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Warning of fleet skills shortage as coronavirus prompts company reorganisations

Date: 02 November 2020   |   Author: Sean Keywood

Company reorganisations driven by the coronavirus pandemic are leading to a new shortage in essential fleet skills, according to fleet software company Fleetcheck.

It says it is seeing growing instances of managers with fleet expertise either being made redundant, or moved into new roles.

According to Fleetcheck, this is leaving responsibility for vehicles in the hands of people with relatively limited experience.

Managing director Peter Golding said: "Long-time watchers of the fleet industry will know that this tends to happen during recessions. There is pressure to cut costs, leading to staff reorganisations and redundancies that inevitably results in corporate de-skilling.

"We're starting to see this occur at the moment and it will almost certainly create a noticeable vacuum of fleet skills over the next couple of years, as people who newly find themselves in positions of responsibility for company transport have to learn the basics.

"It's a difficult moment and it is sad to see that some people are losing their jobs, but it is also probably an unavoidable effect of the ongoing crisis of the last few months."

Golding said that, to an extent, companies in the fleet sector had a duty to provide a degree of assistance to workers who found themselves with new fleet responsibilities.

He said: "There are really two aspects to this. One is an ethical point of view, that fleet suppliers should be helping businesses as much as possible, even if that means going quite some distance beyond the normal level of what you are contracted to provide. 

"As people, we are all in this crisis together and we should all pull together. This is especially important when it comes to fleet health and safety.

"The other angle is a business one. Where a company has been forced to de-skill, it undoubtedly creates new opportunities for fleet suppliers to step in and offer appropriate services that will fill that vacuum."

Golding added that Fleetcheck was developing a number of initiatives to help those affected by the new fleet skills shortage, which would be launched within the next couple of months.

He said: "We've spent most of 2020 working to meet the rapidly changing needs of our customers and others across the fleet sector through the different phases of the coronavirus situation, providing relevant information, appropriate guidance and new products. 

"That's something we very much plan to continue into the future."