In a comprehensive survey of 164 companies, called 'Company Car Policy UK 1999', Monks found a surge in demand for in-house fleet managers. A string of recent developments has highlighted the swing in demand for in-house fleet experts, with Iceland recruiting a full-time fleet manager for its 1,000-strong home-delivery fleet, Royal & SunAlliance looking for a highly-skilled fleet project manager for its 5,000 company cars, and ICL announcing it would keep an in-house fleet team despite outsourcing its 4,800-strong fleet to Dial.
Tony Leigh, chairman of the Association of Car Fleet Operators, said companies were learning the lesson that outsourcing did not mean washing their hands of responsibility for their vehicles. He said: 'Several years ago there was a growth in outsourcing contracts and now those companies are realising they need to know more about what is happening with their fleet. You can't simply relinquish control. There is a noticeable increase of fleets joining ACFO, instead of representatives of fleet service companies.'
The survey of companies controlling a combined fleet of 126,728 cars found that 42% of larger companies employed a fleet manager, up from 36% last year. The finding coincides with a growth in outsourcing, either to external fleet management (up from 40% to 42% for large firms), or contract hire (up from 23% last year to 26%).