Fleet News

Travel management: Manage employees not the asset

Paul Hollick, ICFM

The UK fleet market is the most mature in the world, but the pace of change in terms of mobility is so stuck in the slow lane that vehicle manufacturers and leasing companies are in danger of being overtaken by travel management specialists.

There is a plethora of manufacturers churning out hundreds of thousands of cars each year and most have, or are about to launch, mobility divisions. 

But, just as over the past 20 years corporates have overseen the demise of the fleet manager – a completely wrong-headed decision as a member of staff must be employed to oversee fleet strategy and manage suppliers – so with the advent of mobility we are seeing the emergence of the travel manager (often morphed from those surviving fleet managers).

What they want is a focus on the total cost of mobility irrespective of what mode of transport is used for a journey. Indeed, it may be multiple modes of transport – car, train and taxi, for example, and reversed on the return trip.

However, instead of mobility being defined on a ‘per employee basis’, we continue to see manufacturers and leasing companies defining journeys according to assets.

Manufacturers may be launching mobility divisions and leasing companies, as well as rental business, operating car clubs and advocating car sharing, but the regimes remain focused on asset utilisation and not people mobility.

But the world is changing. Today’s employees – particularly the millennials now moving into management – are increasingly focused on making a journey from A to B with the whole trip being booked and paid for in advance and using whichever mode(s) of transport are appropriate.

Total journey management is an area where travel management companies are already starting to operate and, as a result, I fear for the fleet industry as we know it. Manufacturers, contract hire and leasing companies and rental providers will be decimated unless they accelerate into the mobility fast lane. 

What that means is employee – not asset – management.


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