10 May 17

20 Tips for an optimised international fleet management

Like many other daunting tasks, international fleet management can be chopped up into smaller segments that are easier to oversee and successfully execute. Here are twenty tips that will go a long way to helping you climb that mountain.


  1. Establish a cross-functional team.  Fleet management is not just about fleet managers. Involve all relevant departments in your team: procurement, HR, finance, safety, CSR, etc. and make sure they are empowered to act. With the current move towards Mobility Management don’t forget Legal.
  2. Get top-level support. Fleet management is a complex exercise across many departments. Increase the chances of success by getting top management involved and supportive of your project.
  3. Clarify your purpose. Some aspects of fleet management may seem counterproductive or counterintuitive to some within the organization. Formulate and communicate the purpose behind your actions as clearly as possible and underline the benefits for the various stakeholders.
  4. Vehicle selection. Qualify vehicles via a number of criteria, firstly whether they can fulfil their business purpose, then on TCO (i.e. including depreciation, funding, VAT, maintenance and repair, fuel).
  5. Develop the policy. Establish a structure that guides all aspects of mobility: from the provision of fully expensed company cars (who is entitled and what are their options?) to business use of private cars, and other mobility modes.
  6. Establish processes. These should aim to support the policy and deliver the required outcomes, and can include reporting systems, fuel provision methods, service and maintenance arrangements – among others.
  7. Establish KPIs. Identify a series of workable Key Performance Indicators to measure and monitor the implementation of your policy. These may include mileage, CO2 emissions and cost – at both company and individual levels.
  8. Use Europe as baseline. Your company's knowledge of the overall European fleet industry can serve as a baseline for a SWOT analysis to identify market particulars, key cost drivers, fleet types and sizes, TCOs, etc.
  9. Communicate with your countries. Get to know the Purchasing/Fleet Managers throughout your markets, but also the value chain influencers. Hold workshops to understand local peculiarities and build an international consensus.
  10. Look for synergy and integration. Ask larger countries to manage certain overall aspects of fleet management within a wider region. Extend best practices and purchasing agreements throughout multiple countries and regions.
  11. 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 listening to all my countries, be reactive to my company requests, can we walk the road together? It’s better to ask these question before signing a partnership.
  12. Establish a clear procurement process. Use a well-outlined procurement strategy, based on a tender process that includes RFIs and RFPs.
  13. Understand the customer. Keep in mind the needs and wants of the internal customer – the driver or employee – but internalize your company’s vision in order to not lose sight of the external customer either.
  14. Manage performance. Continuously focus on improvement, prioritise areas where cost benefits will be greatest, for example by zooming in on worst-cases.
  15. Make a concerted effort to downsize. Convince managers of the feasibility and benefit of reducing engine size, fuel consumption and overall fleet size.
  16. Outsource sparingly. Do it for what is necessary. Administrative and clerical processes are ripe for outsourcing, but strategic management decisions should always remain in-house.
  17. Review regularly. Establish quarterly reviews with preferred suppliers (OEMs, lease companies, etc.) and monthly engagements with your various markets (focus on cost, efficiency and compliance).
  18. 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.
  19. Embrace innovation and technology. Explore new business models and new technology, but do your homework. Make certain that it fits the mission and start with a test run of a modest portion of the fleet.
  20. Don’t Become Indispensable. Fleet management is a highly specialised job. But resist the urge to become indispensable. That limits both your own career prospects and the efficient management of the fleet itself.

Authored by: Steven Schoefs