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Now online is the portal that gives fleet managers access to the tyre, spare parts, maintenance and repair services of 1,200 Driver & Key Point centres and 1,900 ‘a posto’,  workshops as part of an integrated management process aimed at minimizing time and costs

Mino De Rigo

PIRELLI AND RHIAG are having a web honeymoon with the launch of the new Fleet Portal with unified access to the fleet services offered by their respective networks of tyre specialists and workshops: a single online entry point for fleet managers who need tyres and spare parts, maintenance and mechanical and body repairs. The first result of this virtual integration of the group based in Milan’s Bicocca district and one of Europe’s major components and spare parts distributors, is the simplification and acceleration of fleet management work. Pirelli Tyre Europe director Alessandro D’Este said: “With a share of over 40% of the total, we are the main players in the fleet market because of our consolidated background and agreements with 85 leasing companies, 12 of which are exclusive. The creation of the new Fleet Portal fills a gap because, until now, there have been no sites that combine tyres, spare parts and components to guarantee a complete offer composed of over 100,000 items dedicated to companies’ fleets”, and which include the associated procedures: estimates, online authorization, immediate verification of availability, the supply of products and services as part of agreements with the fleets, and centralized billing.

Two widespread networks
At the other end of web there are the 1,200 Driver & Key Point centres, over 1,900 workshops and multibrand body shops affiliated under Rhiag’s “a posto” logo, as well as spare parts dealers and engine grinders specializing in parts that are more expensive and more difficult to find. The system is ready to welcome other partners for the future expansion of the list of products and services: from window repairs to filling stations to insurance. “In addition” - Rhiag CEO Luca Zacchetti added  – “gravitating around the portal is a team of over 40 operators who support the entire network and the fleets, a dedicated call centre, an Italy-wide distribution network, a technical and time schedules databank that are also available to fleet authority managers”. The agreement between Pirelli and Rhiag also includes a programme of technical, marketing and management courses for the continuing professional updating of the two networks. Which, incidentally, should neither overlap nor, at least in the short term, take the path of a merger. “For tyre specialists” – explained D’Este – “the platform is an additional opportunity with two advantages: it makes it easier to expand business to include mechanics, thereby avoiding the seasonal nature of the work and the counteroffensive of dealerships that have been equipped to provide tyre services”.

A plus for tyre specialists
“The other advantage is the increase in sales volumes that can be achieved by convincing an increasing number of leasing and rental operators to make use of the services offered by the portal”. It’s easy to understand why fleets are a particularly desirable target for Pirelli and Rhiag: on average, the annual distance travelled by the almost 700,000 vehicles in the fleets is about 35,000 km compared with a general average of about 12,500 km, and, above all, an average of approximately € 1,200 a year is spent on maintenance services, more than double the amount spent by all the other vehicles in circulation. The premium component associated with the type of company car employees receive as a benefit is also higher and this aspect is directly reflected in the tyres they use. “Because we can both boast an international presence” - D’Este stated – “once the model has been set up, it can be repeated abroad with the backing of consolidated experience”. Rhiag’s range of action – over half of its revenues come from the Italian market – includes Switzerland, Romania, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Hungary and Ukraine, with distribution networks that have 10 central warehouses and 170 peripheral depots serving over 60,000 professional customers.

More services, lower costs
With regard to Pirelli, its commercial network now operates in over 160 countries in all parts of the world. Zacchetti emphasized: “Our range of products, which includes original spare parts or equivalents, covers a broad cross-section of all the vehicles in circulation: we handle over 500,000 warehouse codes and every year add about 10,000 as a result of developments in the automotive industry. Through our network of multibrand affiliates, a valid alternative to the car manufacturers’ networks,  we can provide more services at a lower cost”. From maintenance work in accordance with the car companies’ original schedules to software for dialoguing with the informatics systems used by leasing and rental companies. In addition, Rhiag guarantees continual checks of workshop quality standards through its special team of service managers. “We make all this available for large fleets from 100 to 100,000 vehicles, which will be able to work more effectively and efficiently and save on management costs by using the new Fleet Portal. The initiative does not involve any increased costs for customers, but gives them the opportunity to usefully reduce the number of interfaces, contain travel, waiting times and technical downtimes, with obvious advantages also for drivers, and to improve the planning of each intervention, which will minimize the emergencies that always cost more”.


A journey in the all-inclusive portal
A single login on gives access to a multitude of services conceived to simplify fleet management procedures and to meet various needs for the supply of tyres, spare parts and components, vehicle maintenance and repairs. “The integrated solution made available by Fleet Portal” – said Paolo Vuillermin, Rhiag’s services and workshop network manager – “was tried out by some fleet managers who acted as pilot customers to help us configure the service”. With Tokheim Italia, BBVA and Avis representing the vanguard of users. “The site gives the combined georeferences of the two Rhiag and Pirelli networks in a unified panel which visualizes and gives totally integrated access to both of them. A specific section in the portal is dedicated to technical documents, time schedules and the updating of information. Authority and reporting informatics services are joined by centralized cost estimates and billing”, with statements that are issued singly, weekly or  monthly with the total costs or itemized by job. “It is an all-inclusive service” – commented Giuseppe Marrara, market manager Italy at Pirelli Tyre – “which capitalizes on the support of both groups, the value of which is very much greater than the sum of the respective networks”.

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