"Managing a fleet is much more than just providing a service".

Published on 07/09/2023, updated on 15/03/2024

Can you tell us what a fleet manager does?

Olivier Suray: The fleet manager is like an orchestra conductor. He acts as an intermediary between all the parties involved in the life of car contracts. They handle the logistical, technical and administrative management of a company’s vehicles, in collaboration with the drivers, human resources and finance departments.

A fleet manager negotiates with partners such as dealerships, importers and service providers.) They also look for the best way to finance vehicles and monitor them until the end of their life with the company.

As well as technical knowledge of the sector, they have a real sense of management. They often have to work to tight deadlines and often limited budgets, while guaranteeing driver satisfaction. Their aim is to make the company’s fleet as profitable as possible.

Can you tell us about changes in your profession?

It’s changing fast these days and has become much more complex. Unfortunately, there is no fleet manager training. Before, we used to ask the most rigorous and organised person in the company to take on this task. At first, they accepted because they were asked. Then they got a taste for it, because it’s a very rewarding job and comes with a lot of demands, particularly from dealerships and car manufacturers.

Today, the profession is becoming more professional. Environmental constraints, multiple tax changes, the electrification of fleets, the increase in the number of cars, as well as supply issues and the management of delivery times, make it difficult to know what to advise companies and drivers.
Mistakes in fleet management strategy can clearly lead to significant additional costs. Unfortunately, there is no “loss on fleet management errors” item in companies’ balance sheets or profit and loss accounts. Otherwise, our management profession would be in even greater demand from companies.

What is the added value of a fleet manager for a company?

I see three main elements. Firstly, and this is crucial, you have to take into account all the constraints of today’s car industry. I’m thinking in particular of the electrification of cars and changes in the taxation of company cars.

Secondly, it is the role of the fleet manager to ensure that the driver identifies with the car he has chosen and is happy with it for everyday use. A choice imposed for one reason or another will sooner or later have an impact on employee motivation and, by extension, on the company.

Last but not least, when offering a company car, the employer must be able to make a profit while minimising staff turnover.

What role do other services such as assistance play in leasing?

In Luxembourg, we live in a service economy. There’s also that little something extra compared with neighbouring countries: proximity. It reinforces the need for service, particularly when it comes to leasing.

What does this mean in practical terms? As a fleet manager, my customers expect more from me than from my French, Belgian or German colleagues. They ask me to innovate, to find solutions that make everything to do with their fleet easy.

Assistance, as offered by ACL, with its range of additional services and à la carte benefits, has its place there. In Luxembourg, managing a fleet must be seen as an additional service, both for the driver and the employer.