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Should fleets be planning for the next pandemic?

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Webinar delegates from an Association for Fleet Operators’ session were advised that contingency planning for the “next Covid-level event” is to become an essential part of fleet management.

 

Recent webinar “Back to Normal? A Post Covid-19 Landscape for Fleet Operators”, was hosted to help fleet managers handle conditions arising in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

During the session, Head of fleet at ISS, Duncan Webb, commented that it is likely to become a requirement to have formal documents and protocols outlines in place for any future pandemic-level event in order to win new business.

“Potential customers will probably want to see assessments of what would happen to your fleet supply chain as part of tender documents before they commit to working with you,” Webb said.

“Making sure that risks are better understood and managed, as well as how they would be handled in the event that anything like this happens again in the future is going to be an ongoing part of vehicle management… We are going to be living with Covid for a while yet. Personally, I think the direct effects on how fleets are operated will last at least another 12 months, with the impact working its way through the industry.”

Whilst adding to this further was Chair at the AFP, Paul Hollick, agreeing that “the coronavirus has changed, probably forever, the backdrop against which fleet managers operate,” Head of fleet and facilities at Autowindscreens, Shaun Atton, also spoke out, saying the pandemic really highlighted the importance of a well-managed fleet.

Atton said: “There have been many issues to consider. For example, because so many of our vans were sitting unused during lockdown we had a lot of unused mileage on our contracts. As a result, we’ve extended our lease cycle from three to four years, creating the opportunity to use all of our contracted mileage and make significant savings. However, we have reinvested that saving into the fleet with a range of new measures including rear view cameras, upgrading our telematics and more.”

Webb later addressed the webinar stating that the pandemic had led him to make a number of strategic changes to how he was approaching his fleet. Examples included; “during lockdown, we saw a one-third reduction in accidents and we want that to continue, so we now have a plan of activity designed to achieve that objective, getting people back to work safely from the point of view of both driver and vehicle.

“Also, we don’t want to return to the kind of overall mileages that we were seeing pre-Covid and we are looking to technology to help us do that, especially through the integration of fleet and travel functions.

“People will simply move around less in the future.”

 


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