Demand for interim fleet managers is set to increase as public, private and voluntary sector organisations grapple with reviewing current company car and van strategies amid unprecedented uncertainty across the industry.
That is the view of Tony Donnelly, chief executive of Goodwood Corporate Mobility, parent company of FleetLocum, which is expanding in the UK having typically provided organisations on the continent with experienced fleet and mobility decision-makers on a temporary or interim basis.
The FleetLocum team has more than 50 years’ combined experience of running fleet operations, but Mr Donnelly is currently looking to recruit more expertise to meet anticipated demand, while simultaneously establishing the business in the UK.
He said: “FleetLocum has been in existence for more than five years but delivered its services through a partner based in Belgium. I am keen for FleetLocum to establish itself in its own right in the UK, while also continuing to operate overseas, providing clear advice and leadership working with SMEs and major corporate, public and voluntary sector fleets.
Mr Donnelly continued: “Many UK organisations are struggling to implement vehicle policy and procedure changes because they do not have the required in-house professional fleet management expertise.”
Consequently, FleetLocum is already receiving an increasing number of inquiries for its talent bank of experts to take a hands-on fleet management role to deliver change, financial savings and legislative compliance.
As a result, Mr Donnelly said: “We are seeking more people with fleet management expertise to help what I believe is a growing number of organisations adjust their fleets to take account of the myriad of factors that are influencing vehicle choice and operations.”
Issues confronting fleet decision-makers currently include:
- Reviewing existing company car choice lists and compiling new ones in the light of implementation of the new Worldwide harmonised Light vehicles Test Procedure governing vehicle emissions and fuel economy
- The continuing fallout from the 2017 tax changes – known as Optional Remuneration Arrangements – impacting on both car salary sacrifice and car or cash allowance programmes
- Fleet vehicle renewal programmes to ensure compliance with the anticipated plethora of Clean Air Zones expected to be introduced in towns and cities across the UK, including April 2019’s implementation of an ultra-low emission zone in London
- Government pressure for fleets to embrace plug-in vehicles that can be further expanded to include a review of fuel types operated and whether diesel remains the number one choice.
To that list can also be added the broad remit of cost management and managing employees’ expectations and available benefits; the impact of Brexit negotiations and the UK leaving the European Union in March 2019, the continuing impact of May 2018’s introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation and overall health and safety compliance.
Mr Donnelly said: “Fleets are going through unprecedented levels of changes, but many organisations have in past years made the professional fleet manager job redundant, outsourced operations to vehicle leasing and fleet management companies and, subsequently, placed responsibility for fleet operations with personnel in HR, finance, procurement or travel management roles.
“Many organisations have decided that fleet is a non-core activity, but those same companies and public and voluntary sector employers would, I believe, find it difficult to function efficiently without an effective, well-managed company car and van operation. Furthermore, they lack the in-house knowledge and experience to focus on strategy and cost management around issues such as fleet funding, vehicle choice lists, operating policies and corporate risk in a changing world.
“FleetLocum manage fleets remotely or take a position inside a client’s business with our professionals using their experience to deliver change and cost savings over a period of time that will ensure a vehicle operation is both fit for purpose and fit for the future.”
FleetLocum’s charges vary and can be based on a day rate, per vehicle managed or an individual fee per project. The business can provide organisations with an experienced fleet manager on a temporary, interim or permanent basis and can also provide for maternity/paternity or long-term illness cover.
Mr Donnelly concluded: “FleetLocum is totally independent of all external automotive, travel, banking/finance and insurance influences and can justifiably provide businesses with a transparent, unbiased and structured management strategy.”