An effective fleet strategy is an important tool in defining an organisation’s approach to fleet management over the short, medium and long term. It should be a clearly written document that identifies the business need for the fleet, helps secure a fleet that is fit for purpose and sets out how you intend to manage your vehicles in the future.
“Every fleet is different and operates to meet its own unique set of circumstances, so there is no one-size-fits-all approach to fleet strategy,” says John Pryor, chairman of fleet operators’ association ACFO.
“However, best practice would suggest that in whatever sector of industry or commerce a business operates, or whether it is in the public sector, it has in place a strategy to ensure it is successful.
“There is no difference in respect of running a fleet. Whether a large or small fleet, or in the public or private sector, vehicle operations must meet the business need.”
The Wales Audit Office recommends that, to develop a genuinely effective vision for a fleet, the document must link in with an organisation’s other strategic priorities.
The strategy must be considered as part of an organisation’s approach to asset management and should link in with a company’s environmental aims. It should also look outside an organisation, to consider benefits of working with external bodies to provide the most effective and efficient fleet.
Fleets should also aim to reduce the number and length of journeys, adds the Wales Audit Office. “This produces financial savings, reduces the impact on the environment and reduces the risk of accidents,” it says.
Reducing mileage forms a significant part of Transport for London’s advice in producing a sustainable fleet strategy.
The organisation, which has produced a Sustainable Fleet Management Guide, says: “A sustainable fleet management strategy is one that aims to reduce environmental impacts through a combination of cleaner vehicles and fuels, fuel-efficient operation and driving; and by reducing the amount of road traffic it generates.
“In doing so, the fleet minimises fuel and vehicle costs and improves the safety and the welfare of employees, while reducing its exposure to the problems of congestion. The strategy will also help you to meet the requirements of other policies within your organisation; for example, business efficiency, health and safety, equalities and inclusion, and corporate social responsibility.”
However, despite the need to cover a wide range of issues in a fleet strategy, Stuart Cunningham, head of international corporate sales at Alphabet, believes the document should not lose its focus on one over-riding aim.
“Up until recently, a fleet strategy was perceived as largely being about company cars and their financing,” he says. “However, it should be about ensuring that employees are able to get from A to B in the most efficient way. As such, when compiling a fleet strategy document, it’s important to factor in and analyse all areas of the mobility mix.
“These can include company cars, rental vehicles, pool cars, fuel management, alternative travel methods, cash allowance and grey fleet, risk management and employee benefits.
“None of these elements are more important than the other; all eight are needed to develop a full and fair mobility strategy.
“Only by gathering all the soft and hard facts on each of these areas, can companies gain a 360 degree view and put in place the right strategy to best suit the organisation’s needs.
“Many perceive this integrated approach to fleet strategy to be something of the future, but in reality such strategies are already here, they’re relevant and are already evolving.”