A time of “massive change” – that’s how Simon Gray describes his first 15 months as head of fleet at Mitie.
During that period, Mitie has downsized its fleet team and started outsourcing a large part of its fleet management to Lex Autolease.
Of course, when your fleet is replacing 100+ vehicles every month, change is a common currency. It requires robust operating controls and reliable suppliers to ensure the process doesn’t descend into chaos.
Historically, Mitie’s fleet solution was to manage everything itself in the belief that it was squeezing every last drop of efficiency from the process. Vans were bought outright and fitted by its own technicians, and cars were funded in a variety of ways, including contract hire.
There were efficiencies, but it was also a complex set-up – not helped by the fact that different parts of the Mitie business were responsible for some elements of their fleet.
Last year, everything began to change with a decision to outsource a sizeable element of the operation to, and increase the working partnership with, Lex Autolease. The four-year transition programme started in May and Gray believes he has struck the ideal balance between in-house controls and outsourced efficiencies.
The catalyst was the coming together of the company’s various divisions into a more centrally administered business with cross-company decisions becoming easier to implement.
“We have outsourced to Lex to bring our fleet management into the most efficient supply base possible,” Gray says. “We have unified our approach and it is easier to manage.”
One of those efficiencies was to streamline the number of supplier partners and funding options. Contract hire with maintenance via Lex Autolease is now favoured for cars and vans, while suppliers outside of direct vehicle supply have reduced from around 50 to three (Allstar, Jaama and Masternaut).
“When I took over we fitted out our vans in our own garage – we have streamlined that via Lex into [vehicle converter] Gentili,” Gray says. “We have one main provider, Lex, for our main vehicle supply baseline, and our other suppliers feed into that relationship, including Vauxhall and Lookers Group. There are cost savings but also operational benefits by reducing our supplier base.”
Some of the savings came from the difficult decision to reduce the central fleet team headcount from 19 people to seven: fleet operations manager, fuel card management, daily rental, fuel compliance, systems management, vehicle ordering and general admin.
They are supported by administrators who sit within each business to oversee day-to-day functions such as licence checking, fuel cards and vehicle changes.
Article from Fleet News
Posted on 24th February 2017
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