The Five Ways Coronavirus Has Changed The Fleet Industry
The coronavirus pandemic has transformed the fleet industry and its long-term trajectory. Here’s five ways it’s being transformed…
Clean Air Zones On Ice
Lockdown measures have, at least in some areas, caused traffic levels to plunge. As a result, authorities that planned to implement clean air zones (CAZs) are beginning to reconsider. Councils in Leeds and Bristol have expressed the view that less drastic measures may now be sufficient. Bristol Council, curiously enough, has suggested that pollution has gone down even though traffic has been increasing. It claims that if pollution levels remain legal it’ll lose financial backing for a CAZ from Westminster. In Leeds, Councillor James Lewis argued that alternative methods were improving local air quality; mainly by improving public transport and encouraging cycling and walking.
As of now, it would appear that Birmingham is still pushing ahead with a clean air zone; however, it’s delaying it until summer next year. All in all, the fleet industry can breathe a sigh of relief as fewer CAZs means fewer fees in large swathes of the country.
Grey Fleet Woes
The coronavirus pandemic has caused widespread reluctance to use public transport and mobility solutions. As a result, more people are choosing to drive to and from work. For fleets, this means mounting grey fleet issues. Peter Golding, Managing Director of FleetCheck, explained the situation. He said, “employers need to start thinking about how these changes fit into their operations and what changes they need to consider. This may include everything from considering the risk management implications of using an e-bike or moped on a local business journey to upgrading your fleet policy to take grey fleet operations more seriously”.
It’s thought that a desire to avoid public transport is what’s driving up used car sales. The £2,000 sector has been particularly stimulated over recent months.
More and more fleets are now turning to contract extensions in order to save money. An AFP seminar revealed that up to 42% of the fleet industry in the UK plan to extend leases or stop orders altogether in response to the state of the nation’s economy. However, some commentators claim that this strategy is, essentially, a false economy. The 1link Service Network has called on fleets to consider the SMR expenses associated with contract extensions. Vehicles that enter their fourth or fifth year generally face significant spikes in service and mantainence costs.
Debbie Fox, commercial director for the organisation, has advised fleets to consider contract extensions carefully. She said, “it seems like an obvious gain to defer replacing vehicles because it looks as though you are saving money when budgets are under pressure”. She continued, “however, the truth can be different. If you examine the cost of SMR over time, it tends to rise quite quickly as the vehicle ages”.
It’s All About Efficiency
With economies and financial woes becoming a part of the ‘new normal’, fleets are looking to maximise efficiency. Decision-makers are now seriously questioning what vehicles they should use, how many they’ll need, who’s most suitable to drive them and how they should be maintained. Peter Golding believes that now’s the time to use fleet management software to gain a more holistic understanding of a fleet’s operations. He said, “what we have seen is a drive to realise the further efficiencies that are available by simply adopting more of our technology to deliver present and future gains”.
Ultimately, there’s never been a better (or more important) time for fleets to review how they’re operating. Now’s the time to consider how fuel can be saved, how journey times can be optimised and how drivers can be better motivated or engaged with. The crisis of the pandemic can be used as a catalyst for long-term improvements.
Health And Wellbeing In The Fleet Industry
Fleet decision-makers and managers are, quite naturally, having to increase their focus on the health and welfare of their employees. Paul Hollick, the chair of Fleet World, has said that there’s been a new emphasis on physical and mental health. He explained, “there has been an acknowledgement from a lot of fleet members that employees’ move from an office-based environment to a home-based environment can come with a little stress; issues in terms of being able to set themselves up and work effectively from home. Those employees who are effectively furloughed can have a lot of anxiety as well as to whether they will be able to come back or not”.
Hollick said forward-looking fleets have looked to improve communication with members of staff; in order to foster inclusion and to keep people properly informed. He said it also made sense to provide tips in maintaining company assets and staying motivated.
Travel Patterns: Two Thirds Of Brits Have Yet To Return To Normal – https://www.autoservefleet.co.uk/latest-news/travel-patterns-two-thirds-of-brits-have-yet-to-return-to-normal/
Here’s Why A ‘Cycling Revolution’ Won’t Reduce Car Dependency – https://autoserve.co.uk/motoring-news/heres-why-a-cycling-revolution-wont-reduce-car-dependency/