And while COVID-19 has made managing fleet harder, FMCs have not halted operations, and are doing their part to aid clients in need, particularly to those who are still considered essential businesses.
“One thing we have consistently seen—there are essential businesses, products, and services that must keep moving to keep people safe and healthy. We understand that this includes our clients’ businesses,” said Tom Coffey, senior VP of sales and consulting, Merchants Fleet. “In addition to trying to be as communicative as possible with our clients, we’re letting them know proactively of all the capabilities that we have to offer at this time that could be applicable to their needs, including temporary lease vehicles, disposing of surplus or unneeded vehicles, and even potentially monetizing vehicles that are owned through sale and leaseback transactions. We do have a significant pool of vehicles that are available for either short-term or long-term leases, especially for those clients that are in an essential use business where they serve the general public.”
Each FMC said it had implemented a temporary telecommuting work policy for its staff, though they are continuing to maintain communications with clients via email and phone, and have included a resource page on their individual websites.
“With information about how COVID-19 is impacting our industry changing by the hour, transparent communication is more important than ever and we continue to update this resource as new information becomes available,” said Bob White, president of ARI. “Above all else, and I cannot stress this enough, we are all in this together. Our team of fleet professionals remain available to help our customers navigate the road ahead and we hope that you and your loved ones remain safe and healthy during this challenging time.”
Amy Hudson, VP, Client Experience, Mike Albert Fleet Solutions echoed the importance of maintaining quality communication during this trying time.
“Our technology infrastructure and internal tools have allowed Mike Albert to make this transition extremely smooth,” said Hudson of Mike Albert. “Our clients should have no issue reaching their support contacts and communication within internal teams appears unaffected.”
Steven Jastrow, VP Strategic Consulting and Analytics, Element Fleet Management, mentioned other ways that Element is bolstering its services amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
"In addition, our consultants have developed a cost impact tool to forecast fleet savings impacts from decreased driving and lower fuel prices – this can help offset larger non-fleet business costs resulting from core business disruption caused by coronavirus," said Jastrow.
Carolyn Edwards, SVP of Client Success, LeasePlan USA, expanded upon ideas of the current situation further, and how the FMC is aiding during this difficult time.
“Given the widespread changes and disruptions caused by COVID-19, we expect that there may be delays outside of our control, particularly in the License and Title and Vehicle Acquisition departments,” said Edwards of LeasePlan. “But we want to be as transparent as possible and keep communicating any updates to our clients.”