FLEETS outsourcing the management of their company cars in a bid to free up administration time and save money are being warned not to give up total responsibility.
Although handing over the running of a fleet to a specialist company can be a sensible move for some fleets, it is imperative at least one member of staff within the organisation plays some sort of fleet role, claims Tony Leigh, chairman of the Association of Car Fleet Operators (ACFO).
He said: 'Outsourcing fleet management can be a sensible move for companies and authorities wanting to free up time spent on administration but there is also a word of warning that needs to be issued. 'It's important to have someone within the workplace monitoring how the outsourcing company operates and whether it is giving the fleet the best deal. It is also imperative they deal with health and safety and risk management issues, such as monitoring drivers' hours and checking licences internally within the workplace.'
But outsourcing done properly can prove financially beneficial, as a deal struck between Wiltshire County Council and Interleasing has proved.
The local authority has awarded Interleasing sole supplier status for vehicles and fleet management services and says the move has already saved it tens of thousands of pounds.
Interleasing will initially supply 200 vehicles and the three-year contract also sees it providing a fully outsourced fleet management service.
Ian McPherson, strategic procurement officer at Wiltshire County Council, said: 'Interleasing's offer, with its combination of value for money, experience and innovation, was definitely the right one for us. We have now got the groundwork in place for a long-term partnership that will totally transform our approach to fleet management.'
Interleasing says it has already negotiated a deal with Honda to be the sole vehicle supplier to the council.
Council executives say they are also benefiting from substantial time savings following its decision to outsource all fleet and accident management to Interleasing. The administrative processes are more streamlined and the council is also provided with improved data from which to make informed decisions for the future. McPherson added: 'We are already reaping the cost benefits.
'Although the contract is only in its infancy, by working with Interleasing we have saved nearly £80,000. As savings accrue over the next three years, this figure can only increase.'