There are various moving parts in fleet, and COVID-19 has impacted the many facets of the industry, including its wide range of industry partners. Fleets are wondering how support from their partners may be altered by this disease.
"As you’d expect, clients have been focused on the continuity of their respective businesses. That said, we have received questions around the status of vehicle acquisitions, deliveries, registrations, and essential versus non-essential business clarifications," said Steven Jastrow, VP Strategic Consulting and Analytics, Element Fleet Management.
From a broader perspective, these partners include the OEMs, dealerships, transportation logistics, maintenance suppliers, accident management solutions providers, and much more.
“The conversation continues to change shape. We are closely aligned in our relationships with our clients. Delivering proactively, providing consultation services to maneuver through COVID-19,” said Carolyn Edwards, SVP of Client Success, LeasePlan USA. “There is no roadmap for such a challenge, but by utilizing our expertise and industry expertise - we have developed some creative solutions for our clients. Funding solutions, maintenance recommendations and how to communicate to their fleet drivers, executive leadership and with their LeasePlan team members.”
But every fleet is different, which means different operations are approaching their handling of COVID-19 in ways that are specific to them, including the size of the fleet.
“Larger fleets have generally been concerned about operational impacts: they want to make sure they can still pick up vehicles or are asking about delivery to dealers, especially for vehicles that are for essential uses,” said Tom Coffey, senior VP of sales & consulting, Merchants Fleet. “They are also asking if service partners are still available to schedule preventive and non-preventive maintenance. Small fleets may be more sensitive to near-term changes and economic impacts due to the virus, so we have been working with them on customized and flexible offerings to meet their new and changing needs.”
But, more simply, trying to identify how the future of this pandemic might play out is a top concern mentioned among fleet managers.
And while FMCs are doing their best to support, the unpredictability of the situation has made it difficult to alleviate the ongoing stresses.
“Our clients appear to be the most concerned about simply not knowing what the future will bring,” said Amy Hudson, VP, Client Experience, Mike Albert Fleet Solutions. “The uncertainty around how long this crisis will last and attempting to align financial planning with an undetermined time frame is causing a great deal of angst. Most all organizations are doing their best to minimize the financial impact and conserve cash reserves.”