Fleet on Fleet: Tim Watts of Perfect Circle
You’ve worked on both sides of the fence previously, running a fleet and then for a leasing company. What was it like branching out on your own?
I have been very fortunate in that I have had a career that has allowed me to gain perspective of our industry from a number of viewpoints. The knowledge I have gained has given me a unique value to my clients in transferring that knowledge into tangible actions to help improve their business efficiency. The challenge of going it alone to sell that skill set has been at times pretty scary but ultimately one of the most rewarding decisions I have ever made.
Do you purely provide consultancy or do you run outsourced fleet management for your clients?
When we started the business it was pure consultancy, which has evolved so that we now offer both consultancy and a strategic vendor management solution, allowing us to provide guidance and feedback at board and operational level.
When you meet a new client, typically what are the three areas where you are able to save them the most money?
We prefer to focus on efficiency. If you get the efficiencies right then the money savings will follow as a natural by-product. Every client has their own challenges and objectives, no two are exactly alike. Making sure we understand exactly what we are dealing with is always a priority. Clear transparency of data so that the full cost of fleet and how these can be influenced is essential. After all, if you can’t see it, you can’t manage it.
My presumption is that it is much easier for you to work with a client who has retained someone inhouse with a financial and practical interest in and knowledge of fleet? Is that right?
Yes, absolutely, it’s becoming rarer for the client to employ a dedicated fleet manager, this is where Perfect Circle Management really adds value as we are able to offer a missing level of knowledge and expertise.
What’s the next big thing we should all be worrying about in fleet?
That’s an interesting question. The UK fleet sector is a very exciting and dynamic one, where we are used to seeing constant change in every aspect, from the vehicles we drive through to regulations impacting both drivers and their employers. At times I am sure it can feel very daunting for fleet operators when planning for their future. The challenge of operating a fleet that meets business objectives, keeps drivers happy, all within a framework that seeks constant business improvement through lower costs and meeting compliance is still mainly rooted around three things. That is the vehicle, the driver and the journey.
What’s your greatest success story?
To have built a career working in every aspect of motor vehicle transport, including franchised dealerships, HGV distribution, rental, leasing, accident and fuel management and to have pulled all of this experience together to offer my clients tangible value and efficiencies through my own company. I truly consider myself blessed to be doing a job I love in a dynamic and exciting industry surrounded by talented, hardworking and resourceful people.
Time for a hobby outside of work?
Managing a business challenges the ideal work–life balance but when time allows I’m a keen amateur musician. I’ve played and recorded drums in various bands over the years, including everything from a Blues Brothers tribute band to original bands playing festivals all over the UK. Perhaps it was those early years trying to get our broken down van going again on the way home from gigs that got me interested in fleet! I’m also a keen if not fast runner and am currently training to run the Royal Parks Half Marathon in London next month.