Sam Sterry's blog: Don't let holes in the road create holes in your business productivity
18 February 2020
After the vagaries of the British weather, another popular topic of conversation around the office water cooler at this time of year is the state of our roads!
Winter weather inevitably causes more damage to road surfaces, and with the cold conditions comes the potential for more vehicle damage due to potholes. RAC patrols attended 20% more pothole breakdowns in the last quarter of 2019 compared to the same period a year earlier, with a resulting increase in distorted wheels, broken suspensions springs and damaged shock absorbers.
Of course we could all debate for many hours why this problem occurs every winter - but the reality is that it is part and parcel of the winter motoring experience. And for a business with people to keep on the move, and goods to deliver, it presents an unpredictable but potentially damaging challenge if alternatives aren't ready to be called into action.
Vehicle downtime - which inevitably leads to a drop in business productivity - needs to be mitigated against. But for most firms it just doesn't make sense to have a backup fleet of vehicles simply sitting and waiting in the company car park. The key is to find a mobility partner who can offer a range of options, with flexible pricing and quick turn-around on availability.
Choice is another important factor when looking for a partner who can help 'fill the gaps'. A supplier with just one size and type of vehicle on offer is probably not going to make sense to cover all a company's needs. A supplier only offering one length of usage is also going to be limiting.
Daily rental offers a cost effective and flexible alternative when you need an extra vehicle - whether it is just for the day or for longer. But don't just look for the cheapest price on the day. Make sure you can keep productivity up by having vehicles delivered and collected, rather than employees having to add travel time at the start and end of their journey.
Another option - especially for city-based businesses - is giving employees access to car share by the hour. So if a vehicle is off the road, they don't have to rely on public transport. With advances in automated vehicle access providing a more efficient way to simply tap and go, car sharing services can make real business sense.
For businesses and their fleet managers struggling to keep staff and vehicles on the move, winter can be a fraught time of year. But flexible mobility solutions can provide the answer. And they're not just for the winter months. As part of a company's mobility strategy they offer agility all year round, allowing businesses to keep moving.
Sam Sterry is SME sales director for Europcar Mobility Group UK.