Prof Peter Cooke’s investigations show that the number of fleet managers in the UK has dropped significantly since the turn of the century. Although it has risen slightly over the past two years, more than half of all firms still have no one on dedicated fleet duty.
The research shows that the number of firms with no fleet managers fell from 71% in 2004 to 58% in 2006.
But in 2000, only 33% of firms had no one looking after fleet issues. Over the past two years, the number of full-time fleet managers has risen by 3%, and the number of part-time fleet managers has almost doubled from 12% to 23%.
In 2000, some 23% of firms had full-time fleet managers and 44% part-timers.
The figures come from Business Car Perceptions, the latest in a series of similar reports produced by the professor of automotive industries management at the University of Buckingham, in association with consultancy firm BearingPoint.
“The fleet manager is an endangered species,” Prof Cooke said.
“We’re seeing a huge decline proportionally. Why isn’t fleet management a profession in this country? A lot of people use it as a stepping stone but as a profession it’s never taken off.”
The research found that most firms that do not have a fleet manager (28%) tend to place fleet responsibilities with the finance department. A director, partner or owner is next most likely to take responsibility.
“Even if you outsource you need someone who has ultimate responsibility in the company, someone who watches all the numbers and everything that goes with it,” Prof Cooke added.