Of all the considerations a fleet manager has to make, between ensuring that technicians are in the right place at the right time, and that they have access to all the information and equipment they need to perform their job, and everything else that goes into the job, perhaps one that gets overlooked is the condition of the vehicle fleet itself.

A tight budget may mean fleet managers are wary of going out to market in search of new trucks or vans. But perhaps it’s worth taking a closer look at what kinds of deals are out there to be had. The economic downturn has hit everyone hard, but if managers look hard enough, they may well find that the time is right to take advantage of dealers’ willingness to give a good price.

Recently a guest post on the issue from Frank Buchanan of Archstone Consulting, published on the website Spend Matters, caught our eye. You can see the post in its entirety here.

Beware: Providers will stop at nothing to prohibit you from taking their business to market. They will tell you that they survive on razor thin margins. They will use scare tactics to discourage shopping around, outlining the painful transition that would have to take place should you decide to change. But, as with the lifecycle parameters decision, it is essential to gather the facts in order to make an informed decision. If they really do survive on razor thin margins, then an RFP process will only help prove their case, right? Unfortunately, most companies listen to the incumbent provider and don’t go to market, with 64% of survey respondents having been with their providers for more than eight years. Just to give you an idea of the current savings potential, I recently conducted a fleet management provider RFP process and, with a thorough cost analysis and aggressive negotiations, was able to cut incumbent provider costs by 20% — as it turned out, their margins weren’t so thin after all.

Some interesting food for thought.

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