UK SMEs running company vehicles have successfully adapted to uncertainty and economic pressure during Covid-19, new research from Vimcar suggests.
Eight in 10 SMEs, surveyed by Opinion Matters, say they have had to adapt their businesses since March 2020, when the first lockdown was introduced.
Almost half (46%) said that they have implemented a new vehicle management software system and one in three (30%) have digitalised their fleets since March 2020, with businesses in the East of England (53%) implementing new software more than any other region.
Furthermore, a third of businesses said they had adapted operations as a result of increasing customer demand, with a quarter (25%) of companies adding new vehicles to their fleet.
The same percentage (25%) of businesses claimed that the cost of managing their fleet had increased since March 2020.
Ronald Clancy, UK country manager at Vimcar, says that the last year has changed the way businesses function forever.
“This data shows us just how resilient and adaptable UK SMEs have had to be to ensure the continuation of their businesses – and the reliance that these businesses have on the effective running of their fleets,” he continued.
“When we look to the future and the roadmap to recovery there are still challenges ahead, but it is positive to see that the digitalisation of fleets is an ongoing commitment for SMEs and their future success.”
The overwhelming majority (94%) of SMEs polled say that the impact of technology on their business has been positive since the beginning of the pandemic.
Investment in technology is also going to be an increasingly important way for companies to overcome challenges in the next 12 months. A third (33%) of businesses owning vehicles surveyed plan to install a fleet tracker or to invest in a fleet management solution (31%) to overcome challenges they are expecting.
Meanwhile, some 29% of businesses surveyed plan to increase their fleet size over the next 12 months, with 25% saying they would increase to meet customer demand or because their customer has changed since March 2020 (23%).
The top three regions that plan to increase their fleet over the next 12 months was led by East of England (39%), followed by the North West (33%) and then Greater London (31%) in third place.
The survey was conducted by Opinion Matters among a sample of 1,001 senior decision-makers in companies with up to 249 employees running fleet vehicles.