Fleet News

Smaller fleets in need of help

Small to medium-sized businesses are struggling with their fleet management and need more help.

But that help needs to come from a human contact, not an anonymous, computerised solution.

Feedback to AA Business Services has revealed that larger businesses have a more formal, structured fleet approach. Smaller firms often operate on a more reactive and ad-hoc basis.

Additionally, firms with transport as their core are more dedicated to effective fleet management.

Adrian Waters, head of commercial SME fleet sales for AA Business Services, said the need for more support reflected the changing way in which fleets are managed.

“Feedback has shown us that support staff, such as office managers, are increasingly taking responsibility for administrative tasks such as assigning vehicles to drivers, arranging servicing and repairs, insurance and MoT updates and transferring and inputting mileage data,” he said.

“However, these individuals are also involved in many other aspects of the business and can only devote a small amount of time to fleet issues.

“Unfortunately, duty of care and the recently passed corporate manslaughter legislation mean that effective fleet management is essential for all businesses – whatever their size.”

New leasing industry research suggests that 90% of smaller firms want a dedicated contact at their supplier, rather than a faceless, online-only solution.

And half want their account managers to be empowered to make instant decisions on their behalf.

The survey by fleet broker Network contacted 200 fleet companies with up to 100 vehicles.

Network director Christophe Desplace said: “Most small businesses have prospered because they offer a flexible and personal service to their customers, so it is not really surprising that they want the same from their leas- ing providers.

“It also explains the continuing growth of the broker market, given that fleet intermediaries are noted for their hands-on personal approach.

“Fleet management is a very complex issue. Although much of the reporting and process side of things can be managed online, as yet there is still no replacement for hearing a person’s voice on the other end of the phone line.”

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