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A UK study has revealed that fleets are emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic with new confidence, with businesses feeling better equipped to manage disruption.

The report, entitled ‘Driving Better Business Resilience After COVID-19’, was commissioned by Driving for Better Business and surveyed 150 small and medium-sized business owners and over 150 decision-makers at board level in large enterprises.

In the report 50 per cent of UK businesses said that coping with additional demand as a result of lockdown was their main concern currently, as businesses seek to return to pre-COVID levels of productivity.

This has doubled in comparison to last year, when less than a quarter (22 per cent) of businesses sharing this view. In 2020, companies were most concerned with surviving the economic disruption of the pandemic, but opinion has shifted in the UK in the wake of easing COVID restrictions and encouraging vaccination levels.

The businesses surveyed found reporting at board level has increased significantly in 2021, with respondents noting an increase in fleet operational activities and costs to their boards in several key areas.

Increased fleet costs since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • Servicing and maintenance costs for company vehicles
  • Driver behaviour
  • Fuel spend for company vehicles
  • Annual fleet insurance
  • Vehicle incidents and damage repair costs
  • Grey fleet costs

“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,” Driving for Better Business’ , campaign manager Simon Turner said.

“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.”

The risk of lockdowns, restrictions, and lack of buying confidence will remain constant – Australia is seeing that firsthand with Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney all experiencing lockdowns within the past fortnight – but fleets that commit to embracing COVID will be best placed to handle the ongoing business challenges that this pandemic provides.

When you next experience a COVID imposed downtime use this period to retrain your drivers online to improve safety and reduce costs, consider ways you can restructure your operations to improve overall efficiencies or use the time to plan your next big move.

As we’ve all learnt since March 2020, COVID isn’t a temporary problem – there will be permanent shifts in the way we work and do business for the years to come.