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Alphabet research shows significant drop for in-house fleet managers

The AFMR, based on a survey of 250 fleet managers, now includes year-on-year comparisons and shows that the percentage of fleets run by a fleet manager has fallen by nearly half, from 66% in 2011 to 37% in 2012.

This trend was felt most keenly amongst private sector operators; just 27% of the organisations surveyed had an in-house fleet management function, compared to 63% in 2011. In the public sector the pace of change is slower; 67% retain an in-house fleet manager today versus 77% in 2011.

Interestingly the fleet management role was found to have migrated to procurement, finance and, particularly, operations departments. The HR department appears to be less involved in fleet decision-making; its presence in the fleet management process fell by more than half to just 4% in 2012.

The move comes as Alphabet’s research shows that outsourcing on the up. In 2012 the number of fleets saying that they worked with outside fleet management specialists more than doubled. And 40% of those that fully or partially outsource their fleet cited cost-saving as the chief reason for bringing in fleet specialists.

Paul Hollick, sales and marketing director at Alphabet, commented: ‘The fact that three-quarters of private sector organisations no longer have a fleet manager title on the payroll should not be seen as a decline in the need for professional vehicle and driver management. The question is about where fleet responsibility sits within organisations (or outside them if they outsource).

‘Getting policy right is critical to fleet effectiveness and operating costs. But because today’s business systems allow policy to be executed by almost anyone from almost anywhere, the need for a single point of in-house authority and process expertise is diminishing as organisations increasingly turn to outside specialists for services and guidance.

‘The new modus operandi for fleet management today is to outsource the nitty-gritty of fleet operations while decision making on key elements stays in-house.’ 

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.