The Car and Truck Fleet and Leasing Management Magazine

Fourteen-Year Analysis of Fleet Outsourcing Trends

May 2007, by Lauren Colin

Fleets outource specific administrative responsibilities for a variety of reasons — from saving time to saving money. Over the past 14 years, Automotive Fleet has surveyed commercial fleet managers to find out more about outsourcing trends among fleets.

Trends in Funding
In smaller fleets, those with fewer than 200 vehicles, the trend in funding has continued to move toward a higher percentage of company vehicle ownership (46.7 percent in 2006 compared to 28.4 percent in 1992) over leased vehicles (33.3 percent in 2006 compared to 63.4 percent in 1992). In fleets with 201-400 and 401-999 vehicles, the trend from 1999 of company vehicle ownership over leasing has reversed, and these fleets are once again leasing more of their vehicles. The larger fleets, representing 1,000 or more vehicles, are increasing their mix of purchased and leased vehicles than in previous years, with an increase of 14.8 percentage points over the 1992 data.

In comparing the 1999 and 2006 data for closed-end vs. open-end leases, open-end leases are becoming a clear preference in all fleets, but it is growing with fleets of 401-999 vehicles.

What Do Fleets Outsource?The following page lists the administrative services that are outsourced to various outside suppliers. A few points of interest:

  1. From 1992 to 2006, the outsourcing of used-vehicle remarketing responsibilities has decreased steadily in smaller fleets (fewer than 200 vehicles), and has increased in the larger fleets (401 and more vehicles).
  2. Fleets with more than 401 vehicles have increased the outsourcing of collision repair, while fleets with fewer than 400 vehicles have remained constant in the outsourcing of those responsibilities.
  3. Subrogation/accident claims collection outsourcing has decreased in the smaller fleets (fewer than 400 vehicles) and has increased in the larger fleets (more than 400 vehicles).
  4. Registration/titling and driver safety education is increasingly outsourced across the board in all fleet sizes.
  5. Fleets with 401-999 vehicles increased outsourcing in almost all areas.

Additional Responsibilities
A decreasing number of fleet managers are able to say that fleet is their only responsibility. More fleet managers are asked to do a lot beyond the call of fleet.

According to our results, fleet managers with fewer vehicles (400 and less) decreased their responsibilities for meeting, travel, and facilities management when compared to larger fleets.

Additional responsiblities fleet managers perform not included in Chart 4 are (but not limited to): expense report management, product acquisition, accounting, contract management, supply chain management, logistics, insurance, and risk management.

Fleet Management Satisfaction
Commercial fleet managers responding to this survey were also asked to rate, on a numerical scale of 1 to 10, how they feel management appreciates their accomplishments, whether they are concerned that the company-provided fleet will be eliminated in favor of a driver reimbursement plan, and whether they are concerned that their work will be outsourced to a fleet management company, thus eliminating their position. The replies are listed below, “1” representing absolute disagreement and “10” representing absolute agreement.

In 2006, there was an increase in management’s appreciation of fleet manager accomplishments, and less a concern that fleet management positions will be eliminated.

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