Fleet News

It's time to learn new travel 'tricks'

Peter Eldridge

During the course of this year, we have covered a broad spectrum of topics ranging from communication techniques to developing relationships; managing others effectively to managing transformation; preparing for the mobility revolution and so on.

So let’s ask the question – what do they all have in common? 

Well, the answer is knowledge, with a large helping of skills to add to the mix.

Knowledge is our starter for 10 for this month’s article. But, what does it conjure up in your mind? 

One popular proverb states that knowledge is power and by definition it means that knowledge is more powerful than physical strength and that no great achievements can be attained without gaining knowledge.

At the ICFM, we endorse this view, largely as a result of the high achievements made by our member/delegates, who undertake our training programmes. They regularly demonstrate that knowledge is indeed a powerful factor, that has empowered them to achieve great results. 

There is no end to knowledge, no limit to what a person can learn and it is by this means alone that fleet-responsible stakeholders will continue to flourish in 2020 and beyond.

The fleet marketplace has seen a significant level of evolution, with traditional boundaries replaced by an internet-driven world, that has delivered incredible advancements in technology, e-commerce and globalisation. 

This is set to continue and in the world of ‘new age fleet management’, transformation of the fleet management role will put increasing demands on creative abilities that will drive innovation and deliver more dynamic and strategic solutions for a wider range of mobility options, not just cars.

All businesses will need to ensure they are ‘leaner and cleaner’, promote policy decisions that positively impact on environmental efficiency and at the same time focus on cutting edge operational effectiveness to drive long-term profitability. 

There is another adage that says “you are only as good as the people you employ” and at the ICFM we are already witnessing evidence of some businesses engaging in the new age revolution and the corresponding levels of increased interest in promoting employee fleet operational learning development. 

Businesses are waking up to the fact that they are competing in an increasingly intensive market, which is challenging their ability to develop and utilise products and services that require knowledge support as one of the key strategic resources in their armoury.

So what should fleet operators do to ensure they are ready for this so-called new age and where should they start?  

Well, the first thing to recognise is that learning and career development is an ‘inside job’ and it can’t be done without dedication and support. 

Next, fleet responsible employees within any business must be able to demonstrate that they are qualified to do the job and have achieved an accredited level of expertise in their role. 

That role is changing and in the new world of Business Mobility as a Service (BMaaS) and semi-autonomous/autonomous vehicles, the range of responsibilities and corresponding knowledge requirements will have to evolve to meet the changing demands of the job. 

The traditional job title of fleet manager is morphing into a broader ‘mobility manager’ role and to quote an abbreviation from the TV series Star Trek, “it’s life, but not as we know it”. 

This broader role will still require that the traditional elements associated with conventional business vehicle provision are managed effectively and these include the management of:

* Communications

* Vehicle policy

* Environmental control

* Acquisition and disposal

* Leasing and rental

* Grey fleet

* SMR

* Legal administration

* Data protection

* Health and safety/duty of care

* Financial elements, including budget control, taxation and expenses claims

* Supply chain

 

However, the real step change is driven by the additional elements that will now become an intrinsic  part of a mobility management role and these include:

* Environmental – pursuit of a zero emissions future

* Vehicle rental/train/flight/accommodation bookings

* Car club memberships

* Autonomous vehicle selection and usage

* Travel planning itinerary control

* Electronic travel documentation storage

* Smart mobility management

* Payment management for the chosen mobility selection

* Mobility budget analysis

The new breed of ‘mobility managers’ will have a completely different perspective and have the necessary skills and knowledge available to manage the total cost of employee journeys, their chosen method of transportation and the associated telematics data. In their world, fleet and travel will be joined at the hip.

The more traditional fleet managers will of course need to up-skill and extend their knowledge if they are to survive in this new age of fleet management. 

But this challenge is not restricted to them alone, it extends to anyone in the fleet service sector who is actively involved in business-to-business consultation or fleet support management and that, of course, specifically means the leasing and fleet management sector.

So, whatever their background, what is the best route ahead for anyone who has fleet responsibility, in order to achieve the required levels of up-skilling that will set them on the right path for the future?

There are essentially three routes available:

1 In-house or a distance learning training, utilising information and tutorials available.

2 Online learning.

3 Participation in a specialist ‘Masterclass’ style tutor-led training programme.

The chosen method is up to the individual(s) concerned. 

But, from the ICFM’s perspective, there is a more important message to communicate. 

This is one of the most critically important periods that the fleet industry has experienced, driven by the incredible speed of technological advancement. 

If ever there was a time to provide fleet-responsible employees with additional support to develop their mobility management skills, then this is it and our rallying call is for all employers to recognise the benefits it will bring and get behind your teams to make it happen! 

In conclusion, here are my top five recommended steps to help you get on the right path to achieve the necessary skills and knowledge required for new age fleet management:

1 Carry out a ‘self-audit’ on your current levels of skills and knowledge and produce an honest assessment of the areas that you believe require further development.

2 Place specific emphasis on the changes that will be required in your current role to increasingly take account of employee demands for environmentally cleaner vehicles running up to 2040 and zero emission vehicles by 2050.

3 Incorporate the absolute need for business and private travel to be consolidated in all its guises, including those employees who currently receive a cash allowance and reclaim their travel expenses.

4 Investigate the learning and development options that are available in the marketplace to assist your specific needs and objectives (the ICFM can help here).

5 Talk to your employer and outline the development path that you have identified, the changes that are occurring within your current remit and the need for supported knowledge development.

The need for knowledge development in the world of vehicle fleet and travel is now at an precedented level. To find out more, there is no better place to start than the ICFM – join today via the website or contact administration@icfm.com for further information. 

 



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