A look at fleet’s past with Greg McClure

Greg McClure has seen the fleet industry evolve throughout the years and how technology and safety can shape industry values.

Today Greg is a fleet practitioner for Red Cross and has taken the time to share some of his experience and knowledge.

Could you tell us about your experience in the fleet management industry and how you got started in this field?

  • Well, I got started in fleet Management way back in 1983, when I got a position working for the CEO and main directors as a ‘Gofer’ which included looking after their 20-prestige vehicles. (RR, MB, BMW, Jaguar Volvo etc). After a few years I took on the whole fleet of vehicles for the Insurance company. That position lasted a total of 17 Years. Best achievement was to Introduce the ABS/Airbags as stand on our Fleet. There was only myself and another large organisation that took the 1st plunge and fitted those options after lobbying the manufacturer to Fit ABS as an option to the fleet models being Corolla Seca.

How have you seen the fleet management industry evolve over the years, and what do you believe has been the most significant development during your career?

  • Yes, greatly, heaters! And then Air Con as an option, from then ABS Brakes/Airbags as an option. To the Standard Full electric self-braking. Now to EVs. It’s been a fun journey.

What have been some of the most significant challenges you have faced as a fleet manager, and how have you overcome them?

  • Making the management in the early 90s to agree/commit to the options of ABS/Airbags ($1,800 Extra costs.) Recouped on average $1,400 in the sale of cars.
  • In 2005, making management and staff take-on 200 Prius Hybrids by replacing their Commodores and Falcons to Hybrid. Best way is to tell the truth and have cars available to drive, to allow management and staff to come to a logical conclusion.
  • In 2020s, along came EVs. I used the same approach to management and staff to show the benefits.

What is your approach to risk management in your fleet, and what strategies have you found to be most effective?

  • Best way was to show with active actions by fitting the latest technologies to vehicle, so staff and Management lead further with better driving actions. Every action requires the Fleet to lead by example and give confidence to staff.

How do you stay current with the latest technologies and trends in the fleet management industry, and what advice would you offer to others who are trying to do the same?

  • 1970s, I was by buying every motor magazine, as soon as it was released at the news agency- and reading every one back to front (Stats were in back of magazines!). Then along came the Internet. I view not just from an Australian point of view. I follow all trends around the world. An example is in the Current EV environments I follow a lot of overseas YouTube accounts as well as the main manufacturers websites in the country’s origins. Mainly in (Japan/Norway/Poland/UK/Korea) as they give different viewpoints. Testing cars regularly as well to gauge any differentials. Keep your nose to the ground but be open to changes as a positive advancement but prove it as correct before actioning.

Can you share a success story from your career as a fleet manager, and what did you learn from that experience?

  • Having an organisation help me embrace the Hybrid technologies in 2005, by converting 250 of a 1,000 tool of trade (T.O.T) vehicles into Prius Hybrid vehicles. After a 3-month rollout then having staff understanding what the benefits of the then CO2 saving technology. And further having the CEO trade his MB V8 Convertible into a then i-Tech Prius Hybrid, which made the staff not have room to argue against the Hybrid technology!

How do you manage and motivate your team of drivers and staff, and what techniques have you found to be most effective?

  • Being logical in what you are trying to do, but backing up the data with substance so there is no doubt what the outcomes are that we are trying to achieve. Going EVs now requires that logic as well. But also, being open to other technologies like Hydrogen. There is room for both.

What advice would you give to someone who is just starting out in the fleet management industry?

  • Be open to change by making the changes, lead the way and not to follow. I say this as an example. Early days I would attend fleet forums, etc and most on the attendees would be still talking V8/V12s, speed and the best hot car to have. Whereas I was thinking, why does no one here talk about safety, conservation tech. What should be standard on a fleet vehicle. Making manufacturers listen and follow through on advice offered. Some do!

How do you balance the needs of your fleet with the demands of your customers or clients, and what strategies have you found to be most effective?

  • Honesty and logic. And during COVID – beg, borrow, and almost steal. Jump ahead of the curve! By expecting the unexpected. Looking at partnerships to get ahead!

What is your vision for the future of the fleet management industry, and how are you preparing for those changes?

  • In my time still to have, will be EV challenges and a move to a two-way system of EV and Hydrogen vehicles. Then the Jetsons!

Is there anything else you would like to add?

  • Back in 1983 I also fitted an in-Car mobile phone to the Directors MB 380SEL v8. The gear Telstra test-installed, it was fitted in the boot took up a whole third of the space with a big crate of wires and drained the cars battery after 20 minutes of talk time. Wow, times HAVE changed!

A special thank you to Greg McClure for sharing his experience with us all and giving us an insight into the fleet industry’s past.