25 Tips for Optimized International Fleet Management

As Fleet Europe celebrates its 25th anniversary, it is tempting to think of all the things that have changed since 1997. Indeed, the Fleet & Mobility industry has been transformed, new trends have emerged and new players have emerged. What hasn’t changed: the essentials for successful international fleet management.

Managing international fleets is a daunting task, but like other daunting tasks, it can be broken down into smaller, more manageable parts. Here are 25 tips that will go a long way in helping you climb that mountain.

  1. Establish a cross-functional team. Fleet management is not just about fleet managers. Since the rise of digitization, electrification, and smart mobility, it’s key to engage all relevant stakeholders on your team: purchasing, HR, finance, security, facilities, CSR, and more. Make sure they are empowered to act. With the current move towards Mobility Management, don’t forget Legal.
  2. Get high-level support. Fleet management is a complex exercise in many departments. The main condition for success is getting top management buy-in to your fleet and mobility strategy and initiatives.
  3. clarify your purpose. Some people within your organization may find some aspects of vehicle fleet management counterproductive or counterintuitive. Formulate and communicate the purpose behind your actions as clearly as possible and underline the benefits to various stakeholders; In other words, look beyond individual issues like cost savings.
  4. Collect as much information as possible. Fleet managers are often asked to make educated guesses rather than fact-based choices. These become difficult to do well without the necessary education and knowledge.
  5. Be excellent at managing stakeholders. Your success depends on buy-in from your stakeholders. Understand your requirements and match your initiatives with your success.
  6. Vehicle Selection. Rate vehicles using a series of criteria. First, if they can fulfill their business purpose, then TCO (ie including depreciation, financing, VAT, maintenance and repair, fuel). And don’t be scared of EV!
  7. Develop the policy. Establish a structure that guides all aspects of mobility: from the provision of fully paid company vehicles (Who is entitled and what are their options?) to the commercial use of private vehicles and other modes of mobility.
  8. Establish processes. These should aim to support the policy and deliver the required results, and may include reporting systems, fuel delivery methods, servicing and maintenance arrangements, among others.
  9. Set KPIs. Identify a set of actionable key performance indicators to measure and monitor the implementation of your policy. These can include mileage, CO2 emissions and cost, both at the company and individual level.
  10. Use Europe as a reference. Your company’s knowledge of the European fleet industry in general can serve as the basis for a SWOT analysis to identify market particularities, key cost drivers, fleet types and sizes, TCOs, etc.
  11. Communicate with your countries. Meet the Purchasing and/or Fleet Managers in your markets, but also the influencers along the value chain. Hold workshops to understand local peculiarities and build international consensus.
  12. Seek synergy and integration. Ask larger countries to manage certain general aspects of fleet management within a larger region. Extend best practices and purchasing agreements across multiple countries and regions.
  13. Build supplier relationships. Identify a manageably small number of OEMs, leasing and/or fleet management companies, and/or other partners closest to your needs, and develop a relationship with them. Will this partner be able to help with all my countries, be reactive to my company’s requests? How far can we travel the road together? It is best to ask these questions before signing a partnership.
  14. Establish a clear procurement process. Use a well-rounded procurement strategy based on a bidding process that includes RFIs and RFPs.
  15. Understand the customer. Take into account the needs and desires of the internal customer, the driver or the employee, but internalize the vision of your company so as not to lose sight of the external customer either.
  16. Manage performance. Continually focus on improvement, prioritizing areas where cost benefits will be greatest, for example by targeting worst cases.
  17. Make a concerted effort to downsize. Convince managers of the feasibility and benefit of reducing engine size, fuel consumption and overall fleet size.
  18. Outsource sparingly. Do it for what is necessary. Administrative and office processes are ripe for outsourcing, but strategic management decisions must always remain in-house.
  19. check regularly. Establish quarterly reviews with preferred vendors (OEMs, leasing companies, etc.) and monthly engagements with your various markets (focus on cost, efficiency, and compliance).
  20. update regularly. Review the policy with key stakeholders and value chain partners. Policies, processes and procedures may need to be updated to reflect developments in the organization, legislation, the market or your own fleet.
  21. embrace technology. Explore new business models and new technologies, but do your homework. Make sure it fits your mission and start with a test run of a modest portion of the fleet.
  22. Don’t make yourself indispensable. Fleet management is a highly specialized job. But resist the temptation to become indispensable. That limits both their own career prospects and the efficient management of their own fleet.
  23. Be an advocate for change. The pace of change in fleet management is faster than ever, often surprising companies and drivers alike. Translating high-speed change into manageable actions and initiatives, and promoting them, is a quality that will be appreciated.
  24. Check experience. Talk to your peers, attend events or buy consulting. Unlike information, which is often readily available, experience is rare to find out in the open. Engaging with experts and learning from them will speed up the achievement of your goals.
  25. Analyze market signals. The chip shortage was announced at the beginning of 2021, but the market only reacted in 2022. Analyzing the market signals will give you an advantage and eventually avoid business interruption.

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