Road to recovery: navigating the post-pandemic fleet landscape

Jayne Pett, director at Fleet Operations and TraXall UK, looks at the importance of knowledge and expertise in steering companies in the right direction on the post-pandemic road to recovery.

Covid-19 has reshaped the fleet landscape. Companies have had to face unprecedented challenges, with new fleet pain points coming to the fore. 

Not only are companies tasked with making the switch to more mobility-focused, electric-powered, data-driven fleets, but they are having to do this at a time when, for many, resources have become increasingly stretched, and fleet requirements are becoming more diverse.

There are now a myriad of considerations for businesses and fleet managers, and having a bespoke, fit-for-purpose fleet strategy is essential if companies are to emerge from this crisis efficient and futureproofed.

The focus for fleets should be on thriving not just surviving during this volatile, uncertain period – and acquiring the right expertise is the route to achieving this objective. 

Protecting the bottom line

The need to adopt the most appropriate fleet strategy against a backdrop of economic uncertainty is one of the key challenges faced by fleets today. 

Evolving fleet needs, for example, alongside sustainability considerations, has resulted in widespread reluctance to commit to long-term contract hires. 

Rather than acting as a blockade, this situation opens the door to more flexible options, including mid-term leasing, hybrid schemes, and mobility solutions. 

In the current climate, efficiency, vehicle optimisation, and flexibility are integral to the success of a fleet – but businesses and fleet managers must be aware of all of the options available.

Consulting with experts and outsourcing services can help fleets return to the drawing board, re-evaluate core objectives, or simply reinvigorate existing fleet strategies. 

From negotiating with suppliers and early terminations of unused vehicles, to flexible vehicle funding and cost management, turning to the experts for advice can help companies ensure their strategies are achievable, cost-effective, and suited to their unique fleet population. 

Opportunities for early adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) can also be identified, and an EV plan developed to help companies make the frictionless transition to electric, without compromising their bottom line or operational efficiency.

The changing world of work

Changes to working practices are also having a ripple effect on fleet businesses. 

Risk policies and procedures may need reassessing to ensure driver safety and legal compliance.

For example, trips to the office for employees now working from home may no longer be classified as commutes, but rather business journeys, calling for staff contracts to be reviewed to guarantee HMRC-compliant mileage claims and to ensure employees have the right insurance.

Driver training, wellbeing and risk assessments may also be required, as well as vehicle maintenance checks to ensure roadworthiness. 

Furthermore, changes in working patterns may accelerate the move to mobility and increase the demand for pooled fleets and daily rentals. 

With businesses and fleet managers having to adapt processes for legal compliance, cater for changing needs, while maintaining traditional benefits for reward and retention purposes, resources can become even more stretched.

Outsourcing services, however, can ensure all bases are covered, without the risk of costly oversights or employee disengagement. 

Throughout the pandemic, we have been supporting clients during a period of significant uncertainty, helping them to review and realign their approach to fleet management to ensure optimal operation. 

Our team of experts are here to help any business facing similar difficulties.  For your post-Covid fleet health check, email advice@fleetoperations.co.uk or call 0844 567 8000.

Article as first seen in the April 22 2021 issue of Fleet News.

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