Fleet News

Fleet management: have you got the ‘right stuff’ to be a fleet manager

INDUSTRY professionals reveal the qualities which they think define a great fleet manager.

“A great fleet manager is a lateral thinker with an elastic mind and the skin of an alligator. You need plain common sense with an ability to get into the driver’s mind. They need to be innovative and show they add value to strategic goal effectiveness.”

RON DICKSON, acting head of transport, Strathclyde Police. Fleet News Platinum Award winner 2006

“A positive outlook with a ‘can do’ attitude is essential as you’re there to help drivers. We have to advise drivers and we’re there to say how the fleet is run. It is of prime importance that you always find the win-win situation. If your drivers are unhappy then your job will be miserable.”

JACK PRYDE, fleet manager, Dunfermline Building Society. Fleet News Fleet Manager of the Year (sub-100 vehicles) 2005

“A GREAT fleet manager will be able to match any challenges to their policy with sound, rational explanation, while retaining the respect of others. Great fleet managers will challenge convention and have the confidence to be different by applying innovation.”

LARRY BANNON, fleet manager, National Blood Service. Department for Transport example of good practice in fleet

“THE most important factor is common sense. If you can add this to a methodical approach to problem solving you are in a strong position in a fleet department. Communication skills are an integral factor. Another necessary skill is the ability to listen as many excellent policies originate from staff and drivers.”

DERMOT COUGHLAN, transport manager, Kelly Group. Fleet News UK Fleet of the Year 2006

“A GOOD understanding of all aspects of vehicle fleet management is needed, in particular current trends within the industry. A great fleet manager needs an awareness of both global and local politics, which can influence many areas of our business. It is also important to canvass the end users’ views regularly.”

JOHN BRADLEY, fleet manager Hampshire Police. Fleet News Fleet Manager of the Year (401-plus vehicles) 2006

“MULTI-tasking is a necessity, especially for managers of large fleets – whether it be managing deliveries or logging tax discs. You also need organisational skills to log everything. We record items such as parking fines and V5 forms and invoices. There can be hundreds of tax discs coming in at one time.”

ALLISON PORTER, car fleet manager, Nationwide Network Services

“FLEET managers need to satisfy the demands of the HR and finance departments, which often work at loggerheads. Good powers of persuasion are needed to bring these two together. Often fleet managers don’t have the ‘ear’ of the board so they need the skills to get the right message across to board members.”

LIZ HOLLANDS, fleet manager, DTZ Debenham Tie Leung. Fleet News Awards judge 2005

“THERE’S no substitute for experience at this level. Being very proactive, a good forward planner and organiser is also important, as is being a team builder and good communicator. Where possible, promote staff within to show career advancement. Lead by example and praise employee effort.”

WILLIE WHYTE, fleet services manager, Angus Council. Scottish Local Authority Fleet Operator of the Year 2006

“THE fleet role is not the sole function for many managers so you need to be aware of changes to legislation and how this affects drivers. Motivation is also key – be determined to push new initiatives through. Drivers need to be encouraged to take care of their vehicles – assets which can affect safety and fuel consumption.”

MIKE CLAYTON, fleet manager, Garndene Communication Systems

“MANAGERS need to be able to communicate with people at all levels and having a good customer service approach helps. You need to be an expert in a variety of elements and understand drivers’ needs, from vehicle allocation to parking fines.”

ANITA GRAY, fleet contracts and administration manager, Computacenter

“THE skills to change driver behaviour are important. You need to have the paperwork in place first, then seek management buy-in and finally show drivers examples, from safety groups such as Brake, of what can happen if vehicles are not maintained properly. You need tact, diplomacy and the skill to highlight the benefits to drivers and the company.”

IAN WEBSTER, fleet services, National Geological Society

  • What do you think?

    Fleet managers: the right stuff

    What is the most important characteristic to have in order to be a good fleet manager? (choose one)

    Common sense
    Thick skinned
    A can-do attitude
    Industry knowledge
    Ability to multi-task
    Powers of persuasion
    A good communicator
    Good administration skills

    View Results

  • We will reveal the results next week
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