Despite the economic uncertainty manifested in true fleet sales down marginally year-to-date (by 3% or 9,500 units), fleets at the Fleet News roundtable sponsored by Arval were optimistic about their operations.
No-one anticipated the number of vehicles on their fleet reducing over the coming year; two forecast growth in line with business expansion.
Amanda Nash, global director corporate procurement at Intercontinental Hotels Group, is planning for a 6-7% rise in fleet size as the head office team increases.
Tom Sayer, car fleet manager at Coca-Cola, believes his fleet size will rise as the soft drinks giant encourages its grey fleet to migrate to company cars.
All fleets at the roundtable agreed that the gloomy economic outlook meant one thing: management of budgets and driver-focused initiatives would continue to be their main priority.
Fleet News: What actions are you taking to reduce your costs this year?
Tom Sayer, car fleet manager, Coca-Cola: We are taking a multi-source approach to leasing. We will select from a pool where for the past 20 years we have had a solus approach.
We couldn’t be sure we could guarantee best value from one supplier so we have taken a procurement-driven approach to multi- supply with a third party supplier to manage it.
This will release our resource to focus on risk management and managing drivers. We expect to see savings from leasing companies competing for the best deal.
Peter Bonney, fleet controller, Salvation Army: We found if you knock out a leasing company, they lose interest; service levels fall and they become harder to manage.
I can’t understand companies that are seduced by offers of fantastic savings and outsource their fleet management to them.
Tom Sayer: You have to maintain fleet management in-house to retain control and to manage the relationship with the leasing company.
We deal more directly with drivers to manage their behaviours. We profile them and identify those that need action. Our driver training has evolved to online assessments, risk profiling and changing attitudes.
Fleet News: Do you incentivise drivers to encourage behavioural change?
Jon Sweet, regional risk manager, Arriva: We do for our bus drivers: we reward them each month with a £25 shopping voucher which increases to £35 if it reflects good customer service as well.
We also run an annual safety campaign where drivers go into a draw for £1,000. We have seen up to 37% reductions in incidents with no impact on late reporting.
We also have the perceived threat of covert assessments which affects driver behaviour.