Sam Sterry, Head of SME for Europcar Mobility Group UK, looks at the ways small firms can tackle the impact of van downtime as new research reveals that 39% of SMEs see a direct impact on productivity
The focus on fleet emissions, coupled with ongoing economic uncertainty, is creating a huge challenge for businesses in Northern Ireland. They are torn between the need to upgrade van fleet to meet low emissions requirements and the need for financial caution.
Europcar research earlier this year amongst businesses that use for vans for their operations found that over a third (37%) see economic uncertainty as the single biggest transport issue impacting their productivity during 2019. Yet, 71% of respondents admitted to tying up capital in the ownership of spare vehicles. Vehicle condition was also a significant issue for 42% of businesses surveyed by Europcar, which could be why so many hold onto spare vehicles. In fact, 92% of businesses with over 500 employees have spare vans on fleet. Downtime is a major issue, with 39% of businesses saying this had the biggest impact on productivity.
The fact is that the pressure on businesses to update their van fleets is in direct conflict with their need to minimise long-term financial commitments. This means ownership is no longer the most effective solution. When it comes to staying in control of costs and emissions, van ownership or long-term leasing doesn’t have to be the only option.
Long-term van rental means firms can update their fleet and benefit from the latest technology and the most efficient engines without the financial outlay of leasing or ownership. Rather than tying up resources buying depreciating assets, businesses could be looking at long-term van rental, which offers access to highly maintained vehicles that are less than six months old. And the flexibility of van rental means SMEs can hire the vehicles they need, when they need them knowing the costs won’t change and they won’t have unexpected repairs or downtime.
In today’s uncertain climate, Northern Irish businesses need a flexible approach to help them stay operational, but without a heavy long-term financial burden. Europcar Advantage for vans offers SMEs an effective alternative that delivers the flexibility they need, with access to a range of vans designed to meet different demands. And it comes with no fixed contract to sign, allowing businesses to make fleet changes without any penalties – ideal at a time when firms are unsure of their future requirements.