Fleet News

Adapt or die warning to UK's fleet bosses

FLEET managers must 'adapt or die', a leading industry academic is warning as the pressure to become 'total mobility managers' who co-ordinate all forms of transport for employers becomes a key issue in the new millennium. An audience of public sector fleet managers at a First National Vehicle Contracts conference, Agenda for Action, heard that fleet bosses had to proactively manage employees to choose the best transport for each journey, instead of relying on a single transport policy such as fleet cars.

Fleet sizes will reduce as vehicles are used more intensively, while fleet managers will need more skills to manage workforce transport requirements more effectively. Warning that public sector fleets would be held up by the Government as an example to the rest of industry, Peter Cooke, professor of automotive studies at Nottingham Trent University, said: 'There will be proactive management of fewer vehicles, used better and more intensively.

'Pressure from Government for fleets to embrace clean-fuel technologies will combine with an expected rise in fuel costs and rising costs from congestion to make companies and the public sector fundamentally rethink their approach to staff transport. The fleet manager will become a more integrated part of the management team and there will be a complete change in the next three, four or five years,' Cooke said.

Addressing an audience of more than 100 fleet decision-makers from the public sector, he added that relationships with fleet suppliers must be checked to ensure they could adapt to the fast pace of change facing fleets. 'Work we have carried out at Nottingham suggests a gradual plateau and decline in the number of vehicles being used in both public and private sector transport,' he said.

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