Ogilvie Fleet, one of the UK’s fastest growing vehicle leasing and fleet management companies, is gearing up for further growth as it celebrates 40 years of providing a multi award-winning service to businesses.
Stirling-headquartered Ogilvie Fleet, which now has offices in Sheffield and Belfast and a home-based South of England sales team, operates an expanding fleet of more than 16,000 vehicles on lease and 2,500 under fleet management. The leased vehicles include company cars and vans and models funded via salary sacrifice and Personal Contract Hire schemes offered by customers to their employees.
Looking forward, managing director Gordon Stephen, who has spent 26 years with the company and more than 30 years in the fleet industry, said: “Our next milestone is to reach 20,000 vehicles on lease in the next two-three years and this is achievable based on our current contract win success rate and embedded growth as vehicles are delivered to new clients.”
While most of Ogilvie Fleet’s expansion is due to organic growth, the company has made acquisitions and, not ruling out further purchases, Mr Stephen said: “If the right company is available with good synergy and it helps grow the business in a profitable manner we would look at the opportunity.”
Underpinning Ogilvie Fleet’s growth has been first class customer service and its continuous investment and focus on introducing sophisticated and industry-leading IT solutions and, said Mr Stephen, both would “remain pillars” on which the company’s future success would be built.
“Customer service excellence is instilled in every single employee working at Ogilvie Fleet in whatever role,” said Mr Stephen, who leads a business now employing more than 100 people.
“Customer service alongside offering more innovation is a key differentiator for Ogilvie Fleet with other vehicle leasing and fleet management suppliers. We will continue to invest in our online systems and solutions.”
That investment has help deliver industry success with the fleet expanding year-on-year and more than 20 fleet industry awards won since 2010, most recently an industry ‘Oscar’ for Leasing Company of the Year (up to 20,000 vehicles) in the annual awards from trade publication Fleet News. Notable award-winning solutions include: MiFleet Showroom, Ogilvie Fleet’s ever-evolving online fleet management reporting system; the ‘Happy Drivers’ app, which delivers smartphone access to a raft of essential information and functionality free-of-charge to customers and non-customers alike; and most recently APPraisal, designed to help fleet managers and drivers overcome often contentious end-of-contract damage charges on company vehicles.
Mr Stephen said: “Ogilvie Fleet’s success is the result of continually providing customers with the products and services they require. It is also due to employing a great team of people performing a superb job in terms of delivering customer service excellence. Without first-class employees that understand the market, our customers and the products and services available we cannot deliver.
“Success comes down to team work and all employees are focused on delivering what customers want from the initial enquiry to vehicle delivery, through the life-time of vehicles on fleets and ultimately defleet. If that focus is not spot on, Ogilvie Fleet would not have the growth and award-winning record that it does.”
Looking to the future and Mr Stephen believes that company cars will continue to be provided by employers to staff in both the job-need and perk sectors.
He said: “Most employers want company cars because they deliver control of their fleet, which can be difficult when employees drive their own cars on business trips. However, there is currently leakage because the Government has yet to announce the shape of company car tax from April 2020.
“Mobility-as-a-Service is one of the fleet industry’s current buzz phrases but, I believe, company cars will continue to be around in 20 years’ time in some shape or another.
“Employees cannot do everything by Skype or email, they will still need to travel to face-to-face meetings and company cars will, in many cases continue to be the optimum solution. Therefore, company cars, however they are funded, will still have a place in the market.”
Nevertheless, Mr Stephen added: “Ogilvie Fleet will continue to provide clients with a range of funding solutions that meet all requirements. There is no one size fits all - employers and employees inevitably find their situations change over time and we need to be flexible enough to meet all demands.”
Meanwhile, Ogilvie Fleet would, said Mr Stephen, continue to bring new fleet management offerings to market with new data-based solutions core to long-term industry success.
He said: “We need to provide more and more data to both fleet decision-makers and car and van drivers to keep those populations fully informed, particularly about vehicle condition. Predictive tools will be key in that regard as will further use of technology to improve driver behaviour. Ogilvie Fleet’s innovation focus will be on delivering technology that improves vehicle and driver performance, which will ultimately drive operating cost efficiencies.”
Ogilvie Fleet can trace its roots back to 1979 when Steadfast Contracts Ltd was formed, primarily as a subsidiary to Mogil Motors, which then operated three Ford dealerships in Stirling, Dumfries and Oban. It also looked after the vehicle fleet operated by its parent Stirling-based Ogilvie Group, a privately owned business.
In 1988 Steadfast Contracts became a standalone company and in 1993 - operating a fleet of 700 vehicles - Mr Stephen was recruited to fill the role of sales manager and his brother Andrew, now the company’s business support director, joined as business support manager, both from GE Capital, which then operated in the fleet sector.
A name change to Steadfast Fleet Management followed in 1993 and the following year Jill Stephen, Andrew’s wife and now the company’s customer services director, was recruited as customer services executive and the business was re-branded Ogilvie Management Services.
Mr Stephen was appointed managing director in June 1998 when the fleet numbered 1,850 vehicles and 12 months later Jim Hannah, now operations director, was appointed operations manager.
Fleet expansion continued apace and in November 2000 the company finally changed its name, tto Ogilvie Fleet, reflecting its business activities. Organic expansion was further supplemented by the acquisition of Kent-based vehicle broker Lease Profiles in 2004 and the opening of an office south of the border in Manchester.
In 2007 that office relocated to Sheffield and was headed up by newly recruited Nick Hardy, now Ogilvie Fleet’s sales and marketing director. Operating a fleet of 6,500 vehicles, the company expanded further in 2008 with the purchase of vehicle leasing company Ryland Unity Vehicle Solutions.
Ogilvie Fleet continued its expansion drive in 2011 with the acquisition for ‘a six figure sum’ of the corporate division of Northern Ireland-based Contraflex Contract Hire and Leasing and in 2015 it created a new South of England sales team. In 2017 Ogilvie Group acquired Lincoln-headquartered Active Auto Solutions, which provides claims handling and support services to fleets and clients of commercial insurance brokers and intermediaries across the UK following motor accidents and incidents.
Also assisting Ogilvie Fleet’s growth has been staff stability - the company’s five-strong board comprises the long-serving Gordon Stephen, Andrew Stephen, Jill Stephen, Jim Hannah and Nick Hardy - while over 70% of all employees employed 10 plus years ago are still with the business.
Mr Stephen said: “We major hugely on board and employee stability because in terms of telling staff about the DNA of Ogilvie Fleet it is critical. It helps reinforce the ethics and transparency of the company to new recruits.”
Ogilvie Group, which today remains a family-owned business, operates in a number of market sectors in addition to the fleet arena. The company’s divisions also include: Ogilvie Construction, Ogilvie Homes, security specialist Net Defence and Malcolm Hughes, which offers a range of topographical, hydrographic, engineering and geographic survey solutions.