Fleet managers were told to prepare for the next world event that could derail fleets - similar in consequence and scale to COVID-19 - as part of essential fleet management for the future.

At a special webinar organized by the Association of Fleet Professionals (AFP), a presentation from Duncan Webb - the Head of Fleet at ISS World, a facilities management company - explained that having formal documents covering such an eventuality would soon become a prerequisite for winning new business.

Duncan Webb, head of fleet for ISS World.

Duncan Webb, head of fleet for ISS World.

“Potential customers will want to see assessments of what would happen to your fleet supply chain as part of tender documents before they commit to working with you,” said Webb at the webinar called ‘Back to Normal? A Post Covid-19 Landscape for Fleet Operators’.

“Making sure that risks are better understood and managed, as well as how they would be handled should anything like this happen again, is going to be an ongoing part of vehicle management.”

Accident Levels And Mileage Reduced

Webb said he was also instituting a variety of strategic changes reflecting learnings from the pandemic lockdown, which included a one-third reduction in accidents. To ensure fleet drivers returned to work safely, Webb said the company was planning activity that encourages a safe return to work for drivers and their vehicles and maintains the lower accident rate.

Hand-in-hand with the push for a reduction in vehicle incidents, Webb said he was looking at mileage reduction measures too:

“We don’t want to return to the kind of overall mileage levels that we were seeing pre-Covid and we are looking to technology to help us do that, especially through the integration of fleet and travel functions. People will simply move around less in the future.”

Shaun Atton, head of fleet and facilities at Autowindscreens

Shaun Atton, head of fleet and facilities at Autowindscreens

Also speaking at the webinar was Shaun Atton, Head of Fleet and Facilities at windscreen replacement firm Autowindscreens. Explaining how the pandemic had affected his fleet, Atton said:

“As an event, Covid has really revealed the importance of a well-managed fleet and continues to do so, especially as we look forward to the post-pandemic period.

“There have been many issues to consider. For example, because so many of our vans were sitting unused during lockdown, we had a lot of unused mileage on our contracts. As a result, we’ve extended our lease cycle from three to four years, creating the opportunity to use all of our contracted mileage and make significant savings.

“However, we have reinvested that saving into the fleet with a range of new measures including installing rear view cameras, upgrading our telematics and more.”

Paul Hollick, co-chairman of the Association of Fleet Proessionals (AFP)

Paul Hollick, co-chairman of the Association of Fleet Proessionals (AFP)

Credit: AFP

Paul Hollick, Chair at the AFP, explained that the webinar had been designed to help fleet managers handle conditions arising in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Summing up, he said:

“The coronavirus crisis has changed, probably forever, the backdrop against which fleet managers operate and this session identified those fundamentals and discussed strategies that should deliver results in the future. Hearing how fleet professionals spent problem-solving in real time was fascinating as well as enlightening.”