Fleet management can often be a complex, on-going process for even the most efficient of SMEs. For those companies with a fleet of 50 or more cars, fleet management can become worthy of a dedicated, full time job role. In this instance, there are generally three options: Manage the fleet through multiple, in-house credit lines, employ a full time fleet manager or outsource the task to a fleet management company.
Manage the fleet through multiple, in-house credit lines
A common choice for the SME is to manage their fleet via a Company Director, who is tasked with the management, and acquiring, of vehicles. For various reasons, some companies find that using one provider for their entire fleet may not be feasible, or they may feel that it is more cost effective to use multiple companies; however this can, in many cases, be a false economy.
Fleet management is a time consuming process, an example of which is that during the sourcing process, the Director will need to gather quotes, which will then need to be compared with the fine print included. Checking details such as the initial down payment, length of term and any specific restrictions can be laborious task, and can often highlight the fact that no fleet quote is the same.
Employ a full time fleet manager
Another option is to employ a full time fleet manager, who generally receives a significant wage given the relative complexity of the job. In addition to the on-going salary, there are also the initial soft costs to consider, such as the recruitment and training process.
Outsource the task to a fleet management company
Finally a company may choose to outsource their fleet management to a dedicated, outside company. Given the issues with the preceding two options, this is often an efficient choice.
However, with a wide range of fleet management companies out there, any SME can find that they are unsure as to who to use. Whilst there are many fleet management companies that deal with contracts that may involve thousands of vehicles, it is advisable that for the SME, a company should be chosen that caters specifically for their market. In doing so, the fleet management company are likely to appreciate the specific needs of an SEM, and be able to adapt easily to requirements and budget limitations.
What services should a reputable fleet management company provide?
A smooth vehicle swap service Ensuring that the logistics of new for old vehicle replacement does not impact upon your business.
Breakdown assistance on all vehicles
Integrity of contracts Ensure that any fleet management contract is thoroughly checked
Mileage management The fleet management company should be proficient in logistics, and avoid pooled mileage agreements that can restrict your business.
National daily rental service A daily rental of a wide range of vehicles should be available at short notice
Volume discounts for those SMEs with a large fleet
Damage log SMS and mobile systems that record any damage in near real time
Driver support services A central number should be provided for drivers that require assistance of any kind.