Last October I started thinking about writing a new book on Best Practice in fleet management.
I knew I wouldn’t just be able to sit at a keyboard and start typing; I’d have to get out there and talk to some subject-matter experts about what they were doing. Best Practice is certainly out there but I would have to go out and look for it.
I made a list of the people I wanted to talk to. The list was remarkably long. I certainly needed to talk to contract hire companies, accountants and so on but I also wanted to talk to some fleet managers. Some are doing great things but too often their stories don’t get heard. I realised that if I was going to do this project justice I would have to talk to an awful lot of people first.
One of the more interesting aspects of a recession is that everybody seems to be incredibly busy; it seems we are all having to harder to achieve things that – in retrospect – were a little bit easier to achieve a year ago. This applies to me too. I didn’t think my consultancy clients would be happy if I told them I needed to take eight weeks off to research and write a book.
So, whilst I was really keen to research best practice, I realised I didn’t have the time to do the project justice. And at that point, the penny dropped. I wondered if it would be possible to persuade a group of experts to write a chapter each on their area of expertise. I tentatively started approaching fleet experts and, to my amazement and delight, they said yes.
I set out the ground rules from the start. I wanted it to be a serious book, giving best practice advice to fleet managers and containing real insights that fleet managers would find valuable. I would ask each contributor the sort of questions I thought fleet managers would want to ask and they would provide the answers. This ‘interview’ would become their chapter.
I approached highly-experienced professionals and organisations – the sort of people I would approach if I wanted expert advice on a fleet issue. The responses have delighted me. 44 people have contributed chapters of between 5 and 20 pages; the book will be 600 pages, 250,000 words.
The inspiring thing is that it shows how much innovation is going on right now in every area; leasing, short-term leasing, daily hire, cost and emission reduction, managing the grey fleet, fleet policy, tyres, glass, fast fits, telematics, roadside assistance, remarketing, ECOs, cash for car, salary sacrifice, tax, NI, fuel and fuel cards, credit hire, setting RVs and maintenance budgets, international leasing and fleet management and much more.
It seems that throughout the fleet world there are people who are continuing to innovate, who know there will be winners and losers from this recession and who are committed to being amongst the winners. It’s not all doom and gloom out there.
Professor Colin Tourick