Businesses running light commercial vehicle fleets are potentially missing significant opportunities for “rightsizing” with 83% of those who acquired a van in the last 12 months simply replacing it with one of the same size.
Rightsizing refers to adopting a strategy designed to match the payload needs of a fleet to the specification of a specific model of van as closely as possible, delivering benefits in a wide range of areas from fuel efficiency to reduced environmental impact.
Eight per cent of those surveyed opted for a van that was bigger while 7% went for smaller – well below the level of change that would be expected from a typical fleet optimisation consultancy exercise. The figures were largely the same for all sizes of fleet.
The finding comes from the 2017 edition of Arval’s long-established Corporate Vehicle Observatory Barometer, research which covers 3,847 fleets.
Shaun Sadlier, Head of Arval’s Corporate Vehicle Observatory in the UK, said: “Model selection is probably the most important van-related decision a business can make. Having a vehicle that closely meets your needs can make a huge difference to fleet costs and efficiency, and the rapid proliferation of different van designs and payloads that are now available means it is possible to identify models to fit almost any fleet profile.
“However, this research indicates that the vast majority of fleets are adopting a ‘same again’ policy to van selection, almost irrespective of fleet size, and foregoing the potential whole life cost savings in areas such as fuel and tyres that “rightsizing” can deliver.”
In a parallel finding, the Corporate Vehicle Observatory Barometer also indicates that few fleets ask for external help when choosing vehicles. Just 16% of larger fleets (more than 50 vehicles) do so, 9% of medium fleets (10-49 vehicles) and 7% of smaller fleets (1-9 vehicles).
Shaun continued: “This shows that fleets are not recognising, or are unaware, of the contribution that an external consultant can make when it comes to van choices, which is frustrating because we are regularly involved in reviews which, by helping clients carefully define their transport needs, produce very strong and tangible results.
“There are a wide range of factors to consider including model choice, usage, replacement cycles, specification, specialist equipment, branding and more – and balancing all of these points benefits from the input of a specialist consultant.”