Benchmarking by the FTA: Optimisation at the heart of van fleet strategies

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By Mark Cartwright, head of LCVs, Freight Transport Association

With our ‘glorious’ summer a fading memory and the promise of a new year fast approaching we wondered what FTA’s van operators’ outlook was for the next 12 months and what their wishes would be if they could lay their hands on the mythical magic wand…

We all know about the continuing doom and despondency around the economic outlook but how’s that translating in terms of expectations for fleet operators?

Interestingly, the majority of respondents reported that they expected the size of their van fleets to remain the same (59%) or to grow (26%).

Having said that, the increasing use of technology is clearly starting to identify opportunities to optimise vehicle strength within van fleets by recognising greater efficiency.

“Investment into our distribution network and our telematics system means we have become smarter at how we use our vehicle fleet, driving efficiencies while maintaining service,” confirmed Lee Jackson, fleet manager at HSS Hire.

“We have identified opportunities to improve vehicle utilisation since working with Masternaut,” said Ian Leonard, group fleet services manager at Speedy Hire. 

How about the adoption of alternatively fuelled vans?

In the April 2012 edition of Fleet Van we reported that most of our operators were taking a ‘wait and see’ approach before specifying electric vans.

This position remains with just one in 10 of operators expecting to take on EVs in 2013.

Jackson said: “Until there is a real cost-effective solution it’s still a PR position with little benefit.”

Rory Morgan, national logistics general manager at Iron Mountain, said: “We have just the one electric vehicle and we will explore other opportunities for electric LCVs with Renault being the best option at this moment we feel.”

It seems that for most van operators, 2013 is likely to be more of the same.

Most see little change in their fleet size and mix although they will continue to challenge the status quo to identify greater fleet efficiencies – exactly what you’d expect from a dynamic and responsive fleet manager.

Let’s dust off the magic wand. We asked fleet managers for their thoughts…

We asked what initiatives they would like to implement within their own fleet.

The common themes are cost and safety and the common solutions identified revolved around greater adoption of technology, including telematics, speed limiters and tracking.

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