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    Re-mobilising fleet post-pandemic

    With the roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccine and talks of social distancing restrictions easing, fleet businesses need to look at a post-pandemic recovery plan to re-mobilise their fleet and how to do this safely.

    The fleet industry has been impacted in various ways. Some fleets have seen a decrease in activity due to social distancing rules, whereas others have seen a rise, particularly within the courier and delivery market. Whatever the position your fleet is in, prioritising this time to future-proof your fleet and get ready to start moving post-pandemic is going to help you in the long term.

    Re-mobilising your fleet with a recovery plan

    The pandemic has dramatically impacted the world over the past year, and each business has had to adjust, including fleet businesses. As a fleet manager, or someone responsible for business vehicles, you should utilise any downtime to review policies and terms and look at modernising existing technologies to come out better and more prepared post-pandemic.

    Your recovery plan will need to carefully consider how to get your vehicles back on the road safely. Reviewing best practices and implement any changes that include drivers, vehicles and journeys. Working closely with your drivers and discussing what is expected of them post-pandemic will help them to understand the processes they need to follow.

    Having clear communication between you and your drivers will help improve operational efficiency. Resulting in reducing costs, making drivers safe and re-establish a positive workforce.

    Safety priorities and fleet policies

    However, the number one priority is ensuring your fleet is operating safely when they are back on the road. To improve driver safety, you need to review the following:

    • Current policies are fit for purpose
    • Driver training is up to date
    • Vehicle maintenance to ensure vehicles are safe on the roads
    • Fleet insurance to ensure all vehicles are covered

    Work-related road incidents and a poorly managed fleet can cost your business money. Making relevant changes and investing in the safety and productivity of your fleet will bring these costs down. 

    Now is the time to update current policies to protect your business and your drivers from legal risks. You must be able to demonstrate driver training, policies, an updated driver’s handbook with any relevant Covid-19 changes and a full track record of incidents and follow-ups, so you have a record of all the preventative measures in place for road traffic incidents. 

    When updating your fleet policies, you should include the following: 

    • Driver safety
    • How to manage work-related road risk 
    • How to perform sufficient risk assessment 
    • How driver training and driver performance is monitored and managed

    Improving fleet safety and preventing car accidents can also save you money on insurances. If a crash takes place in a work vehicle during work hours, the estimated cost of the incident can come to several times more than the cost of repairs. It’s wise to find ways to prevent accidents but also have relevant fleet insurance in place to cover your vehicle.

    Fleet Maintenance

    As well as improving the safety of your fleet, you should also schedule routine maintenance checks to ensure they are safe to return to the road.

    You can start with basic checks of brakes, oil, battery and tyres. However, if you haven't used your vehicles for a while, then a full service or standard maintenance checks will be required to ensure your vehicle is safe to drive.

    Other than fleet safety and maintenance, these are the areas that you need to focus on post-pandemic to reduce overall costs and work towards re-mobilising your fleet:

    • Excessive fuel use 
    • Poor driving that lowers the re-sale value (such as harsh braking and accelerating)
    • Driving offences
    • Avoidable vehicle down-time
    • Unengaged drivers who don’t follow procedures

    All of the above issues can be detailed in the driver’s handbook or during driver training.

    Flexible fleet post-pandemic

    Nobody knows when activities will return to how they were before, so looking at offering a flexible fleet could benefit your business post-pandemic. 

    Advanced technology and data tracking are enabling fleets to become more mobile. Fleets utilise technology to give an accurate view of the customer and their requirements and provide the right vehicle at the right time. 

    With the new technology, fleets are starting to tailor to businesses and staff needs. You will soon be able to hire vehicles on an on-demand basis. As the work from home trend is set to continue after the pandemic, having an easily manageable and accessible flexible fleet will help to keep costs down and provide a good experience for your staff.

    The digitalisation of fleet and electric vehicles will need to incorporate in your post-pandemic plan. The pandemic has affected fleet innovation, and you need to consider the environmental impact of their vehicles when planning for the future. 

    However, road safety is most important, especially as your fleet returns to pre-pandemic levels of driving. Make sure you have fully checked your vehicles so that they are fully taxed, passed their MOTs and fully serviced. Doing this will save your fleet time and money and keep your vehicles moving post-pandemic. 

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