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Penny Searles' blog - 24 August: The Brexit effect and how to escape it

Date: 24 August 2016

'Brexit' may not become a reality for around two years but the referendum result is already having a big impact on businesses - especially SMEs. Business confidence among smaller businesses reportedly dropped dramatically in the three months to July 2016.

But while only a third of businesses are now optimistic about their future, almost half of UK SMEs have sought finance in the past year and still plan to grow.  Given the current volatility of the UK economy, where funds for growth may be harder to come by (Virgin Money recently put on hold its plans to enter the market as a lender for SMEs), SMEs need to find clever ways to cut costs if they intend to expand.

One expense which companies can reduce significantly is the cost of managing their fleets. Grey fleets, which make up 40% of all vehicles on UK roads, can often be far less cost-effective than they appear - costing UK companies over £5.5bn per year in mileage claims and car allowances.  This is aside from the resource needed to manage the fleet from a duty of care perspective.

While more and more businesses are turning to telematics solutions to help manage costs and tackle other fleet issues such as verifying fuel expenses, meeting duty of care obligations and supporting environmental responsibilities - few businesses are going to invest in installing telematics in their grey fleet.  In addition, when money is tight, dedicated resource for managing a grey fleet is a luxury many firms can ill-afford so containing costs and managing risk becomes a major headache.

However, advances in technology means there is now a very easy way for firms to keep an eye on the grey fleet through a simple, low cost plug in device, connecting with the car's computer, which delivers safety and money saving benefits to the driver and to their employer.  In essence, this technology gets the grey fleet talking, enabling services such as crash alerts, vehicle tracking, business mileage reporting and early identification of mechanical faults so these can be rectified. 

It's simple and smart. It's telematics but not as you know it.

Penny Searles is CEO of Smartdriverclub.