Q&A: ACFO and the ICFM on their extended partnership
In January, ACFO and the Institute of Car Fleet Management (ICFM) announced that they are to work more closely to promote the benefits of professional fleet management and the importance of training and education, coupled with the implementation of best practice.
What’s the thinking behind increased collaboration?
JP: By having people sit on each other’s boards, we can support them, and they can support us.
We’re hoping that by working with the ICFM there are going to be other things that they can bring in, perhaps through their training sessions and working with us on what we’re doing on the seminar programme and making sure things don’t clash.
PH: Recent research suggests that there are around 485,000 end-user fleets – 99% of them being SMEs – collectively operating more than four million cars and vans.
Somewhere in each of those organisations is a stakeholder that has responsibility for vehicles. Membership of our respective organisations will enable those people to better manage company cars and light commercial vehicles as well as ‘grey fleet’ vehicles.
As fleet management increasingly diversifies, how will both organisations ensure they remain current?
JP: That’s the million-dollar question. We know things are evolving, the fleet manager is a changing animal. It’s sitting within various camps now – HR, finance, procurement or facilities.
And that’s how ACFO is changing. We’re changing more for the regional meetings because the standalone fleet managers are going out of business and they’re evolving into other jobs and that’s why we need to make sure we’re relevant.
PH: ICFM and ACFO have continually evolved their membership services and that evolution continues with the two partners forging closer links. Both organisations fully acknowledge that in a rapidly changing marketplace such as the fleet sector, to stand still is to go backwards.
Providing training modules that are relevant, pertinent and reflective of marketplace changes is therefore vital and this is something that the ICFM has always done and will continue to promote.
Similarly, both ICFM and ACFO must engage with the wider fleet community – employees in HR, finance and procurement that have fleet responsibility – but may currently lack the knowledge and skills required.
That engagement will come from diversifying and ICFM and ACFO jointly promoting their messages and programmes more directly to those people and also into the arenas in which they operate and network.
How will ACFO and the ICFM differentiate themselves?
PH: Nigel Trotman will represent both organisations on their respective boards to provide co-ordination. He knows both organisations extremely well having been involved with each for many years.
As I have mentioned previously, ICFM and ACFO offer different benefits, but they are essentially two halves of the same equation. Taking a twin approach to promoting the benefits of both organisations will, I believe, provide dual benefit – membership growth for the two organisations and increased membership benefits for their respective members that will further develop their skill base, their knowledge and experience.
The forging of closer links between ICFM and ACFO is all about the two organisations working more closely together, to jointly offer solutions to employees across all sectors of industry and commerce, that will further enable them to develop and implement best practice techniques in their respective organisations.
JP: I think that’s very clear. The ICFM is a body for education and training. ACFO is a members organisation of fleet operators who are using their experience to try to create best practice and give a voice to the industry.
They are very separate but very complementary – as Paul says, we are two halves of the same equation.