Businesses risk axing the job of fleet manager at their peril with the industry set to undergo unprecedented change in 2019, according to Tony Donnelly, chief executive of Goodwood Corporate Mobility, parent company of FleetLocum.
He forecasts that demand for professional and experienced fleet managers will soar as employers grapple with the impact of change that notably includes:
- The anticipated 2019 announcement of the shape of company car benefit-in-kind tax post 2020/21
- Motor manufacturers expanding their range of vehicles compliant with the recently introduced Worldwide harmonised Light vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP)
- Potential strategy and policy changes necessitated by the final Brexit agreement following the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union on March 29, 2019
- An increasing number of employees opting for cash instead of a company car due to a perceived rise in the benefit-in-kind tax burden.
What’s more, said Mr Donnelly: “While employers have been very quick to axe the job of fleet manager and outsource management, they may consider that in a time of unprecedented industry change that in-house knowledge and experience is critical.
“That’s why employers that no longer employ a full-time professional fleet manager should consider re-employing experienced fleet professionals on at least an interim basis. The myriad of legislation and how it impacts on fleet strategy and policies should be top of corporate agendas.”
FleetLocum is now 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 company has a bank of fleet managers to provide clear advice and leadership to SMEs and major corporate, public and voluntary sector fleets.
Mr Donnelly said: “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.
“Company car choice lists must be reviewed and amended in the light of models now compliant with WLTP emissions testing and businesses must prepare for the announcement of the new company car benefit-in-kind tax regime following completion of the government’s current review.
“The current lack of clarity around benefit-in-kind tax and WLTP means that some employees are giving up their company car and switching to a cash alternative, which then triggers a raft of duty of care compliance issues for employers that must be taken seriously.
“Additionally, as we await the final Brexit agreement, there is the reality that a ‘no-deal’ will mean additional documentation is required for employees driving in Europe and hiring vehicles on the continent.”
He added: “Businesses must also understand that the government is applying pressure for them to introduce plug-in vehicles to their fleets and, as Clean Air Zones are introduced in towns and cities UK-wide, it is important that vehicles are compliant with entry criteria or else operating costs will rise.
“Amid all that change it is, I believe, vital that an experienced fleet decision-maker is driving organisations’ vehicle operations. 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 ensure a vehicle operation is both fit for purpose and fit for the future.”