Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the fleet management industry faces uncertainty. For example, there is a growing tendency for people to avoid public transport to reduce their risk of infection of the disease. Due to the dangers of transmission, more people rely on alternative forms of transportation, such as car rentals, car subscriptions, and ride-sharing.
This shift in consumer behaviour has encouraged fleet managers to address the demand for their services while ensuring the safety of drivers, passengers, and other clients.
But living in such uncertain times, how can fleet managers deal with unprecedented situations? How can they address the scheduling of transporter trailers or the arrival of products? How can they prevent the transmission of the disease? Consider the following:
Brace Yourself for Unprecedented Situations
Your operations must be flexible enough for eventualities. For fleet managers, implementing protocols (such as procedures in case drivers fall sick) helps you respond to unprecedented situations, as well as ensure clients and staff are safe.
To ensure proper protocols are in place, answer the following questions:
- What happens if an employee feels unwell?
- What if an employee is diagnosed with COVID-19?
- What if an employee came into contact with a suspected/confirmed case of COVID-19?
- What if your employee currently lives with someone who is self-isolating?
- What if an employee has recently travelled from overseas and must self-isolate?
A detailed action plan should address all of the scenarios above to simplify operations, as well as reduce downtime and wasted hours. Pre-empting potential circumstances and preparing response measures and contingency plans will help you deal with unprecedented situations.
Optimise Resources to Cope with Unpredictability
Unpredictability is one of the most unfortunate by-products of the pandemic. Fleets are not safe from this volatility. If you do not manage your fleet correctly, your services and product could become unreliable due to spikes in demand, which increases your risk of losing clients.
For example, if a potential client expresses concern with private transport — due to their worries about being in proximity with their drivers — you’re faced with a situation where supply overrides demand, which could impact your business.
During these times, you must have better control over your assets — whether it’s your drivers or your vehicles. Fleets of all sizes use a fleet management system, which helps them optimise routes, live track their cars, and monitor driving behaviour to ensure the safety of their drivers and vehicles.
If you do not have such a system in place, now is an excellent time to look for a flexible management system. Apart from providing you with insights on your vehicle’s location, these systems can also minimise breakdowns, keep track of your vehicle’s health, and reduce downtime to increase demand.
Help Drivers Ensure their Safety
Since government authorities insist on the importance of personal hygiene, fleets must safeguard their services to reduce the risk of infection. Implement clearly defined hygiene measures that suit your company’s health protocols to protect the well-being of your staff.
A simple preventative measure is to provide employees with face masks and hand sanitisers, as well as ensuring the vehicles are disinfected before use. Regular cleaning and disinfection of your vehicles keep drivers safe, considering that COVID-19 can last on surfaces for up to three days.
Also, equip your drivers with essential disinfecting must-haves, such as sanitisers, disinfectant wipes, and masks. You should provide them with hygiene protocols to ensure all drivers will follow the rules for minimising the risk of spreading COVID-19.
Establish Clear Channels of Communication
The COVID-19 health crisis calls for better and regular communication between employers and employees, especially in a time when false news is everywhere. Employees must understand the basic do’s and don’ts, which should be communicated in a calm and collected manner.
Providing timely communications assure your employees that you are after their best interest. To establish regular communication, use tools that can disseminate information in a timely and personalised manner. You can use either built-in communication tools within your fleet management system or choose email service providers (ESP) like Campaign Monitor or MailChimp.
Finally, be proactive in sending out regular communications to your drivers. These messages could be government announcements, reminders about necessary precautions, and more. For example, have a printed out version of safety precautions displayed on the vehicle.
Uncertain times call for definitive and precise measures. A detailed contingency plan and regular open communication optimises the fleet, as well as meet the demands of the crisis’s evolving situation. These also ensure the safety of your drivers and clients.