Lead times for fleet service, maintenance and repair (SMR) have risen by more than 57% since the start of the pandemic, according to new data from epyx.

In January 2020, the average time between when a company car or van booking was created to when the vehicle went in for work was 8.11 days – but today stands at 12.76 days.

This data is taken from epyx’s 1link Service Network platform, which is used by car, van and truck fleets totalling more than four million vehicles to manage and process SMR.

Tim Meadows, chief commercial officer at epyx, said: “SMR providers such as franchise dealers, independent garages and fast-fits have found themselves under pressure since the pandemic when it comes to everything from getting the supplies they need, such as parts and consumables, to recruiting the people required to run their businesses efficiently.

“This is having a direct impact on lead times and fleets are undoubtedly having to wait much longer to access the services they need, which means both more planning ahead for routine maintenance and vehicles spending more time off-road when they do break down. In turn, this can lead to cars and vans spending more time being unavailable, reducing capacity and putting upward pressure on costs.”

Epyx’s data also showed that average lead times have been around 12 days since at least the end of 2021 and have risen above 13 days at some points in the last few months.

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Tim said: “Although the situation is no longer getting noticeably worse, as happened in the immediate wake of the pandemic, there are no real signs of any improvement other than relatively small month-to-month fluctuations.

“The problem is that SMR providers are very much at the mercy of forces beyond their control, and our best estimate is that this situation will persist for some time to come.”