Looking back on the first quarter of 2020, it’s clear that there was no way to prepare for the year ahead. Sure, things have changed, but the last 12 months have given businesses in our industry a clearer perspective on the challenges–and opportunities– that can come at any time.
With arguably one of the hardest years of business behind us, how can you make sure that you maximize the opportunities ahead in 2021? We’ve highlighted five key points:
- Keep an eye on supply chain
- Lead times and order-to-delivery times are still important considerations when reviewing your order cycle for the year. Chassis are one of the parts that were hit by delays in holiday season last-mile delivery, and part delivery is also still delayed as distribution manufacturers continue to increase production. While temporary adjustments are needed to build a solid replacement strategy, canceling orders entirely will lead to long-term damage that could cause more issues down the road..
- Revisit your vehicles
- How did 2020 shift the way your vehicles operate? You may consider remarketing as the quickest way to inject cash directly into your budget, but is that decision the best choice for the long haul? Remarketing is a great way to build liquidity into your budget, but only if you have a plan to keep your fleet operational over time.
- Consider the times
- The COVID-19 pandemic has shifted the way you do business: For some that means your trucks are operating at higher capacity; for others the number of drivers on the roads has been reduced. Are there elements of your driver policies that need to be reviewed now that the dust has settled? Take a look at some of the details in your fleet policy, like driver training, and employee reporting of fringe benefits. These specifics can save you big in the long-run.
- Don’t forget the basics
- When in doubt, remember the fundamentals of your business and the work that you do. Things may look different now, but your foundation hasn’t changed: Are your pandemic policies still best aligned with the way you operate? Consider the shifts you’ve had to make in the last year as vaccine availability increases to build a return-to-work plan that doesn’t sneak up on you.
- Look ahead
- Technology and industry advancements did not slow down in 2020, and this year promises to continue with that trend. The conversation around electric and sustainable fleets is more popular– and attainable– in 2021 than ever before: What does that mean for your business? Now is the time to take a look at your data to determine how tech can help you in the future. This is the year to consider how the major investment in electric could impact your long-term budget. Crunch the numbers around acquisition costs, maintenance expenses, Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) cost versus savings, fuel usage, and more.
2021 is a chance to build a better fleet. After a year of unpredictable change, the fleet industry is presented with opportunities for progress, previously unheard of . Check back on ARIFleet.com to continue on the path forward, and click here to subscribe to The Morning Brake, and have instant industry updates sent straight to your inbox.