Fleet News

Rush ahead for outsourcing

CUT-THROAT new car deals and the residual value crisis are expected to prompt a huge surge in companies outsourcing their fleets to leasing companies. With the crisis creating tough economic conditions, the work of dedicated fleet managers is coming under pressure as companies whose core business is not vehicles are moving into outsourcing.

The claim comes as Lex Vehicle Leasing - the UK's largest contract hire and leasing company - relaunches its sale and leaseback service which offers to take the pain out of fleet management by taking on the risk. Managing director Jon Walden said: 'An increasingly volatile second-hand car market will mean companies will have to spend more time considering risk assessment - time which could be better spent focusing on core activities.'

John Dewar, transport manager at Local Health Partnerships NHS Trust, said: 'If a company has a small fleet of about 50 cars, they have got to think hard about outsourcing, but it pays larger fleets with about 500 vehicles to manage it in-house.' But John Laing fleet manager, David Lee, said: 'The days of in-house fleet management are numbered unless a fleet is very large, although strategic management of the fleet must remain in-house.'

But outsourcing will not be a panacea for all ills, according to Whitbread's central services manager Nigel Trotman, who oversaw the company's gradual move into outsourcing its 2,900-vehicle fleet to GE Capital Fleet Services. He said: 'I thoroughly recommend outsourcing, although a lot depends on the culture of the company. If fleet management is not a major part of companies' operations why shouldn't they outsource?'

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