What happens to fleet managers who move into other areas? Andrew Ryan asked four ex-operators what they're up to now – and what they've learned
From fleet manager to in-cab camera specialist
Name Simon Marsh
Current role Managing director of Telemga (part of Markerstudy Group)
First fleet management role Managing director at SMS Temp Critical
Positions since then Director of World Courier, director of World Courier (Ground Europe), managing director of Smartwitness
Two fatal motorway accidents within three years became the catalyst for Simon Marsh to launch a new business creating dashboard cameras to protect drivers.
The incidents, which resulted in the death of members of staff and other road users, occurred while he was involved with managing a truck and van fleet of around 200 vehicles, operated by SMS Temp Critical, a company he owned.
His drivers were cleared of blame, but the incident focused Marsh’s mind on safety. “I sold the business but became very interested in developing products and systems to improve road and vehicle safety,” he says.
This led him to set up in-cab camera company Smartwitness, which won a Fleet News Award for best new product or service in 2014.
Marsh says the most important skills for his future he learned while managing a fleet were “understanding the daily risks that drivers and companies experience, driver behaviour and how technology can directly improve road safety and reduce the running costs of fleets”.
He advises fleet managers interested in following in his footsteps to develop a wide range of skills, including understanding different aspects of compliance and risk management.
Marsh is now managing director of Telemga, where he is responsible for all in-vehicle technology such as 3G/4G cameras (VisionTrack), commercial telematics and Zenith’s first response emergency device.
From fleet manager to chief procurement officer
Name Simon Boggis
Current role Chief procurement officer/executive vice-president global procurement
First fleet management role National fleet manager for TNT International
Positions since then Group fleet procurement manager at TNT Express, head of purchasing for TNT Logistics, project director procurement for TNT1.
Simon Boggis has progressed from earning £4,500 a year in his first role at TNT (now Ceva Logistics) in 1984 to being responsible for a global spend of £2.6 billion at the same company.
The chief procurement officer ran the company’s fleet between 1991 and 2002, during which time it grew from 1,250 vehicles (500 cars, 750 commercials) to more than 7,000 (1,600 cars, 1,000 vans and 4,500 commercials).
During this time he won five Fleet News Awards and says the skills learned during this period have been invaluable in his later career.
“My grounding in running a fleet of vehicles, such as challenging specifications, looking at KPIs and measuring performance, has served me well,” says Boggis.
“I wanted to buy more than just vehicles and I think that it's a transferable skill: I apply the very same logic now when I’m buying, say, computers as I did when buying vehicles.”
Boggis says the first step for a fleet manager moving to a different role is to identify what they want to do. “When you’ve done this, go and seek out opportunities and show those managers or prospective employer that what you have done in fleet management can be transferred into many other areas.
“Organisations such as the Chartered Institute for Purchasing and Supply can be useful, but I think people skills are also important: the ability to communicate, have confidence in what you do, to be able to listen to others around you, and to have the ability to influence the company were all things that enabled me to create change.”