A WINNER from last year’s business awards is back for 2017 in a bid to expand its trophy shelf.

After taking the title of Socially Responsible Business of the Year in 2016, vehicle lease specialist Autohorn Fleet Services is vying to add to its awards collection this year.

The Leeman Road-based business, which has been trading for 22 years, is hoping to impress judges in the Large Business of the Year and Employer of the Year categories.

Separated into three divisions, covering contract hire, short term lease and daily rental through its Europcar York franchise, Autohorn has grown over the last four years from 200 vehicles to more than 1000 out with customers on a 28 day contract.

Due to the success of its Europcar franchise the fleet has increased to 1,500 vehicles, leading to a knock on affect for local businesses as Autohonr uses local garages, body repair shops and dealerships to service and repair its fleet, injecting more than £1.2 million into the local York economy.

Scott Jenkins, sales and operations director, said: “One of the issues many businesses face when they are growing is the impact on staff, systems and processes and Autohorn were no different.

“To help resolve this we inducted a new management team all of which were people currently employed at Autohorn.

“We offered a Management Development Programme via an outside training provider who over the course of eight days has given the team some of the skills and knowledge to help them.

“We have also grown our staff numbers to more than 70 people and again we decided to offer extra training through the University of York. We carried out training needs analysis with all staff to make sure we offered training that not only benefitted the company but the member of staff personally as well.

We’ve also enlisted the help of a professional business coach to aid the new management team even further.

So having looked at staff we then needed to help them with effective systems to be able to carry out their roles effectively. Employing a local software development company has helped us create a bespoke system designed to manage not only our customers but also our whole vehicle fleet. This £100k investment has resulted in an efficient streamlined process which not only save us time but it also helps reduce costs and workload for our staff.

Aside from the online marketing strategy seen in Flexed.co.uk and ClearCarLeasing.co.uk, we’ve also been busy with our off-line marketing to help increase our brand awareness. Every year we ask the staff to choose a charity that we can support as a company, this year being York Rescue Boat. We have also sponsored the Micklegate Soap Box Run for the second year in a row as this was such a great community success last year.

Autohorn Fleet Services has now traded for 22 years in the last 5 years we have improved in every aspect of our business. We are a proud York based family owned business with strong ethics and values. Our products are designed to take us into the future with a new way of owning vehicles. We have invested in technology, we have Yorkshires biggest fleet of alternative fuel vehicles and also own York’s largest number of privately owned charging points which are free to use for all visitors to York.

The final part of our future strategy is our plans for our new head office based in Clifton Moor. Once finalised we will have invested another £10 million in Yorks economy and created another 25 roles for local people to join our local business.