Fleets need to be thinking about how they will “remobilise” their operations as the pandemic ends, says epyx.
The company points out that, if the planned vaccination programme now underway is implemented rapidly, something approaching the new normal’s version of business-as-usual could materialise quite quickly.
Debbie Fox, commercial director, explained, “Expert views on the speed with which vaccination can be carried out and the rapidity with which it will impact on infection rates seem to differ widely – but it seems likely that we will see a marked effect beginning some point between the Spring and Summer.
“Fleets should consider how they will approach this moment as over the last nine months, very few have been operating in anything like a normal manner but we could finally begin to see a return to face-to-face meetings, for example. The new lockdown makes this possibility seem quite distant but change could happen relatively quickly.
“Certainly, we know from our experience that we have clients who want to be able to have in-person meetings as soon as they can be carried out safely. They desire the human aspect of the relationship they have with us. Video-conferencing has proven to be a really useful substitute but it will not replace all meetings in the future.
“Fleets should be aiming to effectively manage this transition in order to create positive and defined outcomes rather than letting it happen in a haphazard manner.”
Debbie said that fleet remobilisation plans could cover everything from ensuring that vehicles that had been driven infrequently over the last year were safe for more intensive use through to looking at future company transport needs in the widest strategic sense.
“There are many practical points to be considered. For example, because of our 1link Service Network platform, epyx has been closely involved in enabling cars and vans that have been essentially laid up on repeated occasions to be safely maintained.
“Ensuring this is the case can require expert advice as well as driver safety checks, and we have been working with our fleet customers to keep cars and vans in the best possible condition, despite the pandemic.
“Additionally, there have been a lot of interesting conversations going on over the last nine months about what the future of fleet will look like and there appears to be a consensus that it may not be like the past.
“There seems to be a school of thought emerging that says the company car will remain the central plank of transportation for most organisations – but it is likely to be electrified and used in a more strategic manner than in the past, for journeys that are believed to be necessary. It will also be incorporated into wider mobility strategies that will aim to take advantage of new mobility options.
“The forthcoming moment of fleet remobilisation creates a natural point to assess concepts such as these and to decide whether they are appropriate for your needs – while this lockdown period could provide the space to incorporate new thinking into structured plans.”