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Asset Management

In a very real sense, fleet management is asset management. These assets are a subset of the real properties owned or leased by an organization. Fleet professionals are responsible for the selection, procurement, use, care and remarketing of their employer’s fleet vehicle and equipment assets. These individuals can also be responsible for non-fleet equipment and infrastructure.

Fleet assets can be a significant segment of an organization’s total net value and these assets represent a large portion of the total organizational operating expenses. How well these assets are managed can have a profound impact on the profitability of a company or cost effectiveness of a public agency.

Strategic Sourcing: Strategic sourcing involves making organizational-level decisions on sourcing that will bring the greatest value to the organization. It emphasizes the creation of partner relations based on trust and the importance of performance measurement.

Vehicle Invoices and Pricing: Buying fleet vehicles is more involved than buying a personal vehicle. The specific terms used for the various rebates and how to read the invoice are critical to know.

Vehicle Selection: One of the most important things a fleet professional does is create a vehicle selector list. Selection should be based on the factors most important to the organization which may include cost, safety, or the environment. A formal process should be used to compare and select the vehicles for the list.

Specification Types and Development: There are three basic types of specifications and the type of spec used determines the amount of leeway a bidder has in the vehicle selection process. Lifecycle costs should be considered in vehicle selection.

Vehicle Procurement: Before the decision is made to purchase a vehicle, alternatives to ownership should be considered. In many cases, it is more cost-effective to lease, rent, or even reimburse employees for the use of their own vehicles.

Active Fleet Management: Once vehicles are received, they must be upfitted and commissioned. Following this, a fleet professional engages in a variety of activities to track utilization, pool resources as needed and ensure the fleet is being used efficiently.

Vehicle Remarketing: At the end of the planned lifecycle, a vehicle should be remarketed using the best strategy for the circumstances. Sales to employees, virtual or on-site auctions, and trade-in may all be considered viable options. Organizations should also consider their approach to decommissioning and reconditioning.

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Business Management

All fleet professionals must be knowledgeable business managers. Dealing with leasing companies, automobile dealers, supply or service contractors, insurance companies, and others requires knowledge of an organization’s rights, boundaries, and responsibilities. Without such knowledge, severe consequences can result.

As a cornerstone of overall fleet management, this discipline’s competencies cover an array of practical and commonly encountered topics.

Law for Fleet Professionals: Regulations and legislation govern the fleet professional’s relationships within the organization as well as relationships with external parties.

Fleet Policies and Procedures: Fleet policies and procedures are the written documentation of executive level management decisions that employees are required to follow in conducting the business of the organization and usage of its fleet vehicles.

Request for Proposals: A request for proposal is the instrument used to solicit proposals and/or offers for proposed contracts using the negotiated procurement method to obtain goods and services.

Emergency Operations: Emergency preparedness is the discipline, which ensures the fleet operation’s readiness to respond to an emergency in a coordinated, timely, and effective manner.

Strategic Partnering: Strategic partnering is the term that defines the relationship between the fleet professional and external partners or vendors.

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Financial Management

While many organizations have an accounting department for handling their finances, fleet professionals must have some knowledge of the financial issues that affect their fleets.

Such financial issues may include a financial analysis of various acquisition options, ability to conduct a lifecycle analysis, basic accounting principles, benchmarking, outsourcing decisions, and preparing and implementing a fleet budget.

Personal Use: Personal use describes the practice of an employer-provided vehicle being used for any function or activity other than official business and the implications this has on both the company and employee.

Vehicle Leasing: Leasing is the act of acquiring a fleet asset, through legal contract, where the fleet manger takes control of the asset for a specific period of time but does not take ownership of the item.

Vehicle Purchase: Purchasing involves the acquisition process where the fleet professional would acquire, and take ownership, of an asset for an agreed upon price.

Vehicle Reimbursement: Vehicle reimbursement involves compensating employees, by a variety of methods, who use their personally owned vehicles for company business.

Budgeting: The budgeting process includes projecting and planning for future financial activities to ensure financial control; provision of accurate managerial information; and policy implementation.

Lifecycle Cost Analysis: Lifecycle Cost Analysis is a mathematical model used when making a financially based decision between two or more competing options. When done properly, it allows a fleet professional to consider all the relevant costs incurred over the lifetime of a vehicle or operation.

Performance Monitoring: The practice of comparing an organization’s performance with past performance, industry partners, or industry’s best practices is a valuable tool to today’s fleet professional

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Information Management

Even though many organizations have an IT staff to assist the fleet management, there is significant value for fleet professionals to understand basic IT issues. With a general knowledge, fleet professionals can intelligently interact with support staff to solve problems and enhance IT functionality.

The purpose of this discipline is to provide fleet professionals with the tools they need to function in a data-rich—but sometimes information poor—work environment by better using the technology tools available.

Fleet Information Management Systems: This competency describes the technical components of a fleet information management system. Fleet professionals need a basic understanding of these technical components to be able to explain their needs to the IT staff.

Fleet System Selection and Implementation: Fleet professionals will develop an understanding of how to contribute to a needs analysis and eventually select the system that is right for their organization.

Telematics: There are a vast array of options available to increase the efficiency of fleets. Fleet professionals should develop the ability to analyze the costs and benefits of various systems and understand the legal ramifications of the use of certain technologies.

Data Management and System Administration: To be useful, data needs to be recorded in such a way that it can be accessed to generate useful information. Using technology rather than manual entry, assists in this endeavor as does the implementation of NAFA’s vehicle class code system.

Reporting and Data Analysis: Ultimately, the purpose of an information management system is to generate reports that contain the information the management needs to make decisions about fleet utilization, replacement, fueling and maintenance.

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Maintenance Management

Vehicle maintenance directly impacts productivity, driver satisfaction, corporate image, safety, environmental compliance, and the financial bottom line.

This discipline’s competencies will enhance understanding of, and ability to communicate, essential maintenance principals to in-house or outsourced maintenance personnel, drivers, and management.

Vehicle Maintenance: Maintenance management impacts all aspects of fleet management. Its decisions have the potential to affect not only the financial and safe operation of a fleet, but also the end user’s productivity. The fleet professional must have a clear understanding of this competency to make informed decisions and recommendations.

Shop Operations: Operating an efficient and effective maintenance facility does not happen by chance. Fleet professionals must be able to establish policies and procedures that ensure vehicle safety while minimizing effective downtime and employing advantageous outsourcing opportunities.

Environmental Issues: Environmental regulations touch all fleet and fleet maintenance operations. Environmental regulation requirements ensure not only a clean and healthy environment, but also employee safety. It is the Fleet professional’s responsibility to know and adhere to these ever-changing regulations.

Inventory Management: A fleet maintenance operation must have professionally managed parts support to operate at peak efficiency. Inventory management is a critical contributing factor to the success of a maintenance facility.

Performance Monitoring: Monitoring staff performance is a key function to maintain productivity and efficient maintenance operations. Performance monitoring involves proper identification of key performance indicators, data collection, comparison, and analysis to determine performance status and standards.

Outsourcing: Some aspects of outsourced maintenance activities occur in most fleet maintenance operations. The decision to outsource activities depends on numerous factors, but ultimately is determined by what is most effective and efficient.

Maintenance Staffing: Optimizing shop operations includes right-sizing staff levels as well as ensuring their safety, proper training to meet the demands of evolving technology, and appropriate compensation.

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Professional Development

With emerging technology, changing legal issues, and increased responsibilities, fleet specialists, like most professionals, need to continually educate themselves.

A commitment to personal improvement in the areas of leadership, ethical behavior, and all aspects of organizational effectiveness, is a must.

Individuals in Organizations: Within an organization, individuals need to be properly selected, trained, and motivated to add strength. Fleet professionals need to understand the types of employees, generational influences, and workplace issues such as harassment, health, and diversity to properly motivate and monitor employees.

Leadership: Leadership is the discipline of influencing and directing the performance of employees toward the achievement of organizational goals. Personal development is the concept of self-improvement through setting and achieving goals and career planning.

Business Communications: Business communications is not only the concept of properly using writing techniques and tools to communicate and disseminate information effectively through the written word, but also includes other verbal and non-verbal methods of communication as well.

Organization Processes: Leaders must be adept at making decisions, negotiating, and managing change. They must also have good administration skills in the conduct of meetings and staffing decisions.

Ethics: Ethics involves the study of values and customs and covers concepts such as right and wrong, good and evil, and responsibility. Ethical decision-making assists managers in making decisions that are “right” and “good.”

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Risk Management

Risk management is a form of planning and decision-making dealing with uncertain events as well as controlling risks before they can become a problem. While insurance is commonly associated with risk management, it is not possible or practical to insure against every situation; hence, risk management provides additional strategies for dealing with loss.

This discipline’s competencies will demonstrate the varying strategies of dealing with risk by focusing on insurance, subrogation, training, and safety, in addition to how to effectively handle a loss.

Fundamentals of Risk Management: Risk management is the process whereby risks are identified, analyzed, classified, and handled.

Insurance: Insurance is a system under which individuals, businesses and other organizations or entities, in exchange for payment of a sum of money (a premium), are guaranteed compensation for losses resulting from certain perils under specified conditions.

Fleet Safety Policies: Driver training and vehicle safety are a means of preventing employee and property losses to an organization through training and education.

Fleet Safety Programs: Safety programs use written policies to document specific processes for employees.

Crash Management: Crash management is the process of controlling direct and indirect losses incurred during and after vehicle crashes.

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Vehicle Fuel Management

Fuel is the second largest fleet vehicle expense, so its management requires scrutiny to take every opportunity for minimizing costs and mitigating risk.

Moreover, fleet specialists must understand regional environmental issues and policies associated with fuel. The fleet professional should also know about alternative fuels, the emerging changes in technologies and local government acts or regulations associated with them.

This discipline’s competencies deal with both conventional and alternative fuels in centralized and decentralized operations.

Environmental Issues: In-house fueling is the function of organizations that own and operate their own fueling facilities. During this function, they are required to comply with strict, government environmental regulations.

Commercial Programs: Commercial programs are a fuel management option whereby an outside vendor assists controlling, tracking, reporting, and managing a fleet’s use of commercial fuel stations.

Conventional Fuels: Gasoline and diesel fuel are defined as conventional fuels. They are the most widely used fuels in fleet vehicles.

Alternative Fuels: Alternative fuels as defined by the Energy Policy Act (EPAct) include ethanol, natural gas, propane, hydrogen, biodiesel, electricity, methanol, and p-series fuels. The interest in alternative fuels is based on their potential to address three important issues: air quality in urban areas, dependence on imported petroleum, and greenhouse gas emissions.

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