Diary of a fleet manager: Month Four
24 June 2022
Our anonymous insider gives the lowdown of another exciting month in the life of a fleet manager.
I have to say I'm feeling a bit dejected today, and I'll tell you why. Our bosses run a bi-monthly competition for an extra day's holiday, and a whopping £25 gift, with all work colleagues voting for the person they think most deserves it.
I think I have bent over backwards trying to address all sorts of problems and issues, day and night. You may remember the ripped tyres in deepest darkest Dorset, where I managed to locate replacement tyres in record time just so the drivers could get home that night. Or the SOS button incident, and all the cracked windscreens I have managed to get replaced. Despite the thank yous, and all the offers of drinks and other goodies, not one of those offers has materialised.
So, I thought I might be in with a shot at getting that extra day off (to read Business Car from cover-to-cover obviously), but no, I didn't even get that. No, Miss X in the office who posts out stationery, including coloured paperclips got the most votes, apparently the coloured paper clips brighten up their day - unbelievable. I know where I'd like to stick the coloured paper clips.
As I said before, as did everyone else in the world, we need more vehicles. Recently, with the help of our leasing company, I managed to find some vehicles after much hard work and negotiating. Eventually the planets aligned, the sun shone on me and hey-presto, I got them signed off by our MD. I explained in great detail to him, they were not exactly what we normally have, but he said anything is better than nothing. I ordered them and a few weeks later they arrived, shiny and new. I skipped into work, smiled at innocuous objects, oh was I happy. But then it all changed, the MD summoned me to his office, a big bonus perhaps, a great big thank you. No, I was greeted with a, 'what have you done, those new vans in the car park are the wrong colour - they are not our company colours! What is going on?'
I reminded him of what I had promised, which he had agreed to it, and had in fact signed off. It then turned into a bit of a panto scene: "Oh no you didn't, oh yes I did, didn't, did, didn't, did." Even after all that, he still was not happy.
Drivers do get a certain amount of choice in the cars they can choose, but with monthly payments I try and keep within budget (compared to before I got this job, when it was just a 'free for all'). But I do not think many of our drivers have heard about shortages of products, not only cars, but all sorts of everyday goods; you can't even find aluminium dishes now, due to the shortage of aluminium generally, which is affecting the take-aways I order - sorry, I digress.
Our drivers, probably like yours, are very particular and picky, they want this colour and they want that spec. I tell them I will try, but invariably some requests are impossible to get. I have now got to the stage where it is a bit of a 'take it or leave it' situation, and I get what I can.
I promise them one thing: that what they actually want is unlikely to be available. But as a true professional fleet manager, I do try my best to get as close as possible to what they want, but at the moment though, it's almost impossible.