As the cost of living continues to rise, businesses, including commercial fleets, are feeling the squeeze.
The same macroeconomic trends that are affecting households, such as high inflation and interest rates, are also putting pressure on fleet operators.
This is compounded by supply chain disruption, which is making it difficult for businesses to operate efficiently.
Despite these challenges, fleet operators have a track record of resilience and ingenuity. A new study from Bridgestone in the UK sets out to understand their thoughts and strategies in the wake of current cost of business crisis:
Fleet Operations Outlook
Despite the high inflation and borrowing costs, 55 per cent of fleet businesses predict growth for their operations in the year ahead.
Despite LCV registrations falling last year in the UK, less than one in five (17%) van fleets believe their operations will contract in 2023. This contrasts with 36 per cent for HGV operators.
What areas of fleets are seeing the biggest cost increases?
According to the study, 69 per cent of fleet managers cited fuel – typically one of the biggest fleet operating costs – as the biggest cost increase. This was followed by drivers wages and overtime (49%) and SMR (41%). Rising energy costs saw 24 per cent of van fleets cite EV charging.
Fuel is regularly cited as the most critical rolling and whole-life expense for fleets, this is also the biggest target for cost savings, closely followed by vehicle procurement – marked by 33 per cent and 29 per cent of fleets, respectively.
Reflecting higher relative costs per vehicle, procurement costs are a bigger focus of attention for HGV fleets.
What key strategies are being implemented to reduce fleet costs?
Fuel management has fallen under the microscope of commercial fleets in response to prevailing economic challenges – 68 per cent of fleet managers are focusing on taking new strategic measures to control costs in this area.
Meanwhile, 72 per cent are looking to extend their vehicle replacement cycles. Supply chain disruption may be forcing the hands of fleet managers but for some, it may signal an eagerness for quick-fix solutions to the cost of business squeeze.
Bridgestone says 71 per cent of fleet managers are planning to deploy new technologies such as telematics to help reduce fleet costs and operational pressures.
Click here to read the full research report from Bridgestone on the impact of the current cost of business crisis on commercial fleets.