Software firm Epyx has introduced an upgrade for its driver booking module with the aim of giving fleets greater control over where their vehicles go for SMR work.

The company has developed a new rules engine, designed so vehicles can be steered towards providers that are most suited to fleets’ needs in terms of expertise, convenience, and costs.

Epyx senior product manager Ian Dubberley said: “We introduced the driver booking module last year to enable drivers to make direct bookings with garages and fast-fits through our 1link Service Network SMR platform, used by fleets totalling more than four million vehicles. 

“It’s proven very successful and is now in use on a white label basis by several major vehicle leasing companies.

“It was always our intention that the product would be further enhanced over time and the addition of the rules engine is the first step in that process. It allows the fleet manager to define more closely where drivers can take vehicles for SMR.”

Dubberley explained that, for example, vans and older cars might be guided towards independent garages that offered good value and appropriate levels of expertise, while drivers of newer, prestige car brands would only be shown franchise dealers to meet service history expectations.

He continued: “There are other possibilities. If you have technically complex commercial vehicles, these can be steered towards suitable SMR providers. 

“It’s all about fleet operators being able to ensure that vehicles are maintained in a manner that maximises their priorities.”

Dubberley added that further new features were currently under development.

He said: “The next step is likely to be real time diary access. At present, the module presents drivers with a choice of three dates for their SMR but we aim to provide direct access to garage diaries in order to make a single booking in real time. This will be a significant step forward.

“We’re also working on using the module to offer SMR to drivers of non-maintained leased vehicles using menu pricing. This is something that we know leasing companies very much want to be able to offer to their customers and the technology is certainly available.

“We’re even looking at using the possibility of using connected vehicle data in the future. When the vehicle’s systems detect a fault, the driver booking module will notify the driver and automatically make a booking to rectify the problem. This might sound a little science fiction but it is certainly within our product plan.”