It sounds counter-intuitive not to use spreadsheets to manage your vehicles, but an Excel document can’t compete with bespoke software.

On the face of it, a spreadsheet is a perfect tool for managing fleets, but compared with specialist software, a simple Excel spreadsheet does not compete.

Good fleet management software will automatically draw in data from a wide variety of reliable sources, enable you to put in place a policy infrastructure, and essentially only demand your attention when tasks need managerial action. It will also provide a high level of transparency over your fleet, operationally and financially, as well as aid compliance.

Excel simply cannot deliver a fraction of that functionality. Essentially, it will just allow you to calculate some of your costs and compile some useful information, all of which will be done on a reactive basis.

For this reason, we believe the fleet software industry should do more to educate businesses about the limitations of spreadsheets when it comes to managing company cars and vans. If the sector could persuade just a relatively small percentage of fleets to set aside their spreadsheets and use specialist software, both fleet software companies and general standards of fleet management would grow exponentially.

How can this be done? It’s won’t be easy. People are often very attached to their spreadsheets but it seems to us that a good first step would be if more of the sales and marketing effort that goes into fleet software recognised that the biggest competitor in the market is not another fleet software company – it’s Excel.