Fleet monitoring key for UK businesses to avoid further Covid-19 disruption, research suggests
30 July 2021
Author: Sean Keywood
UK businesses are now better prepared to deal with ongoing Covid-19 issues, thanks partly to increased reporting of key fleet data at board level.
That's according to Driving for Better Business, a Highways England programme backed by the UK Government, which cited research carried out for its new report, entitled 'Driving better business resilience after Covid-19'.
Among the findings from the research, which surveyed 150 SME business owners and over 150 board-level decision makers from large companies, was an increase in board level reporting of fleet related topics including service and maintenance costs, driver behaviour, fuel costs, annual fleet insurance, incident and damage repair costs, and grey fleet mileage levels.
This included 50% of businesses reporting servicing and maintenance costs, up from 31% last year, while the number of businesses measuring and monitoring driver behaviour had more than doubled, from 18% in 2020 to 41% in 2021. According to Driving for Better Business, this showed that awareness about the importance of measuring and monitoring business operations had increased over the course of the pandemic, as UK-based fleets have embraced and implemented better driver engagement strategies to improve business outcomes.
The better-prepared state of businesses is further demonstrated by the research's finding that 60% have strategies in place to deal with localised lockdowns and Covid-19 waves, compared with 39% a year ago.
The research also found that 50% of businesses saw coping with additional demand following lockdown as their main current concern, up from 22% last year.
Driving for Better Business campaign manager Simon Turner said: "Today, businesses face diverse and competing challenges as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the challenge of remaining agile and maximising financial strength has remained a business priority for all businesses, just as it was in March 2020, and will continue to be post-Covid-19.
"In 2020, businesses were concerned about their financial strength in an uncertain economic landscape, yet were failing to track and report on fleet activity, operational costs and collision-related disruption - an activity that would lead to much more effective cost control and therefore improved resilience.
"To create change, Driving for Better Business has heavily promoted this as an established route to improved business resilience, supported by industry-leading resources such as benchmarking, gap analysis and Covid-19 Driving for Work guides.
"By tracking industry progress over the past year, the results of our second business resilience report demonstrate the importance of measuring and monitoring activity to improve business outcomes, and the extent to which businesses have embraced the ways of working suggested by Driving for Better Business in order to meet the challenges posed by Covid-19. As a result, UK fleets are emerging from the pandemic with renewed confidence and optimism about their post-pandemic future."
Commenting on the report, WM Morrison Supermarkets PLC regional transport manager Gary Banister said: "WM Morrison recognises the importance of managing work-related road risk and striving to improve the productivity, safety and sustainability of our drivers and fleet, both in-house and third party.
"Commitment at director level and collaboration with suppliers has been key to this process and we continue working with Driving for Better Business to help promote best practice within the industry."