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In Memoriam: Coach's Insights

Comparing the CFO With the Fleet Manager

August 18, 2009, by Ed Bobit - Also by this author

Most of my life, and until quite recently, I have always unconsciously felt like there were many levels that separated the two positions within a company.

A few weeks ago, I altered my reasoning and actually found a number of similarities between the two responsibilities.

Each answers to a higher power to whom they serve and are subservient to them.  Both are charged with protecting the assets of the company while being expense-conscious.

Both contract with and monitor outside contractors; i.e. the CFO with their bank, payroll vendor, and other suppliers with which there were negotiations in selecting. Same goes for the fleet manager who must deal with a fleet management firm, and/or a remarketing, safety, or other supplier.

While the CFO is tasked with the financial welfare of all associates, the fleet manager may have dozens or hundreds of drivers who look to him/her for interpreting the company's policies, their safety, and a myriad of management support.

My question now is why does the ordinary outsider (as did I until very recently) view the CFO as far more superior in every way? Why does executive management do the same thing? Where are we going wrong in crusading for this understanding?


  1. 1. Brian Reynolds [ December 04, 2009 @ 01:50PM ]

    Fleet Managers are expected to operate more like IT managers within the corporate world. When we pick up a phone, we automatically expect to hear a dial tone. When we turn on our computer, we automatically expect that we can connect to the internet and all our applications without hesitation. These things are expected to work without fail. Much the same, staff expect a vehicle to be available, and fully functional when they turn the key.

    As part of the support structure of most organizations, a fleet manager will only be recognized when something is wrong in the normal operations. We are not generally considered part of the front line of operations (excluding transportation industry) and are not part of the revenue stream, but rather, we are an expense to the organization in most cases.

    In the world today where most companies are far more concerned with the bottom line than they have been in recent history, the fleet manager will still be left in the dust because savings in the fleet are generally calculated in cents per mile, or cents per gallon. While significant in the volume we deal with, the statistics are hardly attention grabbing when executives are reading their beloved reports.

    Rather than thinking of us as similar to the CFO, I think we are much more like the liver of the organization. Not loved on its own, but when operating properly in the organization as a whole, we are completely necessary and critical to the success and survival of the organization.

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Author Bio

Ed Bobit

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Former Editor & Publisher

With more than 50 years in the fleet industry, Ed Bobit, former Automotive Fleet editor and publisher, reflected on issues affecting today’s fleets in his blog. He drew insight from his own experiences in the field and offered a perspective similar to that of a sports coach guiding his players.

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