If the last year has taught us anything it’s that nothing is certain and the same can be said for vehicle availability as it stands today. COVID-19 has impacted every industry imaginable and the vehicle manufacturing industry is no exception. Access to vehicle stock at local dealerships has been significantly impacted because of the various factory shutdowns throughout the pandemic and a global shortage in parts available such as semiconductors. These shortages have affected fleet operators who are looking for commercial vehicles to run their operations.
As a fleet operator or a company that operates vehicles, here are some tips to ensure you get the vehicles you need when you need them during times of low vehicle availability.
Review Your Fleet Plan Early
It’s important to know when and how you’re going to replace your vehicles in the future. By reviewing your fleet plan for the year ahead, you can properly and strategically cycle out your vehicles and not be caught in a position where you’re left without the proper unit for your company’s needs. Utilizing remarketing strategies can help determine which vehicles need replacement.
Consider Upfitting Requirements
In certain cases, upfitting can add time to the delivery of your vehicle. It’s important that when reviewing your fleet plan, that you are taking into consideration the upfitting requirements that your company vehicles will need and adjust your timeline accordingly. Working with a fleet management company can help determine current lead times or look at alternate solutions based on your usage needs.
Factory Ordering is a great way to build a long-term, consistent plan in managing your fleet. By knowing when your new vehicle will arrive, you can properly plan to sell your current vehicle and take advantage of seasonality peaks in the used vehicle marketplace. Furthermore, you can save money by only paying for the options you need in a vehicle and nothing extra.
Pre-Owned (Used Vehicles)
In a situation where you cannot plan long-term for a new vehicle such as a new hire and you need to get on the road right away, buying pre-owned or used can be a convenient way to manage immediate needs.
Consider Different Makes and Models
It helps to get creative. If the vehicle you’re looking at acquiring is experiencing delays in production or availability, now would be a good time to explore other makes and models to see if they too can be a fit with your business. A full service fleet management company can help you determine which vehicle types are more accessible and will fit your business needs.
Short Term Vehicle Solutions
Similar to the consideration of pre-owned, in an event where you need a new vehicle in a timely matter, a short-term rental can also be a viable option for your company. Short-term rentals bridge the gap from your immediate requirements and your long-term fleet plan.
Working with a Fleet Management Company (FMC)
Most fleet management companies can work with manufacturers to manage your factory orders for you. They can help you select the right vehicle that supports your business’ needs and ensure that you get what you need at the best possible price. Most fleet management companies should also have access to multiple dealers to ensure that in the event you need a vehicle in a pinch, they will have the network to find the best vehicle to suit your business needs.
To learn more about how we can help with all your business vehicle needs, contact us today.
Article written by Stephen Bolen, Account Executive – Calgary