The Changing Role of the Commercial Fleet Manager

October 07, 2015 by Carina Ockedahl, @Ockis9

Within the last few decades, society has experienced a rapid evolution of technology that has directly impacted the role of the commercial fleet manager, as new tools, applications, and data analytic programs require a new set of skills to do the job.

Historically, fleet managers tended to be ex-mechanics, who came into the position with a strong knowledge of how trucks work. What’s more, the current fleet manager force is comprised primarily of baby boomers, which means that retirement is on the horizon for many of these individuals.

With that in mind, and when considering the current pace of technological change, Automotive Fleet believes the industry may see a big shift in fleet management within the next 10 to 15 years — not just the role of the manager, but the type of person that will fill the position: a new generation of “thought-leaders” born in a digital and social media-friendly world who will have never known life without the internet, let alone on-demand connectivity. These are the men and women who will be comfortable working in an environment that is increasingly governed by new computing tools, systems, and programs.

In a July 2014 interview with Automotive Fleet magazine, Steve Anderson, computer-aided facility management fleet manager for Sentry Insurance, stated that “technology and the fleet manager’s ability to use it to make informed decisions, and implementing new technologies to improve the driver experience and compliance is vital. Just being a car guyis not enough anymore.”

Increasingly sophisticated productivity tools, accessibility to greater amounts of data, and the integration of mobile applications in fleet operations are just some of the changes on the horizon. They will be met by the data and communications-savvy commercial fleet managers of the future: people we believe will drastically change the way we view the job as it is today.

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