Fleet Advantage: COVID-19 Forces Less Utilization, Trucking Fleet Downsizes

Fleet Advantage revealed the results of its latest industry survey, which shows how companies in different industries had to modify and scale their truck operations because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fleet Advantage commissioned the online survey in August and found that 36% of the companies that responded had to change routes for as many as 40% of the trucks in their fleets, and 25% have had to change what their trucks are primarily hauling. Much of this shift was a result of the closing of many restaurants across the country, with fleets shifting their routes to handle increased demand for grocery items and retail/merchandise (non-food) delivery.

The survey also illustrated that roughly 50% of respondents used fewer than 30% of the typical miles accumulated in routes when the pandemic hit. This also meant that roughly four of every 10 fleets were operating at 80% of normal utilization. As a result, along with the broader impact from the economy, 27% of organizations said they were forced to downsize their fleets.

Proper truck utilization data is critical today to help fleets make accurate, real-time decisions on their trucks, utilization patterns, and maintenance and replacement schedules. According to the survey, fleet executives use analytics data to better understand miles driven (76%), maintenance data (68%) and fuel consumption (55%). However, as many as 51% of fleet executives admit they are not overly confident they have access to reporting information for properly analyzing their data during COVID-19. In fact, 74% of executives either agreed or strongly agreed with the notion that access to better reporting data would help them in their fleet decision-making.

In addition to business volume fluctuations (19%) and overall economic uncertainty (10%), many fleet executives commented that driver related issues such health concerns, staffing and morale (33%) were an immediate priority for them.

“This year has proved challenging for various organizations, their employees and families as they’ve had to navigate through rapid business adaptations as well as health and safety challenges,” Katerina Jones, senior director of marketing and business development for Fleet Advantage, said. “Clearly, many companies with fleets had to adapt quickly to drastically different truck utilization patterns, and illustrated the continued need for accurate, real-time data analytics fleet executives can quickly use in order to make proper decisions for their organizations.”

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