If you’re looking to expand your business, and you’re
heavily reliant on road transport, then you’ll need to also expand your fleet.
In the wake of the coronavirus measures, the private sector has a crucial role
to play in getting supplies, essential and non-essential, right to the front
door. You might ask questions like ‘is this the right time to upgrade’ and ‘how much is my car worth,
But building a fleet is a more long-term project, and you’ll
need to lay foundations at the start that will provide a return on the
investment two, five, or ten year in the future.
The term ‘sustainability’ doesn’t just refer to green
credentials (though those are undoubtedly important). It means thinking about
the overall cost of a vehicle over the course of its lifespan. An inefficient
van might be cheaper to purchase up-front, but it will place a burden on your
company’s finances when it comes to fuelling and maintenance costs. If you multiply
this short-termism across an entire fleet of vehicles, the result is likely to
Instead, you should consider more modern, even electric
vehicles. There are some circumstances where the latter make particular sense –
if you operate in urban environments where range-anxiety isn’t an issue, charging facilities are more plentiful, and
more stringent pollution measures are likely to come into force, then the
switch makes sense. If you’re out in the countryside, or need a longer reach, then
this might not be the case.
How many cars do you need?
You should have enough vehicles at your disposal to meet the
needs of your business. Spend more, and you’ll be wasting money. This is where
accurately modelling and predicting demand can be critical. It’s easy to pump
money into new vehicles if it looks as though demand is surging – if you have
an idea of what the future holds, as with so many things in business, you’ll be
able to make more sensible spending decisions.
Organising the right routes
By optimising your logistics, you’ll be able to put drivers
on the fastest, most fuel-efficient routes. In this way, you’ll allow them to
do more work with less time spent on the road, and deliver a superior service
to your customers. Doing this properly might mean investing in centralised
computing systems, or outsourcing to a dedicated company who’ll do it for you.
Consider whether this investment is worthwhile.
The skill of the driver
of even the most technically efficient vehicle can be compromised if it’s being
driven by a poor driver. It’s easy to underestimate just how important things
like braking and acceleration are to the long-term fuel efficiency of a fleet,
but these tiny savings can aggregate into considerable ones over months and
years. With this in mind, it’s worth doing all you can to incentivise good
driving behaviour through careful monitoring and feedback.