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LETTERS to Fleet News’ editor Martyn Moore.

Pool cars: there’s another alternative

It was interesting to read your article ‘Fleet strategy: rental versus pool cars’ (Fleet News, July 11). An important point was missed – pool and rental cars are not necessarily mutually exclusive. National works with a number of fleets to complement existing pool fleets and to provide rental vehicles as pool cars.

However, we do believe that pool cars can be an extremely expensive and inefficient way of providing mobility solutions. Not only is utilisation a problem but it’s very difficult to monitor the condition of the vehicles from one journey to the next.

While daily rental can provide a two-hour turn-round from reservation to delivery, it is clearly not the same as having vehicles permanently on-site.

We have therefore developed on-site ‘ready to go’ pool cars for a number of customers. We carry out all maintenance work, including servicing and valeting, checking the cars on a weekly basis to ensure they are in good order.

The pool car solution also means that rather than a fixed fleet of pool cars, the company can vary the size of the fleet and the vehicle groups according to the demands of the business, making it much more flexible than a traditional pool fleet. Telematics, operated in conjunction with a car rental company, can provide a cost-effective and tightly managed alternative to the old-fashioned pool fleet.
Lorraine Farnon, Sales director and divisional vice-president, National Car Rental

I READ with great interest the article on pool cars. We run a fleet of 38 pool vehicles over three sites and find that we are cost-competitive and provide a service to our users that no hire car company can compete with, especially as 12 of our vehicles are 4x4s. I am not saying that we are perfect and we do use a hire firm to support our fleet, but our users enjoy a service that offers the right vehicle, at the right time, at the right place.

Instead of saying that pool cars have had their day, perhaps it is more along the lines that fleet managers need to alter their outlook on pool vehicles.
Ian Webster, fleet services, British Geological Survey

Shameless use of woman photograph

I WAS looking at the article ‘Women get top-off cancer warning’ (Fleet News, July 6). However, I couldn’t help but notice that you chose a most beautiful ‘Asian babe’ to highlight the situation.

As people with natural tans are far less likely to suffer from skin cancer than those with fair skin (especially redheads with very pale complexions), I can only surmise that this particular photograph was shamelessly used for no other journalistic reason than to purely brighten my day, for which I thank you profoundly. 
Taghi Izadpanah

Outsourcing vs in-house

WITH reference to ‘Fleets warned on supplier future’ (Fleet News, July 6), I fail to see how the client would be at risk from the fleet management company or broker, unless handing over money to both parties.

I run a fleet solutions company in Cambridge. The client is never at risk of financial loss unless the bank or the main vehicle provider goes out of business. That’s who takes any money that changes hands in our case, like deposits.

In this instance, even if the fleet management broker went out of business, the fleet client would still be safe.

Fleet solution companies do a lot to assist fleet clients for free and only get paid that small commission margin if successful in getting a better deal and solution for the fleet client. Reports like this one will do more to put fleet solution companies out of business.

I would like to see a more balanced view on this.

David McMullan
McMullan Motors

  • The Plimsoll report looks at all fleet management firms, not just brokers. And while it might be true that a fleet may not lose money if a supplier went bust, the huge amount of time and administration needed to reorganise the fleet certainly has a cost – in both practical and monetary terms – Ed

    THE fact that around a quarter of outsourcing companies are facing bankruptcy – ‘Fleets warned on suppliers’ future’ (Fleet News, July 6) – seems to confirm that old adage: ‘If you want a job doing well, do it yourself.’

    To us, trusting outside companies, with their agendas and profit margins, to manage something as important as the company fleet has always seemed a questionable idea. No-one can look after your business as well as you.

    But it may not only be attitudes towards outsourced fleet management which appear to be changing. Is it possible that power is being restored to the in-house fleet manager.

    Outsourcing companies have traditionally boasted two main advantages over ‘in-house’: buying power and efficiency.

    Many fleets have learned that they can achieve the same buying power by joining forces with one or more other organisations. Meanwhile modern fleet management systems impart expertise to even novice users, with their carefully structured sections, guiding you through a number of important areas, including compliance and duty of care.

    Electronic data can be imported automatically these days, so data entry isn’t a concern. In fact when properly set up, a good system can ‘passively’ (ie without further effort by the operator) gather together all the necessary facts and figures in one place and create the reports you need, when you need them.

    We have experience of a company going the outsourced route and coming back to more efficient ‘in-house’ management. They had been given a ‘free’ system with their new leasing package, but within three months asked us to arrange for our system to run in tandem, to check the data and extract the meaningful reports they really needed.
    Gavin Clark Sales and marketing manager, Chevin Fleet Solutions

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