The fleet management sector is set for another year of disruption. Fleet managers are being asked to support their organisations through another period of uncertainty and change, from the increasing demand to electrify fleets to keeping pace with rapid advances in driver technology and the need to manage costs in an incredibly fluctuating marketplace.
I am fortunate in my role to have the opportunity to talk to many of these fleet managers daily, based all over the country and from businesses of all sizes - never more so than in the three days I spent recently at the 2022 London EV Show. In this article, I lay out some of the key trends shaping the fleet management sector, showing how managers can best navigate them and, in turn, capitalise on some of the opportunities that are appearing.
Electric vehicles will drive the ESG agenda
Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) cover the standards that measure a business's impact on society and the environment and how transparent and accountable it is. In my conversations with fleet managers, the decarbonisation of fleet vehicles is becoming an increasingly helpful pull when developing and delivering a robust ESG policy.
Taking the first steps on a fleet electrification journey can seem daunting; the infrastructure, though improving, still has some issues, while access to electric vehicles is challenging. However, we hope the current global supply issues improve through 2023.
These temporary issues need not slow companies down when starting their electrification journey, and some interesting, innovative enablers are available.
Take salary sacrifice, for example, a tax and cost-efficient way of getting employees into electric vehicles while reducing a company's carbon footprint. Indeed, Salary Sacrifice was shown in the recent BVRLA Industry Outlook Report as a model expected to grow in popularity in 2023 as the cost-of-living crisis continues and companies continue to consider how they can help their employees through these difficult times.
Workplace charging is another example of how companies can place thinking around electric vehicles at the centre of their ESG agenda. Transport and Environment, Europe's leading sustainable transport NGO, reported in June 2022 that the number of workplace chargers outstripped public chargers, and it's something that we've invested in here at Gofor.
Companies should consider the UK government's Workplace Charging Scheme, which offers a level of funding to encourage businesses to install EV charge points on their premises, as a viable route to contribute to the workplace charging revolution and their more comprehensive ESG agenda.
One of our long-established clients, Mowi, the UK's largest supplier of farm-raised salmon, is a notable example of a company looking at the role electric vehicles can play in their broader ESG agenda. Mowi aims to lead the Blue Revolution, an ocean sustainability program that raises environmental and socially responsible standards within their industry, achieving a zero-emission or hybrid fleet by 2025, a core enabler of this.
Get your tech right, and get your transition to electric right
Technology is advancing quickly, and when it comes to fleet electrification or fleet management, knowing the right platforms and applications to deploy can be a significant enabler in the transition journey.
Whether it be trackers, charging infrastructure, or fleet management, most barriers can be resolved with the right combination of technology and ability.
All our clients benefit from the Gofor platform and driver app, including functionality that provides notifications around vehicle renewals and contract mileage, helping to keep drivers informed and put fleet managers in control of their fleets.
Further innovative solutions include developing EV driver training programmes where driving techniques to increase EV range are shared. At the same time, the use of telematics continues to grow, bringing insight into driving styles and their impact on power usage and vehicle range.
Fleet costs will continue to fluctuate
Inflation, the often-shifting political landscape, supply chain challenges, and fuel costs will continue to be highly volatile as we go into 2023 and beyond.
Fleet managers need to consider what they can do to mitigate these costs. Here are three of my recommendations:
- Make sure you are accessing the best possible discount terms. We offer our clients a simple, regular fleet review to determine what is available in the market and to ensure they're effectively managing their fleet costs
- Be prepared for upcoming orders well in advance. Working with clients to tie up future replacements as early as possible helps to future-proof pricing and optimise their fleet management costs
- Be agile, flexible, and ready to adapt to market conditions. There is a lot of flux just now, and this will continue; therefore, tactics or strategies deployed to manage your fleet in the last quarter may be less effective this quarter. Keeping an open mind to the possibilities in the market can lead to more inventive solutions to ongoing fleet optimisation challenges
Paul Gordon is Head of Sales at Gofor. He has almost 20 years of experience in the automotive industry and has been an Associate Member of the Institute of Car Fleet Management since 2015.
Paul ensures our sales team continues to understand and meet the needs of our clients, increasingly supporting them in their transition to greener fleet operations. Reach out to Paul direct to start your fleet transformation journey today