Fleet Management – How To Manage A Fleet Of Vehicles
Managing a company’s fleet of vehicles is a challenging task, demanding several different skill-sets and disciplines, and requiring the ability to assess and react to a whole range of data and feedback from vehicles and drivers alike.
Many companies these days prefer to outsource their fleet management function to a firm of fleet management specialists because of the increased complexity surrounding the legal and operational aspects of their fleet.
The case for inhouse or external fleet management
Traditionally, many companies have relied on an inhouse fleet or transport department comprising a fleet manager and several fleet administrators – depending on the scale of the job – to tackle the management of their vehicles.
However, the issue of how to manage fleet vehicles is becoming increasingly complicated and involves dealing with legal regulations, environmental considerations, duty of care and driver training – to name but a few of the topic areas.
There is little wonder that the sheer number of responsibilities can often feel overwhelming from an internal perspective, especially when it is allied to pressure on reducing costs, improving productivity and maximising efficiency.
Hence, growing numbers of businesses, when it comes to deciding how to manage fleet vehicles have considered outsourcing their fleet to an independent specialist.
This doesn’t only apply to large businesses with large numbers of vehicles, but is equally applicable to SMEs and smaller companies, as small business fleet management can be outsourced just as effectively.
Why employ a specialist fleet manager?
When outsourcing a business function like the vehicle fleet, it is important to remember that, however experienced an inhouse department is, automotive fleet management is a departure from the organisation’s core business. However, for a specialist provider it is their total and absolute focus and the reason that they trade.
Not only will they be up to date with the latest legal requirements and industry practices around the management of the fleet, but they will also be able to bring a range of technical skills and expertise to bear, including greater manpower, that may be lacking in the originating company.
This means that any new legal, procedural or environmental developments, any changes in the market place, new developments or innovative ideas can be quickly assessed and used to gain an advantage and increase the benefits to the business.
Piecemeal not wholesale
Any company faced with the issue of internal versus external fleet management could also consider outsourcing the fleet on a piecemeal rather than wholesale basis, and bringing in a specialist to handle certain aspects of the fleet operation.
Amongst the many fleet-related functions that can also be successfully outsourced to a specialist provider on a piecemeal basis are:
- Vehicle sourcing and purchasing
- Funding management
- Fleet administration
- Fuel management
- Accident management
- Duty of care, including risk management and driver training
- Driver contact
- Vehicle tracking
- Vehicle disposal
This means that the company considering outsourcing as an option for the management of their vehicles could cherry pick certain areas of the fleet operation where they felt they were weak or where they wanted to increase focus.
Benefits of a fleet specialist
For most businesses, the only reason they have a fleet in the first place is to mobilise their workforce or reward their employees. Managing vehicles is not their core competence, but rather a by-product of another business activity.
So, it should be the job of the appointed fleet management specialist to ensure that the company’s staff are happy and comfortable with their choice of vehicles, taken care of when they need help and support with a range of driver-related services, as well as being given the right tools to do their jobs.
In the case of a total outsource arrangement, somebody within the organisation will still be needed to work with the chosen fleet management provider at a strategic level, so that there is a defined contact point between supplier and originating company.
This will ensure that there is a match in terms of the personalities involved, that systems are employed which are easy to use and interrogate, and that meaningful, easily accessible management information is readily provided to help the business’s ability to make good decisions.
The new supplier also needs to demonstrate transparency in everything they do. For the business considering outsourcing the vehicle fleet, it is important to know that they can completely trust that partner and work with them on a daily basis.
How CLM can help
CLM Fleet Management has been providing bespoke fleet management services for over 35 years and offers a complete portfolio of fleet management products and services that ensure its UK-wide clients’ fleets are run as efficiently and cost effectively as possible.
As a leading fleet management provider, CLM prides itself on supplying customers with a transparent and reliable services, which are completely tailored to their businesses.
CLM has all the resources and expertise required to keep a fleet on the road – all the business has to do is to decide whether to go down the wholesale or piecemeal outsourcing route.
For example, we have clients that just choose us for the management of the maintenance of their vehicles and nothing more. On the other hand, other businesses opt to use us to manage the entirety of their fleet operations.
If you would like more details regarding how to manage a fleet of vehicles or would like more information on outsourcing the management of your fleet to a specialist provider like CLM, please get in touch.