Being a fleet manager can be a rewarding career – you’re faced with fresh challenges on a regular basis as well as having the responsibility of managing expensive assets in an ever-changing environment.
But it’s not an easy job, so what makes a good fleet manager? We look at the qualities best suited to the role and from there, share our five tips to help with your success…
How to become a fleet manager
There are several ways to become a fleet manager and the route you take will very much depend on where you are in your career.
There are no set qualifications needed, with work-based learning, skills training and higher education courses available to support your career progression.
The academic route
If you take this route there are several options open to you – further education courses such as BTEC, HNDs and degrees.
If you’re thinking of a career change then you may want to consider courses run by the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply (CIPS) and the Chartered Institute of Personal Development (CIPD). The latter provides a good basic understanding of HR, people and leadership.
Similarly, the Fleet Transport Association’s Commercial Vehicle Fleet Management pathway has been developed in partnership with City & Guilds. This is an industry recognised qualification evidencing a good level of efficiency.
The work-based route
Not all of us are set out for academia, so why not consider an apprenticeship scheme, giving you the chance to learn on the job while also earning a salary?
Alternatively, consider joining an organisation at a lower level to gain a good understanding of the industry. Make it clear during job reviews that you wish to progress in the industry and never be afraid to put yourself forward for opportunities.
The benefits of networking
We always recommend making the most of networking opportunities. Groups such as the Association of Fleet Professionals, the British Vehicle and Leasing Association (BVRLA), Logistics UK and Fleet Industry Advisory Group (FLAG) host regular events that are worth going to. Also, keep an eye out for any events taking place, such as ride and drive events, shows and conferences.
Skills you need to become a fleet manager:
The ability to multi task
This is a job that requires you to think on your feet – unscheduled vehicle downtime, driver availability and managing costs with fluctuating budgets means having to deal with multiple tasks on a daily basis. It can be a fast-paced role and, at times, not for the faint hearted!
Like every other department in your business, the fleet sector has to balance tight budgets. Costs continue to spiral albeit whilst funds get cut, so there’s always a balancing act between providing a top rate service albeit at minimum cost.
The pace of change in terms of technology and legislation is very fast, so you need to adopt flexible working methodologies. You’ll need to be aware of changes, understand how they will impact your fleet and find the best ways to deal with them.
Choosing the most appropriate communication channels and ensuring that the correct messages are received is a skill. If you get this right you’ll make all the difference in securing that all-important buy-in from staff.
The ability to inspire confidence and trust is, in our view, essential. The ability to quickly analyse information and solve problems is critical, too.