INDEPENDENT ‘deep dives’ by experts into fleet purchasing costs and terms is critical if businesses are to obtain value for money, according to intervention management specialist FleetLocum.
Tony Donnelly, chief executive of Goodwood Corporate Mobility, parent company of FleetLocum, said that Fleets are going through unprecedented levels of changes, due to a variety of issues including Brexit, company car benefit-in-kind tax uncertainty and the growth in the range of vehicle funding solutions available.
However, many organisations have in recent years made the fleet manager job redundant, outsourcing instead to vehicle leasing and fleet management companies, while placing responsibility for managing fleet operations with personnel in HR, finance, procurement or travel management roles.
Donnelly said those organisations often rely on their chosen vehicle providers for expert advice because they lacked the in depth 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.
He added: “Those business partners will not provide independent advice. They may review, current company car provision and talk about mobility solutions, but it is purely a paper exercise. Ultimately fleet solutions will still be provided by the same partners, perhaps simply in a slightly different wrapper.
“Truly independent advice will not be forthcoming because that could mean a client switches to another provider or costs reduce.”
When undertaking a root and branch fleet review it is “super critical” to engage with independent experts with no vested interest in the outcome, Donnelly said.
“FleetLocum will work to arrive at a lease rate – manufacturer support, maintenance provision, and management fees, the real cost of vehicle rental – as opposed to the headline rate – accident repairs, mileage reporting, contract realignment and all the associated costs.
“Even if the time is available, managers then need to spend even more of their time to put in place and police the actions needed to ensure the good work is acted upon.”