Fleet Logistics reports significant pan-European growth in 2011
During the year, Fleet Logistics Group grew its managed fleet throughout Europe to over 100,000 vehicles, offsetting the loss of one major customer with the signing of several substantial and important contracts with major European and international fleet operators.
‘In what was a good, albeit challenging year, this was healthy, organic growth with existing fleet customers entering new countries, as well as completely new customers coming on board,’ said Peter Soliman (Inset), chief executive officer.
There were two key trends across Europe that had driven the growth, Soliman explained. ‘We have seen continued centralization of fleet decision-making at large international corporations, which in turn increases their requirement for a pan-European fleet management supplier, capable of providing complete transparency across Europe on a like-for-like basis.
‘This centralization has also led to increased professionalization of our customer decision-makers, which in turn requires an advanced understanding of the market and more complex information management, rather than a simple need for funding.
‘At the same time, increased cost pressures over the last year, with much of Europe, especially southern Europe, having been in recession and many US-based companies also looking to reduce costs.
‘In such economic circumstances, we at Fleet Logistics, with our sourcing and outsourcing capabilities, traditionally excel in this sort of environment.’
Soliman said he did not expect economic and financial conditions to ease in 2012 and that cost cutting would remain at the top of the pan European fleet agenda.
Another factor in the company’s continued success was the deep relationships that it had built with the major leasing companies across Europe, many of which Fleet Logistics worked very closely with to provide the levels of service that its customers had come to expect.
‘Fleet Logistics continues to be highly committed to holding and building good relationships with the leasing companies,’ said Soliman.
‘This is absolutely essential for our business model, and, as a result, we are committed to not competing with the leasing company business models and to act as a fair broker between the fleet customer and leasing supplier. We want both parties to be profitable and successful.
‘We thank all the leasing companies who have supported us over the past year and especially those who have opened themselves up to us for the first time,’ he added.
Fleet Logistics has also seen regional expansion during 2011 in line with its growth plans, with another office being added in Spain and a new office opened in Helsinki to give a greater presence, backed by additional investment, in the Nordics region.
‘As well as new offices in Spain and Finland, we have also added Czechoslovakia and Slovakia to our portfolio this year. Each new office is a major investment in money and time for us but we are committed to expanding in these new regions.
‘We have also established our business in Switzerland under our own flag this year ending a previous partnership with Carnet, due to the conflict between leasing and fleet management under one roof,’ said Soliman.
One of the most significant new developments of 2011, of course, has been the strategic partnership that the company announced in the summer with international technical services corporation, TÜV SÜD, and its German fleet management subsidiary, Fleet Company.
The new strategic partnership was established to deliver a number of key benefits for fleet customers, including greater financial stability through increased scale, an extended service portfolio plus a global infrastructure to support global reporting, as well as an improvement in operational quality through a deep process focus and insight into other parts of the automotive value chain.
The two established brands of Fleet Logistics and FleetCompany continue to co-exist side by side, with Fleet Logistics continuing its focus on managing full service lease contracts for large international clients while FleetCompany maintains its focus on outright purchase fleets.
‘This new venture has been very much about going for growth in the long term. It is moving along well with an emphasis on the fleet market in Germany,’ Mr Soliman.
Other new ventures during the year have included the first roundtable meeting for major fleet decision makers to be held in Paris in the summer, complementing the already well established meetings in the UK in the spring and Germany in the autumn.
Fleet Logistics has also continued to invest heavily in systems and new developments in IT. This commitment has included new initiatives such as global reporting, which has seen significant interest from fleet customers over the past year as their responsibilities have expanded to broader regions, and a new portal for fleet managers to provide a greater insight and increased control of the operation of their vehicle fleets.
‘We will continue to make significant investment in these areas to ensure that we provide our customers with the levels of customer service and management information that they require,’ he concluded.