This year has seen some unprecedented challenges for the fleet industry. The Covid-19 pandemic and other international events have impacted supply chains and staff, while fuel shortages have added to the uncertainty. With January 1st looming, it’s a good opportunity to make predictions about the trends that are likely to impact the fleet industry in 2022.
Growth in online purchasing
The number of consumers making online purchases has grown exponentially and shows no signs of slowing down as we hit 2022. This has been a result of Covid as well as general growth. This places huge demands on companies supplying to customers, particularly ‘last mile’ delivery from depots and sorting warehouses. This has been a major area of investment for fleet managers, requiring smaller vehicles and different driver schedules. This will continue to be an area of development into 2022 and beyond.
Supply chain issues
Supply chains have continued to be heavily impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. Staff shortages have meant longer waiting times for parts and machinery as well as fewer drivers. Brexit has also had serious ramifications, decreasing the number of drivers and adding administration difficulties to working with Europe. The impact of Brexit may be eased as policies begin to become more standardised, but disruption and difficulties are sure to be felt for quite some time.
Higher Fuel Costs
Fuel is the largest budgeting headache for most fleet managers with variable and fluctuating pricing affected by external circumstances. In 2021 this included supply chain issues caused by Covid. In September and October, the BBC also reported on a UK wide fuel shortage which made things even more difficult for the whole industry.
The continuing volatility of fuel prices will affect scheduling, financial forecasting, and planning into 2022. Fuel cards can help to save on some of these costs by allowing a company to be invoiced directly for fuel. Drivers can be issued with a fuel card which links directly to their company, supporting administration processes. Firms such as Fuel Card Services can support companies with this.
Longer lives for vehicles
With the above supply chain issues limiting the availability of new vehicles, some companies may look to extend the life of their current fleet rather than purchasing new models. This will mean spending more on maintenance.
2022 looks set to be another year of challenges and, more importantly, opportunities for the fleet industry.