How to secure fleet management continuity in times of COVID-19?

    Thursday, May 7, 2020

    The crisis we are facing today needs no introduction or explanation. As businesses and as individuals we are in unprecedented times with no real view on when this crisis will end or what the real effects will be either in the short or long term. Athlon remains open for business and we are doing everything we possibly can to keep ‘getting you there’.

    New lease cars

    This is a good time to evaluate your current situation and make sure your fleet continues to be managed in the most efficient way, both during this crisis and beyond.

    In a recent digital masterclass of the IFMI* (International Fleet Managers Institute) our International Account Director Mark Taylor outlined some steps fleet managers can take now to do this. The IFMI organises periodic webinars for members to learn more about ongoing trends and to become more effective in their roles.

    In April, the IFMI organized a topical session on ‘how to secure business continuity in times of COVID-19’ where Mark Taylor and other expert speakers outlined key steps fleet managers can take to ensure the health of their vehicle fleet.

    This webinar session, that you can watch here, focused on three topics:

    1. What can fleet managers do to secure business continuity today?
    2. How can fleet managers secure the best outcome in terms of fleet strategy for tomorrow?
    3. Why could it be a good time to include innovative alternatives in your policies?

    “This crisis is a good opportunity to step back from the day-to-day fleet business and engage with other key stakeholders to review your policy and strategy,” said Mr Taylor.

    Working in partnership
    In the same vein, fleet managers must be careful not to take aggressive quick decisions like de-fleeting vehicles. Keep in mind, those vehicles will likely be needed to resume normal operations.

    Plan C
    As short-term rental companies are de-fleeting their own fleets at a high pace, it is likely that availability of short-term rental vehicles will suffer, making them a less reliable option to ensure mobility for drivers waiting for leased vehicles to be delivered.
    Likewise, when OEMs resume production, they won’t all do it at the same time and they will probably suffer parts shortages for a considerable time, potentially throwing a spanner into the works and disrupting your planning.

    “As the situation will continue to change, in order to prepare for the period after this crisis you will need a plan B, and probably even a plan C,” said Mark Taylor.

    Look to the future
    This crisis boosts innovative ways of maintaining levels of service and some of them could be adopted into policies permanently. Videoconferencing will never replace all meetings, but surely some business meetings could continue being virtual into the future.

    Mr Taylor concluded:

    “Ask your suppliers for realistic sustainable support to approach the crisis together as a mutual challenge since suppliers and customers are partners and we are all part of a supply chain.”

    7 tips to ensure fleet management continuity

    1. Review your contract terms and mileages and try to amend your contracts to reflect lower usage and lower fuel costs.
    2. Extend contracts to offset longer delivery delays of new vehicles.
    3. Use short-term rental vehicles to manage demand if required.
    4. Reallocate end of contract vehicles to new starters or use as pool vehicles if required. Athlon can offer you SecondDrive solutions.
    5. Be aware that slower new vehicle production and a potential rush on some types of vehicles afterwards may disrupt your planning. Consider what alternative vehicles could be used to meet demand.
    6. Avoid making aggressive quick decisions like de-fleeting as you will likely need these vehicles to resume normal business activities.
    7. Stay in close contact with your vehicle leasing partners for advice and guidance.

    *The International Fleet Managers Institute (IFMI) is the educational platform of media Fleet Europe in partnership with Athlon, ALD, Arval, LeasePlan and supported by SEAT. The IFMI informs and educates corporate fleet and mobility stakeholders about the latest developments and trends in international fleet and mobility management.

    Do you have questions about how to deal with your fleet in these times? Get in touch with your Athlon account manager, who will be happy to assist you.