Adrian Bewley's blog: Mobility is a business continuity essential
06 November 2020
Covid-19 revealed the robustness of disaster recovery. Many organisations found that lockdown re-adjusted their priorities, placing transport and mobility much higher up in the list of imperatives for business continuity.
While large businesses have departments devoted to keeping operations running in the face of the unforeseen, many SMEs running essential community-based services don't have that luxury. Finding local suppliers with the scale and network to support their mobility requirements was also key.
Keeping people and goods moving has moved beyond being a travel and logistics issue and is now central to business continuity. During the pandemic, fleet and travel departments and suppliers were constantly on call, ranging from businesses with a handful of vehicles to thousands, as mobility became a high-level, strategic consideration.
We are continuing to see the effects of this transition as a second lockdown emerges.
Many employees need to retain their daily/monthly rental vehicles for longer periods, especially those now working from home who may no longer have access to pool cars at the office. Some may need to block-book a car club vehicle so they can be assured that it's there when they need it.
Some organisations are re-thinking their entire travel strategy and policy, given that workers may be reluctant to use public transport in light of local authority guidelines. Many are looking to capture data on emerging employee travel behaviours in order to frame travel policies that make sense in the new normal.
In many cases, particularly in the public sector or industries such as energy and infrastructure, key workers are delivering essential services and have to be mobile come what may.
They have an acute need for longer-term rental and for replacement vehicles - and guaranteed mobility in a regularly cleaned vehicle can even help to provide emotional support in a time of great uncertainty.
Employees are entitled to know that they can travel safely and this has also become a priority. Service enhancements such as contactless rental and enhanced cleaning protocols that ensure vehicles are rigorously cleaned and sanitised between rentals are now essential.
Flexibility and the ability to meet rapidly changing requirements is also vital. Many more board directors understand that access to flexible and on demand mobility mean businesses can streamline operations when they need to, and upscale to deliver against fluctuations in demand.
The rental sector is well placed if it can deliver tailored solutions, technology tools to increase efficiencies and deliver against business objectives and the travel policy, and strategic guidance on how transport will support business operations.
In essence, the past six months have already redefined how businesses think about how the rental sector delivers mobility. There's little doubt that the next six are going to see that trend continue.
Adrian Bewley is assistant vice president of business mobility for Europe at Enterprise Rent-A-Car