ICFM PREPARES FLEET DECISION-MAKERS IN RECORD NUMBERS FOR A WORLD OF UNPRECENTED AND RAPID CHANGE

Posted On : 21st Mar, 2018

  • 2018 Training Award recipients receive recognition
  • ICFM Honorary Fellowships for industry leaders
  • Fleet chief appeals for ‘clear government strategy’ on a clean air future
  • Charging employees for own-fault vehicle damage encourages drivers to think
  • JLR fleet chief backs Euro6 diesel engine technology as ‘part of the future’
  • Electrification of Britain’s fleets will ‘increasingly happen’ over next five years

The rapidly changing face of the UK fleet industry means that ICFM is celebrating a record-breaking 12 months with unprecedented demand for training courses and is closing in on achieving the 1,000-member milestone.

A record 250 fleet professionals attended the 2018 ICFM Annual National Members’ Conference, which celebrated 25 years of the training organisation and looked to its future “amid a massive state of flux”.

A changing world of population growth, globalisation, a ‘connected world’ with the Internet of Things and Mobility-as-a-Service, pollution, a scarcity of natural resources, global instability, the changing behaviour of generations Y and Z and congestion were among the issues, said ICFM chairman Paul Hollick, that meant the traditional vehicle ownership model would change.

With legislation driven by global challenges, the world, including fleet decision-makers needed to adapt, Mr Hollick told the Conference, entitled ‘Fuel for the Future, the Emissions Dilemma’ held on Tuesday (March 20), at The British Motor Museum, Warwickshire, with Jaguar Land Rover as host sponsor and Chargemaster, the UK’s largest provider of electric vehicle charging points, as headline sponsor. Support sponsors were: Accident Exchange, CD Auction Group, Geotab, Jaama and Selsia Vehicle Networks.

The unprecedented list of key issues confronting the fleet industry over the next 24 months included, said Mr Hollick: the continuing ‘demonisation’ of diesel amid air quality concerns; the May 25 introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation; future company car benefit-in-kind tax increases; for fleets that contract hire the lease accounting standard changes effective from January 1, 2019 must be taken into account; the introduction to fleets of ultra-low emission and plug-in vehicles; the continuing fall-out from the April 2017 introduction of Optional Remuneration Arrangements (OpRA); on-going concerns around occupational road risk; the introduction of autonomous vehicles and related concerns around terrorism and cyber security; and the ever-present topic of ‘big data’.

Against that background, Mr Hollick said: “The future is approaching faster than we think. The time to act is now. The challenges faced by fleet managers are of a level the like of which we have not seen before. These are troubling, but also exciting times.”

Furthermore, with company car benefit-in-kind tax increases due in the next three financial years – beyond 2020/21 rates have yet to be announced – he speculated: “Is the government on a mission to tax the company car out of existence. I hope not, but at the moment I don’t know.”

Mr Hollick continued: “But the ICFM is incredibly well placed to support this changing climate – we will always adapt to ensure our members and students are the most equipped, most specialised and most informed from whatever area they come from.

“Skills will change. Manual tasks will cease to exist in their current form and our creative sides will come to the fore. The ICFM is ready. As a progressive organisation, we will adapt training courses to suit the future.”

Now in its 26th year, the goals of the ICFM had not changed, said Mr Hollick: “We continue to focus on our vision. To become the qualification required to be a fleet decision-maker. The de facto stamp of approval that you can do the job and to make fleet management a fully recognised vocation. Employers then search out this qualification when employing a new fleet manager just like they would do for an accountant, an architect or a lawyer.”

Membership of ICFM has grown more than 9% in the past 12 months to almost 900 people and it is also training more employees than ever before including from the leasing sector, motor manufacturers and franchise dealerships as well employees with fleet responsibility working in company procurement, HR, finance and travel departments to help them prepare for the “brave new world” of fleet. Mr Hollick said: “We are closing in on 1,000 members.”

Furthermore, a total of 172 people – 52% women and 48% men – employed across the fleet industry were trained by ICFM in the past 12 months with a 400% growth in demand for its Introductory Certificate in Car and LCV Fleet Management course; and a 20% rise in people undertaking Certificate in Car and LCV Fleet Management and Diploma in Fleet Management courses.

Mr Hollick concluded: “The ICFM is strong and robust, our focus is always on supporting the industry with its significantly changing landscape. We will continue our work while demand and need is there. I’m pleased to report it has never been stronger.”

Conference guest speaker was Gavin Hastings, a former captain of Scotland’s rugby union team who was capped 61 times.

The work of Steve Hook, ICFM training manager since the organisation launched in 1992, was recognised when he was one of two recipients of an ICFM Honorary Fellowship

The Honorary Fellowship recognises services to the fleet industry and the second recipient was Professor Colin Tourick, a leading figure in the fleet industry for almost 40 years. Initially working in the contract hire and leasing sector, he has gone on to launch consultancy Colin Tourick & Associates, is Professor of Automotive Management at the University of Buckingham Business School, co-founder of the International Auto Finance Network and the author of eight books on fleet management.

Profession Tourick, said Mr Hollick, was “a man who has pushed the boundaries of education in our industry. As an author, his books are vital reads for our members. He has helped a generation of fleet managers to be more knowledgeable and better developed”.

Mr Hook, an ICFM board member and training and education manager and the only ICFM member since launch, was said Mr Hollick “an extremely important person to me and the industry. The guide for all students, taking them though the modules, supporting them and developing their skills – some that they never thought they had – he has marked the coursework of more than 2,000 trainees. He transforms people.”

The Peter Moxon Award for the Training Achiever of the Year was won by Maria Williams, fleet administrator, Bristol-Myers Squibb, who successfully completed both the ICFM’s Introductory Certificate in Car and LCV Fleet Management and Certificate in Car and LCV Fleet Management courses.

The winner of the ICFM’s Career Development Award, which recognises personal advancement of their career or helping others advance theirs as a result of ICFM training, was Brian Hardwick, head of operations, Fleet Operations. Not only did he pass the Introductory Certificate in Car and LCV Fleet Management course, but he signed up more than 40 of the company’s employees to ICFM training with many already having successfully completed training at both Introductory Certificate and Certificate level.

Many ICFM members who achieved a qualification in the past 15 months since the last Awards ceremony were recognised with their certificates presented by Mr Hastings.

Introductory Certificate in Car and LCV Fleet Management: A total of 55 people gained the Introductory Certificate. Those who attended Conference were: Tim Peters, regional manager contracts and leasing, BMW Group Government and Authorities Division; Maria Williams, fleet administrator, Bristol-Myers Squibb; Euan Graham, fleet sales operations executive, Daimler Fleet Management; Brian Hardwick, head of operations, Fleet Operations; Dawn Simcoe, account manager, Fleet Operations; Paddy Mannion, risk management team leader, Fleet Operations; Kendal Overy, assistant fleet manager, Lex Autolease; Dean Smith, motor claims co-ordinator, Rydon Group; Beth Pattinson, account executive, Zenith; Collette Hurley, account executive, Zenith; Heather Weldon, account executive, Zenith; Paul Thomas, account executive, Zenith.

Certificate in Car and LCV Fleet Management: A total of 12 people gained their Certificate. Those who attended Conference were: Drew Spellar, commercial head, Ambit; Maria Williams, fleet administrator, Bristol-Myers Squibb; Tracey McFerran, client services and operations manager, Fleet Operations; Nabeel Sheikh, fleet manager, LCH; Philip Smith, fleet administrator, Phoenix Medical Supplies; Kim Harrison, category lead fleet, Crown Commercial Service.

Diploma in Fleet Management and ICFM Fellowship: A total of 11 people gained their Diploma. Those who attended Conference were: Georgina Smith, fleet manager, Healthcare at Home; Dean Waters, fleet and equipment manager, Ideal Boilers; Joanne Buckley, senior fleet manager, South Yorkshire Police; Julie Whyte, car fleet leader, Muller Dairy UK; Jason Gadsby, group fleet manager, Phoenix Medical Supplies; Paul Tate, commodity manager, Siemens; Didier Smith, vehicle storeman, Surrey Police; Kelly Butler, team leader – vehicle data, Surrey Police.

Fleet chief appeals for ‘clear government strategy’ on a clean air future

An appeal for “clear government strategy that we can all hang our hat on” was made by Paul Tate, commodity manager at Siemens and a newly inducted ICFM Fellow.

Mr Tate was speaking during the ‘Fleet Managers’ Excellence in Action’ debate in which in answer to a question on the taxation of electric vehicles and the introduction of Clean Air Zones, he said: “We need to know where we are going for the future.”

The government’s plan to increase company car benefit-in-kind tax on cars with emissions of 0-50g/km of CO2 from 9% in 2017/18 to 13% in 2018/19 and 16% in 2019/20, before reducing to 2% (depending on electric mileage range) in 2020/21 has been criticised across the industry for putting a brake on plug-in car sales; while ministers have passed responsibility to local authorities for introducing Clean Air Zones prompting concerns of an inconsistent piecemeal approach, particularly to entry criteria.

Mr Tate, alongside Dale Eynon, director DEFRA Group Fleet Services at the Environment Agency, and Stewart Lightbody, head of fleet services at Anglian Water Services, each outlined the steps they were taking in introducing plug-in vehicles.

Mr Tate is in charge of 5,000 cars and vans in the UK, which comprise a Siemens global fleet of some 48,000 vehicles.

The company, which operates across multiple industry and business sectors, is on a mission to operate a “clean lean fleet for 2020 and beyond” and to be carbon neutral by 2030. To that end it is introducing ultra-low emission vehicles to its fleet, including electric vehicles, and working to introduce hydrogen-powered models.

The government has already announced that it plans to end the sale of petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2040 – hybrid models will continue to be available – and Mr Tate said: “The countdown to 2040 is on: what is the right strategy for fleet professionals to meet our obligations?”

Pointing out that legislation was changing and influencing vehicle decision-making, he said: “It is key for fleet managers to meet operational requirements. As fleet professionals we need to have the right tools for the job. We need to look to the future and be able to react and set policies. One size does not fit all and only by having intelligent conversations can we arrive at a strategy for the future.”

A total of 6,000 vehicles are provided by DEFRA Group Fleet Services to 13 partners with 4.6% of cars and 6.9% of commercial vehicles classed at ultra-low emission vehicles. What’s more by summer this year all Euro5 diesel engine cars on the fleet will be replaced by Euro6 petrol engine models and by 2025 only petrol hybrid or pure electric models will be bought – 15 years ahead of the government’s data for ending the sale of internal combustion engine cars and vans.

In reference to ramping up fleet penetration of plug-in hybrid and pure electric cars, Mr Eynon said: “We are at a tipping point with more coming on to the market and battery range improving. In two years’ time we will be passed that tipping point.”

Highlighting the availability of plug-in commercial vehicles, Mr Eynon said: “It is more challenging, but there is an emerging market.”

He said it was vital to win drivers’ “hearts and minds” through engagement in the switch to plug-in vehicles – DEFRA has had 20 years of operating diesel vehicles – but Mr Eynon said the introduction of the Worldwide harmonised Light vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP) MPG and carbon dioxide (CO2) emission testing regime meant the latter would rise on a car-for-car basis.

As a result, with air quality a component of the corporate social responsibility agenda, he said: “We need to balance a rise in CO2 emissions by introducing plug-in vehicles. We have been electrifying the fleet for four years and we are at 5%, which is ahead of the market. Our next journey is to get to 2025 and over the next 12 months we will plan that journey to reach our destination.”

The Anglian Water Services fleet currently comprises 700 company cars, 1,800 vans and 200 HGVs and, while Mr Lightbody’s ambition is a 100% electric fleet he realises that “will not happen yet”.

To-date one plug-in hybrid van is on the fleet, but moving forward 45% of company car drivers have selected a plug-in hybrid vehicle to the extent that over the next 12 months he expects to have 250-400 electric vehicles “in scope”.

“The scope of the opportunity is significant, but we cannot just drop diesel today; that does not work,” Mr Lightbody told Conference. “Nevertheless, it is about doing the right thing in the communities in which we live and work. Why wouldn’t you protect the environment?”

Telematics data collected over the last four-and-a-half-years is proving critical to Mr Lightbody in determining where plug-in vehicles could be deployed.

He explained: “We have large pockets of diesel vehicles that do not travel very far. Telematics data is enabling me to understand the scale of the electric vehicle opportunity. Electric vehicles are mainstream and part of the fleet professionals’ toolkit, they are no longer niche. Embrace the opportunity, or we become dinosaurs.”

Charging employees for own-fault vehicle damage encourages drivers to think

Employees at Skanska UK, one of the world’s leading project development and construction companies, pay the cost of own-fault crashes, multi award-winning fleet risk and compliance manager Alison Moriarty told Conference.

Ms Moriarty outlined Skanska UK’s occupational road risk strategy and said it was compulsory for employees to report vehicle damage.

During a Q&A session it was apparent that some fleet managers in the audience were battling with HR departments to introduce a driver recharge policy, but Ms Moriarty said: “It makes employees think about what they are doing when they are driving a company vehicle.”

Typically own-fault vehicle damage costs are recouped through payroll, but if an employee leaves Skanska then a debt recovery process is introduced.

Skanska operates 1,961 company cars, 900 vans and 600 HGVs, has 660 car allowance drivers, 276 occasional drivers and 529 employees who have opted into the company’s ‘green travel’ scheme and use public transport for journeys.

While highlighting that it was “easier to control the risk” in respect of company cars, Ms Moriarty said that all driver and vehicle documentation was “checked by fleet” and until that process was completed employees could not claim any travel-related expenses. “The expenses process is triggered by fleet,” she said.

“The risk is the same no matter what scheme a driver comes under. The ‘grey fleet’ [employees who drive their own car on business journeys] must be viewed in exactly the same way as a company car. A holistic approach in respect of control measures, education and an explanation of the consequences leads to positive outcomes.”

Ms Moriarty said: “All companies are looking at their profit margins. By cutting out vehicle damage you can add a percentage point to your profits.”

Costs that “leak out of a business do so due to a lack of control”, said Tony Greenidge, business development director at IAM RoadSmart.

Arguing that driver training was an investment and not a cost, he explained that observation, anticipation and planning were the three key words to safer driving.

Using industry figures related to a mythical 100-vehicle (80 cars and 20 vans) fleet that clocked up 15,000 business miles per annum per vehicle, was operated on a four-year replacement cycle and suffered an at-fault crash rate of 15%, Mr Greenidge suggested that total unbudgeted costs due to drivers incurring vehicle damage would amount to almost £70,000.

Claiming that the cost of ‘compliance’ via a risk management programme amounted to £5,400, he calculated that the return on investment was more than 12-fold.

Mr Greenidge said: “If a machine needed upgrading and a business could obtain a 10 or 12-fold return on the investment it would do it. But why is when it comes to drivers, investment is not forthcoming?”

JLR fleet chief backs Euro6 diesel engine technology as ‘part of the future’

Today’s generation of fuel-efficient ‘clean’ Euro6 emission compliant diesel engines had a key role to play in the transition to a clean energy future.

That was the claim of Jon Wackett, general manager, fleet and business sales, Jaguar Land Rover, as he gave a sponsors’ welcome to the Conference.

Demand for new diesel cars is falling with the so-called ‘demonisation of diesel’ in the national media particularly blamed for the decline amid claims the technology is responsible for poor air quality. However, Mr Wackett said the new generation of Euro6 diesel engines had carbon dioxide (CO2) figures up to 20% lower than equivalent petrol engines.

Highlighting that changes to Vehicle Excise Duty and company car benefit-in-kind tax due to take effect next month (April) penalised new diesel cars, he said: “They will hurt consumers and the industry. Modern diesels are part of the solution to CO2.”

Explaining that Euro6 diesel engines “were the future as we transition to electric vehicles and a clean energy future”, Mr Wackett said: “There role should be recognised for that.”

Rupert Pontin, director of valuations at automotive industry data providers Cazana, who gave Conference an overview of the UK new and used car market, welcomed Mr Wackett’s clarity on the viability of Euro6 diesel engines and added: “There is a lot of speculation and national press comment about the danger of diesel, but many of those people do not have a full set of information to hand.”

What’s more, he added: “Consumers still see a value in diesel fuel when it comes down to their back pocket and how much a car will cost to run. That is a good thing for fleets.”

Highlighting that diesel car residual values could reduce by around 4.5% in 2018 – those for petrol could potentially rise by 2% and alternatively fuelled vehicles rise by 5% – Mr Pontin explained: “That must be viewed in the overall context of the market and where there is future consumer demand for diesel there may be fewer diesel models returning to the used market and more petrol derivatives.”

The all-new, all-electric Jaguar I-Pace SUV was on display at Conference and Mr Wackett said that by 2020 the brand would have 100% electric, hybrid and mild hybrid options across available across all models.

In addition to the challenges posed by diesel and emissions and a clean energy future, Mr Wackett said two other major issues confronted Jaguar Land Rover – Brexit and the threat of tariffs by United States of America president Donald Trump.

On Brexit – and speaking 24 hours after a transition deal between the UK and European Union was announced – he said in reference to any possible imposition of trade tariffs: “We need equivalent rules for the future and a transition period.”

Furthermore, he called the threat of the United States of America imposing tariffs “a retrograde step for both the United States and UK manufacturing” if the UK was included.

Electrification of Britain’s fleets will ‘increasingly happen’ over next five years

The electrification of Britain’s fleets will “increasingly happen” over the next five years marking the single biggest automotive industry change in 100 years, according to David Martell, founder and chief executive of Conference sponsor Chargemaster.

Alternatively-fuelled vehicles accounted for almost 5% of new car registrations last year, but Mr Martell said: “Electrification will be a focus for fleet managers over the next two to three years.

There are currently around 130,000 plug-in cars on the UK roads and the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders has forecasted that figure would reach one million by 2022, although Mr Martell said while many of those would be operated by fleets demand would be determined by fiscal rules.

Critical to fleet adoption of electric vehicles was, said Mr Martell, the anticipated arrival of more than 80 new plug-in models due to reach showrooms over next three years with many from mainstream volume manufacturers; improvement in battery range with 200 miles “becoming the norm”; a reduction in battery prices; and the growth of the electric vehicle recharging infrastructure with Chargemaster, the UK’s largest provider of electric vehicle charging points, set to double its network to more than 13,000 over the next two years.

Additionally, he highlighted to delegates six considerations when introducing electric vehicles into fleets:

  • Cost savings versus a petrol or diesel vehicle fleet with fuel costs around a sixth lower
  • The importance of an integrated approach to vehicle recharging potentially making use of home, work and public points to achieve cost savings
  • That operating a plug-in fleet was different to operating a petrol or diesel vehicle fleet
  • Plug-in hybrid vehicles could be more expensive to operate than petrol or diesel cars if battery range was not maximised on all journeys
  • Battery electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid vehicles must be regularly charged to maximise efficiencies
  • Government vehicle acquisition and recharging point installation grants were available to help with the transition to a plug-in fleet.

Mr Pontin told Conference that as more plug-in vehicles came to the market with greater battery range “their validity as a car of choice will increase”.

ICFM AGM

Three ICFM board members retired by rotation, but all stood for re-election and were elected unanimously at the ICFM AGM, which followed the Conference. The trio were: Martin Evans, managing director, Jaama; Peter Milchard, risk adviser, Aviva; and Justin Patterson, head of operations, Addison Lee.

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