With an increasing number of companies managing their fleets globally, understanding international fleet management practices can help us here at home.
In October 2011, Global Fleet Services (GFS), a global organization comprised of regional fleet companies from around the world, held a conference in Brussels to talk about a growing number of localized fleet market trends, concerns and insights. The conference’s post-mortem included the creation of global fleet benchmarks that embrace areas of efficiency, effectiveness and sustainability. Here is a look at a few of their guidelines:
- Be prepared for growth, mergers and acquisitions.
- Structure and communicate your fleet policy.
- Establish country specific requirements to match needs to cultural, legal and financial systems.
- Mirror your fleet policies against senior management corporate initiatives.
- Facilitate volume fleet discount negotiations.
- Establish selectors based on brands available (such as maintenance parts, service and residual value) in the countries where the company operates.
- Determine vehicle usage policies to minimize possible driver discontent and enhance employee retention.
The current global fleet market has a clear victor: China. The country’s fleet capabilities are exponential after surpassing the United States as the world’s largest vehicle market.
According to a survey released last year by Ward’s Auto, a comprehensive data center for the auto industry, China increased its vehicle population growth by 27.5% last year, compared to the United States’ modest 1% growth.
Double-digit growth, however, does not come without double-digit environmental and regulatory concerns that China may not be heeding seriously.
In addition to being the world’s largest contributor to carbon dioxide emissions, China is increasing its reliance on fuel without completely committing to alternative energy. With Brazil and Japan hanging onto China’s coattails, it’s no surprise that sustainability should be any U.S. fleet manager’s priority, not size.