Research by analyst Plimsoll Publishing has found that 62 companies offering fleet management saw their business grow by more than a quarter in the past year.
Although some of the growth has come from a further 64 companies who have seen their businesses shrink by 15% on average, it suggests that the rest of the growth is coming from new business – firms outsourcing the role of the fleet manager to management companies.
The report’s author, David Pattison, said: ‘You would have to say that if the fleet management companies are getting extra share and it’s not from each other then it is likely to be the case that it is at the expense of fleet managers.’
The report also found that there seems to be a buoyant market among some of the smaller companies.
Pattison added: ‘For me, it’s evidence that the market is changing as the revenue and growth streams of even five years ago are not the same as for 2006.’
But while many firms are opting to outsource their fleets, it should not mean that the role of the fleet manager becomes redundant.
According to the fleet managers’ association, Acfo, outsourcing should not be a danger to the fleet manager but should work hand-in-hand.
Acfo director Stewart Whyte said: ‘Outsourcing is undoubtedly happening and at a rate of knots. The move to outsourcing is legitimate as long as it’s not seen as a ‘fit-and-forget’ option.
‘It must be controlled, with service level agreements and regular policing. Acfo isn’t anti-outsourcing but in terms of good fleet management, outsourcing is a process and not an end.
‘There must be a rational and commercial business choice, but get rid of the fleet manager and companies risk the outsourcing provider becoming judge, jury and executioner.’