Demand for interim fleet managers is set to increase as public and private sector companies grapple with reviewing current company car and van strategies in todays downturn-affected economy.
This is the view of Ross Jackson, managing director of Fleet Operations, who says many organisations are struggling to implement vehicle policy and procedure changes because they do not have the required in-house professional fleet management expertise and, as a result, lack the time/expertise to address necessary changes.
As a result, the consultancy, which employs a talent bank of 18 experienced fleet managers, is receiving an increasing number of inquiries for its experts to take a hands-on fleet management role to deliver change, financial savings and legislative compliance. Mr Jackson, who has called the companys interim fleet management service FleetPeople, said: We can manage fleets remotely or take a position inside a clients business, but so far most organisations appear to want to have on-site management. Our professional fleet managers will use their experience to deliver change and, over a period of time, can work with the customers own less experienced staff to coach and mentor them.
As a result of the trend for fleet outsourcing, which started in the 1990s, many companies no longer employ a full-time professional fleet manager. In addition, responsibility for fleet has shifted in many organisations to HR, finance and procurement departments. Mr Jackson said: During the economic good times, many organisations appeared happy in a large number of cases to retain the status quo as far as fleet strategy was concerned. But today, as the UK is struggling to come out of a recession, all corporate costs are under the microscope and change in strategy and management are required. As a result, many organisations no longer have the in-house knowledge to focus on strategic and cost management around issues such as fleet funding, vehicle choice lists, operating policies and corporate risk.
Cheshire-based Fleet Operations ability to provide a management solution on either a part-time or full-time basis is underlined by its work for a number of organisations including one leading pharmaceutical customer where the short-term interim management solution is now in its fifth year. Mr Jackson explained: We were approached to handle a specific fleet project. Having delivered on that, we have continued to manage the fleet on an on-going basis, where the organisation has the complete confidence in our team to advise and manage every aspect of fleet. This is about Total Category Management (TCM); not just one narrow aspect of fleet. In todays changing economic world I am convinced that there is a major role for interim fleet managers.
He added: Too many companies see fleet as a necessary cost and do not have a true handle on transport-related expenditure. By bringing in experienced interim fleet management the exact cost base can be quickly captured and areas ripe for change and financial savings can be identified. Financial and risk exposure can all be sense checked and managed effectively and efficiently.
With interim fleet management occurring for as little time or as long as required, we can provide leadership with a clear vision of the desired end, and focussed expertise that hits the ground running. A major benefit for many customers is that we manage the people so, organisationally, it really is a light-touch service which delivers cost and service efficiencies, managing change and working with employees and senior executives within an organisation to achieve it.