The fleet management industry has such a diverse range of people and roles, and everyone has a unique story of their journey in our industry.
This month we talk to Sue McLean – State Manager QLD/NT, Summit Fleet Leasing and Management (a Sumitomo Corporation Group Company).
FI: How did you get started in fleet and plant, and what was your first job in the industry?
SM: I Started back in 2002 with LeasePlan in South Africa, where I spent 8 years with my last role being Manager: New Business. It was by chance I got into Fleet Management as at the time I was in Recruitment and I was recruiting for a role for LeasePlan and they offered me the job!
FI: Tell us about your role and the kind of fleet, plant and/or personnel you manage.
SM: We predominantly manage passenger and light commercial vehicle fleets, but do have exposure to various items from large prime movers to small security vehicles. We have an established sales team here in QLD but we have about 75 staff across the country. Each state has an Account Management team, Admin support team and New Business Executives.
FI: What’s the favourite part of your job?
SM: The variety and the fast-paced nature of the industry. No two days are the same and it is a very diverse job covering everything from finance, admin, customer service, sales, HR and management. I learn something new almost every day and so it challenges me continually. In addition, it’s an industry that keeps you on your toes as vehicles change, accounting standards change, tax rules change so even though I have been in the industry for more than 15 years, its forever transforming.
FI: What are some of the biggest challenges you see facing fleet professionals this year and beyond?
SM: Being able to continually provide efficiencies within our customers fleets by providing maximum fleet optimisation and utilisation at the most effective cost. In addition, we are living in a changing world and we continually need to come up with innovative ideas and MaaS (Mobility as a Service) initiatives.
FI: How do you think the fleet department can make sure it has buy-in and support from the rest of the organisation?
SM: By sharing data and statistics with management and drivers alike (where appropriate). We still come across fleets where organisations think that you just place an order for a vehicle with a dealer and that’s all there is too it. It’s important to ensure all stakeholders understand the complexities, the risks involved (WH&S and financial) of managing a fleet regardless of the size.
FI: If you weren’t in the fleet industry, what would you be doing?
SM: In my “dream world” I would be managing a sundowner bar on a tropical island somewhere!!! But in the real world, I can’t think of a better industry to be in – fast-paced, ever changing, and dynamic plus we do from time to time get the opportunity to “test drive” new vehicles coming on the market, which is always fun and allows you to develop your driving skills!