Fleet Management beyond 2020 – Will there be consequences?
Covid-19 has forced many companies and industries to change the way that they use their fleets. As people work from home and offices remain empty, it doesn’t make sense to send a salesman driving around the country for a meeting that could take place on a video call. Our sudden changes in attitudes to work, along with the societal and governmental pressure towards tackling the climate crises, deter managers from investing in expensive fleet cars. To employees who are spending less time on the road, it’s no longer the bonus it once was. In the United Kingdom, France and Germany, new car registrations have plummeted.
What the future holds for fleet managers?
While there are reasons to be concerned, the future is not necessarily bleak for fleet managers. Even during the pandemic, delivery fleets have experienced unprecedented growth. As in all difficult times, adaptability will be vital to surviving the pandemic and beyond, and fleet managers will need to adapt to changing customer demands and new green regulations.
Here are the most prominent forces for change for the near future and beyond.
Electric vehicles have become far more common on the roads. While petrol and diesel car sales have dropped by 21% and 38% respectively, pure electric vehicle sales rose by 184%. With plans to ban the registration of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030 in several European countries, governments have been encouraging electric vehicles through subsidies and the prospect of driving in low emission zones.
Low ranges and long charging times mean that electric vehicles still aren’t suitable for drivers that make big journeys or spend all day driving with little chance to charge their cars. As technology develops, making a move to electric could be cost-effective for some fleet managers.
Government work-from-home directives
During the first lockdown, more of us were working from home than before, and for most of Europe, the official government advice is still to work from home where you can. While this advice is in place, companies need to avoid face-to-face meetings and are encouraged to conduct things like interviews and client meetings online. Fleet managers should watch their government’s directives carefully, as extended work from home policies will reduce the need for fleet drivers.
Fleed managers and regional lockdowns
As Europe is expected to come out of its second lockdown, countries have adopted a region by region tier policy. Fleet managers will continue to struggle with keeping their fleet operational and productive while ensuring they keep their staff and customers safe and stick to government guidelines. Taxi fleets in tier three will likely struggle due to the closure of bars and restaurants. Redeploying your fleet to lower-tier areas may lessen the blow.
On the other hand, taxi fleet drivers may gain business from a new opportunity. As people start to go back to their offices, many may be hesitant about taking public transport in the winter due to the risks associated with traveling in an enclosed space with many strangers. Fear of winter illness could cause an increased demand for shorter taxi rides, and fleet managers who adapt to low-cost city driving vehicles could benefit.
Vaccines are being approved across the globe and life may get back to some form of normality sooner than we think. While we expect that some companies will continue to allow staff to work from home and conduct meetings online, many functions will return to the office. The news of the vaccine should not make fleet managers complacent. Producing and distributing doses will take time. It’s also likely that some things will stay. Many companies will have found benefits in allowing staff to work from home, and more people are comfortable with shopping online and getting home deliveries. Now is the time to show your company why your fleet is crucial.
How has your fleet adapted? What are your plans for fleet management for 2021 and beyond? Follow VouchForMe on social media and join in the discussion.