With 71% of the industry anticipating growth in the next 12 months, commercial vehicle operators are expecting a busy 2017. But that’s not to say it will be an easy ride. There are bumps in the road ahead.
Continued economic pressure, stricter emissions regulation, unpredictable fuel prices and growing competition are among the many factors that will continue to challenge the commercial transport industry this year.
Despite these uncertainties and challenges, this is an industry that is highly optimistic about its prospects. However, with such a strong growth outlook in a tough economic climate, the immediate concern appears to be cost control rather than long term investment – something that could put forward-thinking fleets ahead of the curve.
This was the overwhelming sentiment from our recent “Future of Fleets” survey that tapped into the behaviours, concerns and predictions of senior managers at top commercial transport companies operating across Europe.
Such a sharp focus on cost is unsurprising in challenging economic times of course, and concern over fuel efficiency led 65% of those polled to look closely at how they keep their fleet well-maintained. Driver training and the use of telematics also feature prominently in the drive for an efficient fleet. In contrast, only 32% ensure they use fuel efficient rather than standard lubricants to help with this.
The long term potential of lubricants to help drive fuel efficiency remains untapped for many fleets. When choosing lubricants, nearly 40% of those polled purchased the cheapest option available. And, when asked how lubricants are viewed within their business, 64% replied that they are seen as a cost that needs to be kept low. It’s important that this way of thinking moves towards viewing the purchase as an investment that may help save money in the long run. Selecting the best quality lubricant rather than simply purchasing on price will have long term benefits for fleets in terms of maximising performance and fuel efficiency, and reducing maintenance and off-road time.
The report also looks further ahead, as the downward pressure on emissions and a widespread impetus to adopt cleaner technologies is being felt across the industry. With compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquefied natural gas (LNG) being touted as future fuel options as their use would help cut greenhouse gas emissions, it lifts the lid on how the industry feels about its potential implementation.
Against a backdrop of positive growth projections, the industry is clear that it will be facing up to a wide range of challenges as we move into 2017. Revealing a complex, challenging, but equally promising picture of the future, take a look at the full Future of Fleets report which is free to download here.
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