Advice on reshaping fleets for the new normal

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Fleet manager responses to the coronavirus crisis should not just focus on cost-cutting but also explore “shaping assets to fit the new world”.

The UK’s Association of Fleet Professionals says fleets need to explore shaping assets to fit the new world post-lockdown

While the UK’s Association of Fleet Professionals (AFP) has said that fleet managers need to play their part in a general business spotlight on cost efficiencies, deputy chair Stewart Lightbody said the overall fleet strategy should be more about making operations fit for the future.

Speaking in the association’s first webinar – available to view here, Lightbody said: “There are several key factors behind this – including the need to put the health and safety of employees first, managing their changing needs and desires, dealing with a reduced number of business trips and commutes, and a reluctance to use public transport.

“All of these will undoubtedly impact on the fundamentals of your fleet strategy, ranging from the type and number of vehicles you operate through to how they are provided, and from speed of adoption of mobility strategies through to the company car provisions in employee contracts.”

He said that an especially important area was likely to be grey fleet management, with more employees using their own vehicles for business purposes.

“Many, many employees are going to be reluctant to use trains and buses or any other form of shared mobility for the foreseeable future, instead wanting to use their own car, whether for commuting or for work-related travel purposes.”

He added: “Clearly, this is going to create a whole range of challenges but perhaps the single largest will be the sheer amount of grey fleet management required. As an industry, we are going to have to be very single-minded when it comes to ensuring that risk management is well-controlled.”

Delegates to the webinar by AFP – formed in March as a result of the merger of UK fleet associations ACFO and ICFM – also heard presentations from Paul Brown, international fleet manager at the Stericycle Group of Companies on how his fleet had handled the coronavirus crisis on the front line during lockdown, and from AFP chair Paul Hollick on the board, committee and training structures that had been created for the new organisation.

Paul Hollick said: “I believe that a consensus is arising about the direction that fleet professionals should be taking at this moment in time, clearly putting people first but also, as Stewart explained, reshaping fleets for the new normal that is now starting to emerge. I’m pleased to say that everyone appears to be responding with energy, dedication and imagination. As a fleet professional myself, it’s inspiring.”

To view the full AFP webinar on YouTube, click here.

For more of the latest industry news, click here.

Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.