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Fleet manager redundancies creating ‘vacuum’ of fleet skills

Staff reorganisations and redundancies as a result of the pandemic are resulting in a skills shortage for those taking over in fleet that could last a couple of years.

Peter Golding, managing director, FleetCheck

Peter Golding, managing director, FleetCheck

Software specialist FleetCheck said it was seeing growing instances of managers with fleet expertise being made redundant or moved into new roles, often leaving responsibility for cars and vans in the hands of people who have relatively limited experience.

Managing director Peter Golding warned that this was an habitual problem during recessions and was starting to occur again.

Golding added: “It will almost certainly create a noticeable vacuum of fleet skills over the next couple of years, as people who newly find themselves in positions of responsibility for company transport have to learn the basics.

“It’s a difficult moment and it is sad to see that some people are losing their jobs, but it is also probably an unavoidable effect of the ongoing crisis of the last few months.”

The issue is something that the Association of Fleet Professionals (AFP) had warned about in September as it urged fleet professionals to underline the contribution they make to their organisations, including cost savings, to highlight the importance of a fleet management focus. It highlighted that the fleet management role within a business can increase efficiency, reduce cost, improve robustness in systems and drive business performance.

For those newly assuming fleet responsibilities as a result of company reorgs, FleetCheck’s Peter Golding said the wider fleet sector could help support them.

“There are really two aspects to this. One is an ethical point of view, that fleet suppliers should be helping businesses as much as possible, even if that means going quite some distance beyond the normal level of what you are contracted to provide. As people, we are all in this crisis together and we should all pull together. This is especially important when it comes to fleet health and safety.

“The other angle is a business one. Where a company has been forced to deskill, it undoubtedly creates new opportunities for fleet suppliers to step in and offer appropriate services that will fill that vacuum.”

He added that FleetCheck was developing a number of initiatives that were designed to help those affected by the new fleet skills shortage and these would launch within the next couple of months.

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for nearly 20 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. Natalie edits all the Fleet World websites and newsletters, and loves to hear about any latest industry news.