Fleet News

Untrained staff fail to cope with duties

UNTRAINED fleet managers could be costing their employers hundreds of thousands of pounds every year because they do not have the right skills to acquire and run company vehicles efficiently.

Industry experts also believe the introduction of health and safety issues and corporate manslaughter legislation mean it is imperative today's fleet manager is properly trained for the job.

Understanding issues such as changes to company van taxation, tax cuts for drivers using the cleanest models and the introduction of a new charge for the use of private fuel is also vital, they say.

Automotive industry expert Professor Garel Rhys, of Cardiff Business School, said: 'Challenges facing the industry dictate that fleets need to be run by someone at director level who is properly trained. There are a lot of costs involved and fleets are a lifeline to business, so it is vitally important.

'Woe betide the company which finds itself in the dock over a criminal or civil matter and has no defence because the fleet manager was not properly trained to do their job. It is not good enough.'

Stewart Whyte, director of the Association of Car Fleet Operators (ACFO) and managing director of consultancy Fleet Audits, said: 'There are many examples of fleet excellence across the country but unfortunately there are many cases where top management turn their backs on fleets, despite the fact they know, as they all say, that fleets are expensive and emotive.

'I'm not criticising these people but many fleets are run by office secretaries who do the best job they can but will probably not run a fleet how it should be run. There are so many considerations to take into account. Some companies have no idea how much their fleet costs them and that shouldn't happen today.'

Whyte said the difference between a fleet that is run efficiently and one which is not can amount to thousands of pounds per vehicle per year.

Tom Madden, chairman of the Institute of Car Fleet Management, said problems could arise when employees 'end up running a fleet by default. Perhaps it is an admin worker who takes on the role,' he added. 'On many occasions, through no fault of their own, they are not trained for the job, which has moved on greatly and is now more of a mobility manager's role.

'In many cases management prevent such training because it takes that individual out of the office and away from their duties. However, a properly trained fleet manager, at least to ICFM standard, can benefit a company and save it a lot of money every year. 'Training is definitely a worthwhile investment and one which is vital in light of new legislation, such as corporate manslaughter.'

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