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Proudly sponsored by: BP Australia

The Australasian Fleet Management Association was delighted to recognise John Barlow as its 2018/19 Fleet Manager of the Year at last month’s industry-led AfMA Fleet Awards in Melbourne.

John has served in the fleet management industry for over 20 years in various roles within the NSW government, including his current position with the NSW Department of Industry. John has played an integral role in the implementation of vehicles telematics to the fleet – which is the first for any NSW government department.

Since 2013 he has served as the Senior Manager, Integrated Fleet Services within NSW Department of Industry and has aimed to install an active culture to improve the overall safety and financial position of the fleet.

“The key motivation for the introduction of vehicle telematics to Department of Industry vehicles was staff safety,” John said.

“Driving had been identified as the biggest health and safety risk that staff face in the workplace with over 30% of all incidents or near misses reported through the Health & Safety Unit related to driving.”

John’s outstanding leadership in fleet management has come at a crucial time for the NSW Department of Industry, with the organisation seeing significant financial savings in recent years through various fleet optimisation initiatives.

Following a successful trial of vehicle telematics in 73 vehicles across various locations a full-scale rollout has commenced and has already been fitted in over 500 vehicles to date.

According to the Department of Industry’s executive director of corporate operations Katherine Tollner, Mr Barlow introduced a Fleet Optimisation Strategy that slashed insurance premiums and at-fault claims by 90 per cent.

“This award is a fantastic achievement and recognises the work John and his team are doing to lead the way for private and public sector organisations in Australasia,” she said.

“The strategy challenged traditional fleet management approaches by adopting vehicle telematics, using hybrid electric vehicles, and successfully piloting car share services in regional NSW.”

For John personally, taking home the Fleet Manager of the Year award has been a genuine thrill and honour for which he doesn’t take lightly.

“I’m feeling absolutely ecstatic. It’s been a great honour and a great privilege for the Department and the initiatives that we’ve put forward,” he said.

“The key initiative that I’d like to highlight was the work that we’ve done to lead NSW Government in the use of vehicle telematics. Vehicle telematics to us have proven to be a great bonus, not only in reducing the number of insurance claims that we’ve got to process, but also the cost of those insurance claims”

Moreover, as the entire fleet industry moves towards collaboration as a theme for the future, John notes that he is more than willing to share details of his journey with other like-minded organisations.

“Department of Industry has already shared a large amount of data, sample reports, information on how we developed the initial business case etc to other agencies and would continue to be happy to share our knowledge with other organisations.”

John’s Journey

 Key Achievements

  • Managed the introduction of a new Fleet Model that has been adopted by other NSW government agencies.
  • Consolidated 2 different fleet systems into 1 system.
  • Achieved significant budget savings through various fleet optimisation initiatives.
  • Fitted more than 500 vehicles with telematics to improve safety and accountability.
  • Delivered a significant reduction in at-fault accidents across the fleet.
  • Promoted safe driving across the Department in a number of forums including the organisation’s Facebook page, the Department’s weekly newsletter and directly to every staff member’s computer desktop.

 Before & After Statistics

Pre-Implementation Post-Implementation
Passenger Vehicles 485 424
Light Commercials 793 767
Kilometres travelled per year 30 million 28 million
Changes in vehicle utilisation rates 57% identified as ‘under utilised’ 42% identified as ‘under


Accident rate per million kilometres 198 incidents reported 96 incidents reported
Accident rate per 100 vehicles 15 per 100 vehicles 13 per 100 vehicles
Driver at fault as a % of claims 47% 15%

The Final Word

Department of Industry were able to identify fleet savings in excess of $1.2M annually in reduced operating costs. This has been made possible through the reduction vehicle numbers, reduced km’s travelled and reduced accident rates. Congratulations John on your ability to lead change within your industry!

AfMA would like to acknowledge its official sponsor of the 2018/19 Fleet Manager of the Year, BP Australia.