turning and deadlines and expectations are met.
At Northgate we recognise the vital importance of mobility, and as such we have a large and widespread network of vehicles and branches which caters for all customer requirements and ensures a quick turnaround with minimal downtime.
We see ourselves as more than just a rental company, with our all-inclusive service covering nearly every aspect of vehicle supply and maintenance, saving customers both time and money, which can then be invested in the core parts of their business.
Size and flexibility
When it comes to vehicle rental, size definitely does matter, though it must go hand-in-hand with diversity and flexibility.
Northgate has 60 branches located across the UK, and unlike some fleet providers, the majority of them contain workshops, so that we can manage the full lifetime customer journey.
Rather than outsourcing all of the maintenance and repair of our vehicles to a third party located miles away, we are able to carry out the majority of work at the branch and have the vehicles turned around as quickly as possible, helping to meet client demand and expectations. We also have a fleet of mobile technicians who can be dispatched to a customers’ premises if necessary.
As these expectations change all the time, it is important to be ahead of the curve with our positioning, and as such we place vehicles strategically across the UK according to expected demand.
Northgate covers the full spectrum of LCVs, ranging from sub-one tonne vans to high payload Lutons, and manage the positioning of these so that we can satisfy customer needs at short notice.
If a customer is located within 25 miles of one of our branches, we aim to deliver the vehicle to them within four hours of the order being made. For our 1,500 specialist vehicles like our utility spec and welfare vans that have beacons, towbars and other bespoke features, we aim for 24 hours.
Northgate serves a number of national and regional utilities companies with utility spec vehicles and our stock of this vehicle, as with some of our other specialist builds, is located in a strategic way that avoids clients having to wait weeks for bespoke builds from contract hire and leasing companies, or rental companies that do not offer this as standard.
Having such a diverse network also offers plentiful advantages over so-called ‘supersites’. A site may be able to hold hundreds of vehicles but if it is hours away from a customer who only needs a small number of vehicles it is not providing an efficient service that minimises the disruption to the customer’s business.
By strategically situating our branches and the vehicles within them, we are able to deliver better customer service: local branches, local account managers and local branch contacts add a personal touch that caters for all customers, regardless of the size of the business.
At Northgate, our flexibility includes the ability to return and exchange vehicles at any time.
With smaller sites located across a wide variety of locations, the majority of which have workshops, it is also more convenient to carry out service, maintenance and repair (SMR), which we provide as standard.
Our fleet management offering provides ancillary products and services that supplement the rental proposition, eliminating the hassle of having to maintain and repair the vehicles and doing so in a convenient way due to the location of the branches and our carefully managed third party network.
We are fleet managing 50,000 vehicles on a daily basis in a scalable way that never loses sight of flexibility; we aim to be a one-stop solution, which ranges from vehicle supply to SMR.
If a vehicle is due for a service, MOT or other work, our customers know that a branch and workshop is never far away, and that they can upgrade or change the vehicle any time.
Of course, if geography dictates or a customer requires it, we have a third party network of garages. However, rather than simply leaving the customer in the hands of a third party, we manage Service Level Agreements to ensure the best possible service that mirrors our own commitment.
Our fleet management services can also be rolled out to non-Northgate vans, which includes driver training and information provision as well as SMR, adding a further degree of flexibility to the offering.
The size of Northgate’s fleet is understandably important, but just as important to us is ensuring that vehicles are located in the right places, so they can be delivered to the right customers at the right times, saving both time and money and providing essential peace of mind that their business operations will not be disrupted.