Fleet News

Driving towards a more resilient future

Matthew Garrett, programme manager at Entec Si

Technology such as the Cloud has been available to fleets for years, but only now has it become a necessity.

Covid-19 has opened the door to innovative new working practices, enabling businesses to increase their resilience in the long-term.

However, when implementing new technologies, it is important to consider any impacts on a company’s people.

During the pandemic, many businesses have had to cope with interrupted services, office closures and the need to follow the Government’s strict safety guidelines, and fleets are no exception.

Each challenge has required businesses to introduce rapid changes to their working practices, something that not all of them were prepared for.

However, I believe that the switch to remote working and the transformation of systems and processes is not necessarily a bad thing.

Cloud-based solutions have allowed fleets to move every element of their administration online, from delivery confirmations to customer engagement.

This has provided employees with the equipment and knowledge they need to work remotely, allowing fleets to become more flexible than ever before.

In just a few clicks, fleet managers can gain access to maintenance information, reports and bookings on a single platform, improving both their productivity and efficiency levels.

Moving the business online also allows those who have invested in vehicle telematics to realise the full potential of this technology.

Not only can managers monitor KPIs such as mileage and how many jobs are being fulfilled in a given time, but they can also use the analytics to better understand their client base. This will enable them to make more informed business decisions in the future.

Another form of technology that I am sure will make fleets more efficient in the years to come is contactless confirmation systems.

These have come to the fore during the pandemic, enabling carriers to comply with social distancing rules when delivering a package.

Rather than taking a signature to confirm delivery, a photo is taken instead. Although a simple solution, this will help fleets to become paperless while increasing their overall efficiency.

When lockdown began, the main priority for businesses was making remote working possible.

A key part of this was investing in a cloud-based system, however, the speed in which this had to be done meant that suitability of the chosen platform may not have been considered.

Fleets now need to assess whether any further solutions they put in place are the right fit for their business model and look into alternative options if needed.

Seeking advice from a business change professional can help to inform this decision, as they can objectively review the needs of the company in order to identify the most appropriate technology solutions.

However, technology is not the only aspect of business change. People are at the heart of every company, including fleets, and I believe that a business-led approach is always more effective than one focused on technology alone.

This allows solutions to be delivered that truly benefit the organisation and its employees, leading to a happy workforce and a functional business.

To identify areas for improvement, fleets should undergo a business health check, assessing their processes to see if they complement the company’s future strategy.

If this involves using technology, then managers need to teach employees how to use it. Alternatively, if the focus is on remote working, business leaders need to make sure that all essential documents are accessible online.

No matter what changes are due to take place, company culture must be kept at the forefront of any major decisions being made. It is vital to include the workforce in a change project, otherwise it could be met with resistance.

Listening to staff’s needs and creating a supportive community is key to a successful transformation project, especially at such an uncertain time.

If we can take anything positive from Covid-19, it is that it has given businesses the chance to assess and improve their processes.

Once normality starts to return, fleets must learn from the changes they have made and avoid falling back into old habits.

By maintaining this new level of flexibility, I believe that fleets will become more resilient than they have ever been before.

A Fleet News webinar: WATCH NOW

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on fleet operations and business travel

Sponsored by Sixt.

A discussion hosted by Fleet News on the UK business response to the fleet challenges presented by Covid-19. 

A panel of experts will provide an insight into the trends and changes that they are seeing, before leading a debate and discussion among participants, including delegates, on future working practices, changes to travel policies, opportunities offered by mobility solutions and implications for fleet sizes, replacement cycles, funding methods and vehicle type.

Watch the webinar

Chaired by editor in chief Stephen Briers, in this 45-minute webinar, he will be in conversation with:

  • Dale Eynon is director of Defra Group Fleet Services and will give a fleet operator view of how covid-19 is affecting fleet operations
  • Kit Allwinter is senior consultant at AECOM and is a specialist in sustainable and active travel including shared mobility. He will provide a view on how Covid-19 is changing the way people travel and business working practices, etc. and the implications for travel and fleet activity, especially in urban areas
  • Paul Hollick, chair of the Association of Fleet Professionals. He’ll be representing the views of UK fleets, providing insight into how their operations are likely to evolve and change due to new working practices sparked by the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Simon Turner, campaign manager at Driving for Better Business, which has created a Covid-19 toolkit, driver app and management portal to help fleets back to business.

  • Stuart Donnelly, Sixt (sponsor)


• Changes to working practices (agile/remote/office working)

• Changes to travel policies (travel to work, travel to client, travel to supplier etc)

• Implications for fleet size (new car/van sales demand)

• Impact on replacement cycles (new car sales demand) and annual mileage

• Impact on demand by vehicle type (EV, Hybrid, Petrol, Diesel)

• Changes in funding preference (fewer traditional 3-4-year contract hire lease agreements and more flexi-hire contracts?)

• Active travel policies (walk, cycle, other)

• Public transport policies (to work, at work)

• Role for other mobility preferences (car share, car clubs, mobility budgets)


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