Cost and Green Priorities Mean Profile of Fleet Manager is Rising, Reports AFP

Date: 10th November 2022

An increasing focus on cost control and environmental measures means that the profile of the fleet manager role is rising in many organisations, the Association of Fleet Professionals (AFP) is reporting.

These changing corporate priorities mean that fleet managers are now more often becoming involved in board level decisions and high level strategic thinking, explained Paul Hollick, chair at the industry body.

He said: “We’re seeing a number of trends come together here. The most visible is probably the environment. This is becoming an increasing priority for many organisations and fleet electrification is very much a central part of their future plans to become carbon neutral or hit zero emissions targets over the next few years.

“This can be seen most obviously in the many businesses who use their livery to show they are using electric vans. The fleet is a visible signal of an organisation’s commitment to green issues and the fleet manager is playing a fundamental role in making that happen.”

The focus on controlling and reducing costs was a direct reaction to current economic turbulence and also highlighted the important role of the fleet department, Paul said.

“Arguably, you can draw a line here back to the pandemic. Lockdowns really brought home to many people – including senior management – the value of fleets, especially commercial vehicles. Fleet managers became directly involved in helping to keep the country running through a genuine crisis and this helped to increase their corporate presence.”

“The heightened profile gained at that time means that the fleet has very much become part of future strategy and, as the economic situation worsens, AFP members are taking a leading  role in cost control and reduction. This is not just about reducing fleet operating costs through making obvious cuts but proposing new and innovative solutions to the fundamental task of moving people and goods around the country. With many day-to-day ‘heavy lifting’ tasks being outsourced, there is a huge demand for in-house, strategic fleet management.”

“It feels as though fleet managers are now being listened to in a manner that has rarely happened in the past.”

Paul said that the AFP was looking to support fleet managers through this shift with resources and training designed to enhance confidence, generate influence and improve presentation skills.

“Many of our members working in corporate environments are highly skilled at their jobs but aren’t used to the spotlight. Today, part of our responsibility as their professional body is to help them adapt to a higher profile as a key element of general fleet upskilling and fleet department succession planning. We plan to offer effective assistance.”