Surprise: US firm takes over ABI’s fleet maintenance

Surprise: US firm takes over ABI's fleet maintenance

In a surprise move that has raised eyebrows in some local quarters, Associated Beverage Industries (ABI), the subsidiary of South African Breweries Ltd, SA’s largest brewery and beverage manufacturing and distribution company, has awarded a comprehensive vehicle repair and maintenance contract to a US-based company venturing into the country for the first time.

Global Fleet Services, a new subsidiary of Kelley Fleet Services (KFC), has undertaken to provide maintenance and repair services to ABI for about 1 600 truck tractors, rigids, semi-trailers and forklifts as well as to perform all tyre repair and maintenance.

Kelley’s services will be rendered at four hub locations and with mobile maintenance units, servicing 14 facilities across the ABI distribution network in Johannesburg, Durban and surrounding areas.

KFC/Global Services anticipates employing as many as 50 South African managers, mechanics, artisans and others in connection with the new engagement and has actually placed advertisements locally, offering top salaries. Operations were due to start in October.

KFC/Global Services said in a statement published overseas it was selected over several US and South African companies that responded to SAB’s request for proposals. Focus has since learned that Daimler Fleet Management and Equestra were among the local bidders for the contract.

KFC is one of America’s leading fleet maintenance service companies, servicing fleets consisting of more than 5 000 vehicles.

Don Kelley, founder and president of KFC, said: “We’re tremendously excited to have been selected for this contract. We know up-time on equipment is vitally important in the beverage business and we think our approach to fleet management will make sure ABI’s trucks, trailers and other equipment are ready when and where needed. Our team is already hard at work on the transition and we’re eager to get going.”

ABI fleet manager, Trevor Brandt, said “We selected Kelley, from amongst a number of firms that we evaluated, because of their demonstrated success in managing large fleets. They fully understand the priorities of our business.

“Our customers expect on-time, regular service; to meet those expectations, we need a vehicle fleet that’s reliable, well-maintained and that reflects the quality of our brands. We’re glad to have their support in these endeavours.”

The contract marks KFC’s first expansion outside of North America, but Kelley says that his team is actively pursuing additional international opportunities.

“We believe our approach to fleet management works across a lot of geography,” said Kelley. “There are mature markets where fleet operators are looking for ways to cut costs and developing economies in which many companies are realising that what they’ve done in the past in terms of maintenance and repair doesn’t scale well. In both cases, our single-source, single-point-of-accountability approach can deliver both cost savings and efficiency.”

KFC’s announcement came after an earlier announcement that Amerit Kelley Fleet Services, a strategic partnership of Kelley Fleet Services and Amerit Consulting, had been awarded the US telecommunication industry’s largest-ever contract for vehicle repair and maintenance services by AT&T.

Kelley noted that there were some similarities between the two situations.

“Both customers are large fleet operators and both were looking for a sole-source, singularly focused fleet maintenance and repair solution,”

Kelley said. “This is the kind of approach that makes great sense for large operators and one that we have great expertise in providing. We’re excited to bring our experience and our management philosophy to bear for the benefit of our newest client and in the first of what we hope will be a series of international opportunities.”

Privately held and headquartered in Mission Viejo, California, Kelley Fleet Services was created in 1999 to provide fleet management to growing organisations worldwide. The company was formed by Don Kelley, a transportation services industry executive with more than 28 years of experience in this field. Founded in 1895, the South African Breweries Ltd (SAB) is the South African subsidiary and historical birthplace of SABMiller plc, one of the world’s largest brewers by volume with more than 200 brands and brewing interests and distribution agreements in over 60 countries across six continents.

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Focus on Transport

FOCUS on Transport and Logistics is the oldest and most respected transport and logistics publication in southern Africa.
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