After what has been a turbulent few months for fleet managers, they find themselves once again being plunged into uncertainty as a result of the announcement of a second national lockdown.
These newer national restrictions will apply until 2nd December at the earliest, and will impact how fleet managers continue to run their operations.
Difficulties many organisations faced during the first lockdown (re-sizing fleets to meet requirements, enforcing social distancing, acquiring new vehicles) are likely to rear their head once again.
With Christmas on the horizon and many fleets still considered “essential”, the next month (and perhaps longer) is going to be challenging.
Enterprise Flex-E-Rent is here to provide advice to fleet managers navigating the second UK lockdown, and where you need our flexible vehicle hire services, ensure your business is kept firmly on the road. Even in the midst of uncertainty, we’re here to help.
Fleet considerations for the second UK lockdown
Where the first UK lockdown was a huge shock to the system, arguably fleet managers are somewhat accustomed to uncertainty by now.
That being said, there are new challenges to consider. The risk of COVID-19 is now higher than in previous months, and while many businesses are advised to operate from home, fleet workers unfortunately don’t have this option.
Therefore, like they did in March (but arguably to a greater extent) fleet managers need to ensure that fleet operations are meticulously planned and executed successfully - with a continued emphasis on driver safety.
In light of the second UK lockdown, our initial COVID-19 advice for fleet managers still stands.
- Focus on only essential travel and vehicle maintenance - postpone any inessential modifications to your vehicles.
- Ensure a complete understanding of your fleet profile - how many vehicles you have, and if you’ll need to reduce or expand your fleet to meet demand.
- Consider how you’ll acquire new vehicles if you need them - If you need to acquire new vehicles to meet demand, explore other options besides purchasing outright, as you’ll want to keep cash flow in your business.
- Do everything you can to keep drivers safe - this means not letting cleanliness and hygiene standards slip, encouraging unwell employees to stay at home and supplying drivers with the relevant PPE.
However, with the festive period rapidly approaching, these considerations become even more important.
Busier months invite further challenges, such as poor weather conditions and less daylight hours, that will impact the efficiency of fleet operations.
With the risk of driver exhaustion also a concern, the festive period this year could be particularly tough.
The festive rush: meeting demand under stricter restrictions
In addition to national restrictions, fleet managers also have to deal with what might be their busiest festive season yet.
Christmas is always the most demanding time of year for organisations managing large commercial fleets. But with imposed lockdown forcing people to shop online, we could see demand increase significantly compared to usual statistics.
Research suggests that a third of all Christmas spending is forecast to take place online this year, as shoppers spend 25% (or £5.6bn) more on eCommerce than they did last year.
Buyers are also being advised to shop early, creating increased pressure for fleets to deliver in a shorter time period.
With so many businesses depending on the Christmas period to regain some of this year’s lost profit, it’s absolutely essential that fleet managers understand what their requirements are, such as:
- Will you need to expand, or reduce their fleet to cope with further Covid-19 restrictions?
- Do you have an action plan in place for breakdowns, or driver shortage throughout the festive period?
Doing this in such a short amount of time can be extremely challenging. While some companies will be scaling back, some will see a surge in demand that they cannot meet without support.
It’s essential that you have a partner that can provide this support, and help you navigate tighter national restrictions - and the festive period - successfully.
What we’re doing to help businesses like yours moving forward
As a provider of essential services, we’re remaining open to anyone requiring our services - helping frontline workers meet demand and stay mobile, no matter the industry.
- We’re continuing in our development of specialist vehicles to support key workers, including mobile testing laboratories and vans with dual compartments for separate ‘contamination’ and ‘clean’ areas.
- We’re also helping businesses prepare for a surge or reduction in demand, providing flexible mobility solutions that can be scaled up or back to keep cash flow in your business.
Our flexibility was integral to consumer delivery company Hermes UK, who saw demand in the first lockdown exceed twice the seasonal average - surpassing even the peak Christmas period.
“Enterprise’s flexible rental enabled us to meet a wave of demand that appeared almost overnight and is still ongoing. We’ve brought new vehicles into the fleet without a massive capital investment and have the security of knowing we can just hand them back if demand slows down.”
- Mervyn McIntyre, Head of Fleet at Hermes
For businesses like Hermes - and other key organisations across the UK - Enterprise Flex-E-Rent is committed to keeping essential fleets on the road.
Our flexible hire solutions mean customers can easily scale their fleet up and down to meet demand - without incurring any penalties. No matter how quickly your situation changes.
As we move towards further uncertainty and tighter restrictions in the midst of a second national lockdown, you can be sure that Enterprise Flex-E-Rent is here to help, every step of the way.