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  • Advice on managing your fleet during the Coronavirus pandemic

    Managing fleet during coronavirus

    After quickly transforming into a global pandemic, Coronavirus (COVID-19), has caused complications to many businesses, not least the operations of fleets. In this article we look at how you can limit some of these complications and continue to run an efficient fleet.

    Coronavirus causes mass disruption to fleets

    For many fleets involved in logistics and delivery services business continues but with additional constraints, uncertainty and essential safety precautions being necessary. There is no question however, that COVID-19 has massively disrupted the supply chain globally. Due to many industries slowing down, as a result of tightened budgets and lack of available staff, the fleet industry will in turn be affected.

    Limited supply and increased demand for certain goods may increase freight costs, service fleets (such as taxi and bus fleets) will experience significant decrease in demand and courier services will be stretched to the limit. Amidst all of this it will be important to maintain your fleet vehicles to ensure limited downtime and therefore stocking up on some essential parts may be necessary if you carry out preventative maintenance in house. An effective fleet management system will prove a significant benefit here, alerting you when stocks are running low and ahead of regular maintenance check-ups.

    During slower periods due to Coronavirus impact, we would recommend that preventative maintenance activities could be carried out ahead of schedule to make the most of quieter periods and ensure vehicles are functioning at peak performance when demand picks up.

    Employee safety

    It is important for any fleet to support and protect their employees in the face of this pandemic by ensuring effective sanitisation. You will need to ensure that your work environment minimises hazards and sanitary facilities are provided to all workers.

    If your employees do interact with customers then you will also need to provide a good stock of gloves, masks and antibacterial gel or soap. In some cases, additional protective wear may be necessary. For construction and service fleets the employees will need to adhere to the suggested distance of remaining six feet away from each other in order to limit the spread of the virus and ensure their safety.

    Necessary sanitation supplies to clean vehicles should also be provided before and after use daily, including regular touch points such as dashboards, controls, steering wheels, and door handles. Such checks should be included as part of your daily inspection reports. Having an electronic system for such reports will prove more efficient as you will receive updates instantly in real time.

    Good hygiene should also be communicated to your drivers, with expectations being clearly outlined in terms of regularly washing hands to ensure anything that is touched is not cross-contaminating anything else.

    Effective communication

    Outlining your expectations of clear communication lines is also key in limiting the effects of Coronavirus. As with any other situation within your fleet management, you need to request regular and speedy communication in terms of any issues that may occur which can be fixed efficiently, and escalations can be prevented. This will of course also include any immediate communication of contracting symptoms of the virus so employees can quickly be moved into isolation and vehicles can be deep cleaned to reduce the spread.

    Avoiding unnecessary expenses

    During the current pandemic monitoring operating costs will have greater importance than ever. In the short-term you may find efficiencies in reduced expenses such as fuel and tolls, however, areas such as maintenance costs and parts may increase. Fleets should also consider that any outsourced maintenance shops may be operating on limited hours with delays in deliveries of service parts. The importance therefore to focus on preventative maintenance is high to reduce the chances of larger scale vehicle issues and expenses as well as increased downtime.

    Monitoring of asset utilisation via telematics systems will also be imperative to ensure decisions can be made on maximising the usage of fleet vehicles or reducing usage during decreased demand and considering options such as Furloughing staff whilst demand is low.

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