Why Start a Fleet Management Company? The Story Behind My Drive to ‘Go Onward’
A few years ago, I was the in-house manager of a large, dynamic fleet. The fleet spanned multiple internal entities, which meant it also needed to satisfy various complex business objectives. Simply put, it was no small feat to manage it well. And not surprisingly, every fleet management company wanted to be our partner.
My experience successfully managing that fleet guides me daily as I lead Onward. But even more importantly, it gave me a bird’s eye view into what other fleet management partners did well and where these services consistently fell short. One partner would offer the best lease rates. Another would have the most robust database, and another still would really sell you on the strength of its GPS partner. But after engaging in partnerships with the fleet management industry’s key players, I realized that they all had one thing in common: not one of them was great at everything.
Why does this matter? Because a skills gap can jeopardize an entire relationship. And if I was running into these issues with my large fleet, imagine how few quality options were available for small- or medium-sized one. The more gaps I spotted, the deeper I dug–until I realized that the best way to guarantee a better experience was to deliver it myself.
As I explored the idea of starting my own company, I spoke with everyone I knew from my years in fleet management. Other in-house managers. Technology partners. Maintenance teams. SMEs from the industry’s biggest trade publications. Their insights confirmed what I had experienced firsthand: there was a clear need for a full-service solution that wasn’t just for large fleets. From this vision, Onward was born.
My most influential mentor used to say, “Onward and Upward.” The phrase found its way into team meetings and calls, and would often come up in daily conversations. I saw how it motivated my colleagues and I to do better, both professionally and personally. Those words stuck with me. Today, they’re not just the name of my fleet management company, but are also the cornerstone of our guiding philosophy. Regardless of how well Onward and our customers are doing, we’re driven by continuous improvement. By taking care of our customers, we know they’ll return the good deed. And by recognizing that there’s no “one size fits all,” we can stay partner-neutral and customer-centric–delivering customized solutions that actually meet a fleet’s unique needs, at competitive pricing that helps it thrive.
And to ensure we fill gaps rather than create them for our customers, we ensure that every service in our wheelhouse is truly that–something we can execute at the highest level. Because as I know from my years of managing fleets, every detail has to be working in tandem to truly achieve the program your business deserves.