Fleet Operators Divided Over Whether To ‘Advance’ Or ‘Consolidate’

Fleet Operators Divided Over Whether To 'Advance' Or 'Consolidate

Two schools of thought have emerged amongst fleet operators under the coronavirus pandemic, with some looking to advance and others hoping to consolidate…

Advance or Consolidate? 

Fleet operators are increasingly torn between advancing their plans or consolidating in the wake of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Some wish to press on with electrification and new mobility solutions, whilst others wish to better exploit the resources they already have. However, the latter course potentially risks some fleets falling behind their competitors.

Peter Golding, managing director of FleetCheck, explained the situation. He said, “some fleets are very much doubling down on their strategies for the future; especially around electrification, with some businesses looking to accelerate adoption, and push forward in areas such as EV-based salary sacrifice and handling increased amounts of grey fleet activity”. He continued, “the other main approach appears to be to work to contain costs and maximise efficiency as much as possible; through sweating existing assets and refining current processes”.

Naturally, Golding recognises that the primary difference between the two schools of thought is the availability of cash. Hard-pressed fleet operators are hardly going to feel free enough to experiment with new strategies and technologies; but, without them, they could cease to be competitive in the long-term.

A Mounting Divide 

Fleets that operate in the hospitality and tourism sectors are facing mounting pressures. However, those operating in the likes of online retail and deliveries are flourishing. This divide, according to Golding, is only set to widen over coming months; as more are forced to choose between the ‘advance’ and ‘consolidate’ strategies. He said, “it’s not inconceivable that, in a couple of years, we will see that some fleets have rapidly moved forward and are almost fully electrified while others will have not had the resources to advance much beyond their current situation”.

Precisely how many fleets will fall into each category is currently unclear. Either way, it poses problems for broader society; as it grapples with worsening air pollution, stagnant road safety figures and a mounting climate crisis. How government and industry respond (if at all) could have enormous repercussions. Either way, there’s probably never been a more testing time for fleets than now. But the most forward-looking in the industry, as Golding noted, will be able to use present challenges to experiment and innovate. They may be the fleet heavyweights of the future as a result.

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