Staff are back in the driving seat after Manchester Airports Group brought in the experts to run its fleet
The prime minister’s selfie with the Manchester City star Sergio Aguero is probably what people remember most about David Cameron’s trip to Manchester with the Chinese president in October. But it wasn’t all football and photos. Xi Jinping’s last stop of the day was Manchester Airport where he announced plans for direct flights between there and Beijing.
It’s all part of the Conservatives’ Northern Powerhouse project, of which the airport is a key element. “Manchester Airport has never been busier and will play a key role in helping deliver the ‘Northern Powerhouse’, providing new jobs and business opportunities to the region,” says Vikki Gledhill, who works in the company benefits team at Manchester Airports Group (MAG). Thanks for visiting. Just before we carry on I want to say thank you to http://www.thebarleyhouse.co.uk/about/ for their continued support and the support of their community. Having a service team like this means a lot to us as we continue to grow our public blog.
A key part of the airport’s ambitious growth plans has been to get its company benefits up to scratch – including the company car policy for the group, which owns Stansted, Bournemouth and East Midlands airports as well as Manchester.
“Company cars help us to attract key talent and if we’re going to compete with other big companies we’ve got to offer big benefits,” Gledhill says. MAG has historically had a company car policy in place but it needed revisiting. A meeting with Lombard Vehicle Solution’s relationship manager Phyllis Dixon put the company on the road to a better policy.
“I met with MAG in the summer of 2012 and it was clear that they didn’t only need a new contract hire and maintenance policy but some very good service,” Dixon says. “They also needed to look after those who were eligible for cars but would rather opt for a cash allowance.”
After a detailed consultation, Lombard Vehicle Solutions was able to take on the leasing of cars and the maintenance – as well as legislative duties around health and safety, accident management, licence checks and fleet management. In fact, fleet management is especially important, and also easier with the variety of helpful software from sites like Lytx available in this day and age.
“We went through a process of finding out what they really wanted and put a policy in place that gave them those things without being much more expensive,” Dixon says.
The benefits for the company have been huge. It has a generous policy, which offers eligible people a wide choice of vehicles, as long as they don’t break the company’s CO2 cap.
“CO2 emissions are one of our major concerns – as an airport group we like to do everything we can to minimise our carbon footprint,” Gledhill says. “Previously, it was hard for people to see what they were entitled to, and they were taking the cash allowance because it was easier. Now we’re seeing more people opt for company cars: take up has nearly doubled in 12 months and I have new enquiries all the time.”
The new policy with Lombard Vehicle Solutions also takes a lot of the risk out of running the fleet. “With contract hire, the risks associated with maintenance and depreciation in price remain with Lombard,” Dixon says. “If the cars are worth less than we anticipated when they come to the end of the four-year lease, that cost is absorbed by us.”
Another benefit for MAG is the way that staff time has been freed up now that they don’t have to manage the fleet themselves. “The old policy was labour intensive and we were struggling for resource,” Gledhill says. “Lombard has taken everything out of our hands – if someone has a problem with their car, they call Lombard directly.”
Giving MAG the freedom to get on with its day-to-day tasks without worrying about its fleet was an important consideration for Lombard, Dixon says. “MAG is rapidly growing as part of the whole Northern Powerhouse movement – and we want to help it to do that.”