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Private Links: Good help is not hard to find

Consider the plight of the private fleet manager. Companies operate private fleets for a variety of reasons, but it's fair to say that few CEOs of these companies have a great deal of time in their da...

Consider the plight of the private fleet manager. Companies operate private fleets for a variety of reasons, but it’s fair to say that few CEOs of these companies have a great deal of time in their day to consider the fleet and its contribution to the company’s objectives. Their time is spent thinking about new products or services, R & D, cost control, marketing strategies, mergers or acquisitions, and the myriad other issues that constitute the management of a company.

In many of these companies the fleet manager is more or less on his or her own to ensure an effective trucking operation that delivers value to the company. To do this the fleet manager needs to be an expert in human resource management, labour and transportation law, equipment spec’ing and maintenance, customer relations, technology in trucking, labour agreements, scheduling, perhaps warehouse layout and order picking, and of course fleet utilization.

And yet I’ve never seen a position description for a fleet manager that recognized all these components and I suspect that most companies don’t even realize how each of them impact on the day to day job of the fleet manager. In fact, many companies might argue that the H.R. department looks after some of this, the marketing or sales group takes care of other parts, and the only thing the fleet manager needs to concentrate on is on-time deliveries and pickups – and of course keeping the costs down.

Not so! The H.R. department deals with the general workforce, the office staff, perhaps manufacturing personnel – seldom do they consider the truck drivers who operate in a distinctly different environment. And you will not likely find anyone on board to assist with fleet spec’ing, maintenance, or any of the other issues detailed above.

Along with these responsibilities the effective fleet manager must be able to explain to senior management the contribution that the fleet makes if there is to be any hope of getting the funds needed to keep that fleet up to date with a chance to continue contributing.

If you’re a private fleet manager I’m sure all of this is familiar.

So where can you turn to get some assistance, a little advice, or simply get in touch with people doing jobs like yours? That’s the role of the Private Motor Truck Council of Canada.

There is a certain feeling of belonging and some assurance that you’re not on your own in doing your job when you have the support of a reliable association that is dedicated to your specific interests.

The PMTC includes a wide spectrum of members with businesses and backgrounds in every aspect of fleet management. This association has an unrivaled pool of resources that members can access with a telephone call. You can think of it as your pipeline to a pool of experts.

Of course PMTC provides regular publications and electronic bulletins that keep members up to date with regulatory changes and other important information about the world of trucking. And there are conferences where you can learn from experts on a variety of topics that will help you do your job a little better. But perhaps even more valuable is the resource pool.

PMTC members that operate fleets are willing to share experiences, discuss ideas, and help other members solve problems. In most cases member companies do not compete with one another – at least not on the trucking level – and so there is a freedom to share information. While the PMTC office can and does address questions from members directly, often using our contacts within various ministries, we just as often put members with questions in touch with other members who may have already dealt with, or share an interest in an issue. The resources of members generate a valuable information pool. And these members all have a common bond – they are in the business of managing private fleets. Along with fleet managers, PMTC membership also includes experts from all aspects of the supplier world. And while these members would dearly love to sell their products or services, they are equally willing to assist with advice when we ask.

– The Private Motor Truck Council of Canada is the only national association dedicated to the private trucking community. This column presents opinions on trucking issues from the perspective of private carriers. Comments can be addressed to

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