A new organisation aimed at developing and sharing best practice among fleet decision-makers while raising money for charity has been launched.
The Fleet Industry Advisory Group (FIAG) is based on an idea by industry veteran Geoffrey Bray (pictured) and a team of experienced professional fleet managers.
Utilising the knowledge and experience of its founding members - as well as other fleet decision-makers when they join FIAG - the organisation aims to provide fleet advice, consultancy and support through the mentoring of newcomers to the role of fleet manager and less experienced employees with car, van and HGV responsibility.
Additionally, FIAG will publish analytical white paper reports on key industry issues designed to support fleet professionals.
FIAG will officially launch on Wednesday, May 21 when it stages a Launch Workshop focusing on fleet vehicle procurement and purchasing best practice entitled Experience - Driving Change. The event will be staged at the Arnold Clark Group’s GTG Training Academy, Wolverhampton.
A members’ recruitment drive has been launched with FIAG charging a special introductory annual subscription of £350. Members have access to free advice and mentoring, the launch workshop and future similar events and the white papers.
Annually FIAG, a not-for-profit organisation, plans to make a donation to Hope for Tomorrow, a national charity dedicated to bringing cancer treatment closer to patients’ homes by providing a mobile chemotherapy unit to every oncology unit within the UK.
FIAG founder and chairman Geoffrey Bray, who has more than 50 years' fleet industry experience latterly as the founder and chairman of Fleet Support Group before selling the business, which is now known as ARI Fleet UK, said: “The fleet industry continues to evolve and change and for those involved it is important that all aspects of running a fleet are properly understood and standards maintained.
“The goal for every professional fleet manager is to implement a sustainable performance programme in all areas of managing the driver, vehicle and journey.
“The costs involved with running fleets are enormous. However, understanding the
intricacies of fleet is a discipline which, sadly, very few organisations properly understand.
“The traditional fleet manager is now rare and with their passing, companies have lost the knowledge and skill necessary to deliver a cost effective fleet operation. There is a real need to reintroduce into the fleet management process individuals with a clear understanding and the necessary skill and knowledge to deliver professional fleet management.
“It is extremely important that best practice processes are implemented within fleet. FIAG’s masterclass concept will protect investment, improve operational efficiency and safety and, importantly, demonstrate that management is competent and capable.”
Fleet decision-makers that are founding members of FIAG include:
- Graham Bellman, director of fleet services, Travis Perkins, with responsibility for a fleet of more than 4,500 vehicles and about 4,000 items of plant
- Ian Houseley, health, safety, environment and quality director at The Clancy Group and responsible for driver risk management and training for a fleet of more than 1,500 vehicles
- Justin Patterson, who has more than 25 years fleet experience and is responsible for more than 7,500 vehicles across the UK and Europe for MITIE Group
- Ged Raymond, fleet manager of Belron, with more than 35 years industry experience and responsible for the 1,500-strong Autoglass fleet
- Freddie Watts, fleet and transport contracts manager at Office Depot with more than 25 years fleet experience
- Peter Weston, in charge of the Home Retail Group fleet of around 1,300 company cars.
Bellman said: "Being a member of FIAG opens up considerable opportunities to interact with like-minded individuals and organisations which share the common aim of achieving best practice in the management of drivers, vehicles and journeys.
"Mentoring, workshops, advisory and user groups, supported by white papers, will provide regular opportunities to learn from other organisations how fleet challenges have been identified and overcome. It is knowing who to talk to when problems
occur that will make managing a fleet and dealing with a variety of challenges easier."
Additionally, FIAG is hoping for support from fleet suppliers. Currently Ian Hill, managing director of vehicle leasing specialist Activa Contracts; and Andy Neale, director of risk management business Automotional, are among the founder members of FIAG.
Hope for Tomorrow celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2013 and earlier this year its sixth Mobile Chemotherapy Unit was launched in Berkshire by Formula One legend Ross Brawn.
The charity, which has a strong automotive industry connection with motor racing icons such as Sir Sterling Moss, Sir Jack Brabham and Derek Bell among its patrons, was founded by Christine Mills following the death of her husband, David, from cancer.
She said: "Each mobile chemotherapy unit costs £260,000 to build and maintain for the first three years. It is our dream to have a mobile chemotherapy unit serving every county across the UK helping as many cancer patients as possible by reducing the miles they have to travel, the associated parking costs and waiting times for treatment and allowing them to have their treatment closer to home.
"We are delighted that FIAG is supporting Hope for Tomorrow, which has already experienced significant financial benefits as a result of FIAG’s commercial vehicle knowledge."
Bray, who recently became a patron of the charity after supporting it from its earliest days, added: "FIAG fulfils two extremely important causes - promoting fleet management best practice among full-time professional fleet managers and employees with part-time responsibility and supporting a charitable cause that provides positive help to people who are affected by the treatment of cancer."