Growth for LeasePlan last year came from all four of its brands, something that has not happened for at least five years.
The small fleet sector via the Network broker division saw a return to growth first in 2010, although that was as much about LeasePlan’s decision to work with fewer, more professional brokers as it was a signal of market strength.
That decision, taken a year earlier, enabled the company to better understand how its franchisees worked to enable them to bring the right deals to market.
“The business from Network is more consistent and we are leveraging more ancillary products with rental, insurance and ‘with maintenance’ products,” said LeasePlan commercial director Matt Dyer.
The corporate market has returned in the past six months, driven by a lot of companies re-tendering for new suppliers. LeasePlan has picked up 30 new business accounts over the past 12 months – a record number for one year.
Dyer also points to the company’s focus on customer service and, in particular, the way it splits its business between a customer service team for fleets which are largely kept in-house and a driver service team where the operation is primarily outsourced to LeasePlan.
Outsourced business has been a major contributor to growth over the past year. Four years ago, 25% of LeasePlan’s business was through driver services; now it’s around half but the majority of the business won in recent months has been on fully outsourced contracts.
“That’s down to cost pressures – why manage the fleet yourself if a supplier can do it,” said Dyer.
But that doesn’t mean replacing the fleet manager: their role becomes more strategic and les operational.
“Very often the company will keep the experience and expertise of the fleet manager – that adds value,” said Dyer. “You can’t replace that experience.”
He anticipates growing demand for outsourced services from the public sector, which is under pressure from the Government to cut overheads in line with the Comprehensive Spending Review requirements.
“People in the public sectors are making the tough decisions that are equivalent to those made in the corporate sector two years ago,” Dyer added.
Read how LeasePlan believes public sector fleets are set for change.