By John Pryor, ACFO chairman
For some years, ACFO has said the role of fleet decision-makers is to embrace travel choice. The job is also about educating employees to understand when not to travel and perhaps use video or tele conferencing. Cost and risk management, carbon footprint reduction, business efficiency and effectiveness and time management are all issues that impact on corporate travel.
The trend – particularly among large and high profile companies – to improve HMRC’s record keeping compliance with the use of mileage capture systems is delivering greater visibility of what car journeys actually cost.
What’s more, the arrival of the Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS) – applicable to larger organisations –increases the focus on corporate mileage. The audit requirements deliver a baseline, which employers can use to cut journeys in company and grey fleet vehicles as they seek to reduce their carbon footprint. These developments mean that fleet decision-makers, instead of working in isolation as they have done for so long, are working in tandem with colleagues in other departments.
Business mileage expenses and carbon footprint reporting are not always within a fleet manager’s remit. However, the trends we are starting to witness in larger organisations will rapidly spiral down the chain to SMEs.
My own job title is ‘fleet and travel manager’. I have a complete overview of who travels, how, when and where, and the cost of any trip.
The job description will not be right for all organisations, but I must ensure that the company’s policy is implemented and the best value is given to the traveller to make their journey, while also taking into account other factors such as duty of care and the environment.
In other words a single person in an organisation has complete visibility of travel and its impact.
Fleet management is no longer just about managing vehicles, but about business mobility. There are no right answers and many variables have to be considered and managed, but it is fleet decision-makers that can drive change within their individual businesses.