Fleet News

Fleet managers needed to drive efficiency

The trend to cut fleet managers from company structures could harm vehicle utilisation, it has been claimed.

Staffordshire vehicle solutions business Motiva Group says good fleet managers use their relationships with drivers and other departments to make effective decisions.

This insight is sometimes lost when vehicle management is absorbed into other functions such as HR or Finance, Motiva argues.

Peter Wright, sales and marketing director at Motiva Group, said: “Since the financial crisis of 2008, the cost of running fleets has come under intense scrutiny at board level.

“Our impression is that a lot of fleet manager positions have been cut, with responsibilities often shared across other departments.

“I think companies have to be really careful not to throw the baby out with the bathwater, though. Good fleet managers have specific skills and knowledge that deliver savings and increase efficiency.

“They also often have a really good nuts and bolts understanding of how the whole business works and they are often amongst the first to hear about developments within the business.”

Good fleet managers can use their unique perspective to improve efficiency, Mr Wright believes.

Utilisation is a case in point, according to Mr Wright. He says fleet specialists draw on their experience and their cross-business knowledge to predict when temporary spikes in vehicle demand will occur.

They then take advantage of close supplier relationships to fulfil that demand with short-term rental solutions.

He said: “Managers without that specialist knowledge may end up committing to a two-year contract hire agreement when in fact the extra capacity is only needed one day a week, or during high summer or whenever it may happen to be.

“Fleet managers and operators are still under budgetary and operating pressures, and they’re realising that rental helps to meet peaks in demand without committing to full contract hire and worrying about termination costs and depreciation.

“That also of course avoids the problem of having contract hire vehicles sitting idle because they were taken on to deal with demand that was only ever going to be temporary.

“If structures are changed, companies need to make sure that depth of knowledge isn’t lost.”

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