By Faye Sunderland 21 May 2010
The Institute of Car Fleet Management (ICFM) was first formed back in 1992 to provide car fleet managers, administrators, fleet service providers with one of the finest training and education programmes available and to connect people within the industry to create a powerful network.
Now working in partnership with fellow not-for-profit organisation ACFO (the Association Car Fleet Operators), the institute aims to extend the benefits of joining its organisation by collaborating with ACFO on areas of mutual ground.
Winners of this year’s Training Award at the Fleet News Awards, ICFM is a highly respected organisation which offers a full range of training opportunities from introductory certificates to a full diploma in car fleet management. To find out more, we spoke to Roddy Graham, Chairman of the ICFM.
Q: The environment in which businesses operate their fleets is constantly changing. How can joining ICFM help businesses and fleet managers keep abreast of the changes?
A: The industry currently operates in a difficult business environment and the Institute has responded by continuing to hone and refine its offering to maximise the ability of its members to survive the recessionary economic climate and be ready to maximise opportunities as they appear. Last year, the Institute successfully staged a ‘free to member’ workshops day to offer practical guidance and this will be repeated this year at our annual members’ conference on July 14.
In addition, the ICFM Council ensures the material for all programmes is maintained and updated taking account of changes in legislation, market place developments, changes in the way vehicles are used by fleet operators and the important feedback received from each delegate at the end of each programme.
Furthermore, each programme is reviewed formally every two years and substantial updates are included whenever necessary. The most recent example of a major amendment, introduced in October last year, was the inclusion of significantly increased levels of light commercial vehicle material to reflect the increasing relevance of vans within car fleets.
Q: If you could ask the new PM, David Cameron to do one thing for the industry, what would it be and why?
A: To ensure that his Transport Secretary remained in office for a full five-year government term and made his first priority to come up with a fully-integrated transport strategy for the UK covering the next 25 years. We need a vision that everybody can buy into.
Q: What can a qualification from the institute offer over on-the-job learning for new entrants to the industry?
A: The training programmes not only provide knowledge; they also seek to enhance relevant skills so that immediate benefits can be realised.
ICFM training has been designed to develop the key competence elements linked to various levels of fleet administration and management.
We have a wealth of evidence to demonstrate how participants have applied their learning, leading to new initiatives for improving policy and, invariably, tangible savings in fleet running costs.
Examples of significant cost reductions achieved by delegates as a direct result of their ICFM training include fleet funding review and analysis, bespoke risk assessment systems, encouraging drivers to opt for lower CO2 vehicles and cost reduction programmes through tighter driver management.
Of real importance is the confidence it instils in individuals. Whether you are new to fleet management, as a supplier of services or an end-user fleet operator, many of our members comment on the level of confidence our training delivers to help them approach their managers with various initiatives.
Q: The new Budget is set to be announced in June. Have you any predictions of what you think might be in it that affects us in the motoring world?
A: The new government seems to be making conciliatory noises to the motor industry. However, given the huge budget deficit, VAT will probably go up to 20 per cent despite government denials. This will have an effect on new car sales, impacting our industry. It will also impact on used car pricing, particularly leasing companies who fixed pricing based on inward and exit VAT levels at 17.5%.
The government will continue with a CO2 emissions-based vehicle tax regime and the various thresholds will be lowered over the next few years.
Q: What advice would you give to someone just starting out in the fleet industry?
A: Tackle your job with enthusiasm and passion – it’s a great industry to be involved in; don’t be afraid to ask others for wise council; and enrol on the ICFM Introductory Certificate in Car Fleet Management. Make sure that you then continue to be best qualified by studying for the Certificate in Car Fleet Management. Ambitious entrants will want to aim high and eventually study for the Diploma. Remember, in whatever walk of life, you can never stop learning!
Q: What do you think are the biggest challenges to the fleet industry over the next two years?
A: Whole-life costs will always be high up but I believe risk management and green fleet will be the top two challenges.
Against an increasingly legislative backdrop, placing greater onus on organisations to meet their duty of care responsibilities, risk management will be the number one issue at boardroom level. Closely linked to this is management of the grey fleet, which is resulting in more companies revising their car fleet policies.
More companies will also look to greening their fleet as part of their organisation’s Corporate Social Responsibilities (CSR).
Q: What is your stance on the idea of making it a legal requirement for vans to be fitted with speed limiters? Should it be applied to cars too?
A: Inevitably, with more vehicles on our congested roads, average speeds will continue to decline. Against that backdrop, the introduction of speed limiters for both cars and vans should not trigger the cries of anguish that such controls will inevitably illicit. However, the limits set need to be sensible so that vehicles can accelerate and overtake safely.
Q: You decided recently to not to increase membership fees this year due to the ‘critical focus on all costs’ within the industry at this time. What would be your top money-saving tip to fleet managers out there to reduce fleet costs?
A: Look at your current fleet policy and challenge all pre-conceptions. There are always different ways of slicing up the cake and there may be better ways of operating a fleet by carefully analysing the detail. Sometimes the simplest ideas are the best – challenge your drivers to drive fewer miles without negatively impacting on productivity – the lowest cost-mile is the one you don’t drive.
Autonomous cars are one of the big areas car manufacturers and high-tech companies such as Google are pouring vast sums of money, time and energy into. This is a future that many think holds the key to how and where the…
When I were a lad and it was all fields round here, I was lucky enough to have an ex-police driver trainer as my driving instructor. Not only did he teach the Highway Code, he also included some good old fashioned practical…
We all know the dangers of smoking to our health and that of others, which is why Jim Hume - the Liberal Democrat MSP for South of Scotland - wants to introduce a complete ban on smoking in cars in Scotland. Hume says his…
When it comes down to it, the only thing keeping you on the road are your car’s tyres. They are such a vital component, yet research shows that two-thirds of drivers don’t even know the minimum legal tread depth permitted.…
Citroen has just marked the 45th anniversary of its quirky Mehari fun car with a bespoke display at its chic design centre in the middle of Paris. While the Mehari may be more beach dunes than Champs-Elysées, it points up…