Solera Holdings, LLC, the global leader in vehicle lifecycle management, has released its latest research that reinforces European fleet managers are facing an unprecedented winter of high fuel costs, driver shortages, and continuing fears of a global recession that is likely to make 2023 one of their most challenging years to date. The study reveals leaders across Europe are turning to technology to address these conditions, improve overall growth, as well as enhance driver experience and safety.
Major economic concerns for 2023
Fuel costs are the number one challenge fleet leaders are worried about heading into 2023 (59%), rising to 66% of last-mile fleets, where fuel represents a much bigger proportion of overall costs.i This is because over half of fleets (76%)ii say their fuel costs have increased in the past six months, with oil prices set to rise even higher next year.iii
At the same time, almost a quarter (22%) of fleet decision-makers are concerned about the impact a global recession will have on their drivers in 2023.iv Fleets in Spain (33%), Portugal (29%), and Austria (28%) are the most concerned about a looming economic crisis.v
Driver shortages are the second biggest challenge facing fleets entering the new year (25%), rising to 35% in Austria 33% in Germany, and 30% in the UK.vi While staff shortages are still a major concern, a third of fleets also reported that driving satisfaction levels had increased in the past six months, indicating that their efforts to improve the driver experience are beginning to pay off.vii
Customers demand more but fleets are struggling to keep up
Whilst fleets have been dealing with surges in demand before the pandemic, consumer expectations are continuing to skyrocket. According to Solera’s study, 79% of fleet managers indicate that they need to make deliveries faster and more efficiently to meet rising customer demands.viii Over half (60%) also said the volume of deliveries they were expected to make had also increased in the past six months.ix
Fleet leaders are looking to technology for support
Fleets that use data to provide themselves with real-time, actionable insights will have the advantage. With data to manage each part of the driver journey, from planning routes to improving the driver experience and safety, as well as boosting overall efficiency and productivity, fleets can navigate uncertainty and gain a competitive edge.
Almost half (48%) of survey respondents say the most helpful technology would be one platform that provided the information they needed to manage their fleet in one central place.x They are also looking for technology to improve efficiency of deliveries (35%) and solutions to help mitigate insurance, litigation, and settlement costs (32%).xi Just 2% of survey respondents said technology wouldn’t help them better manage their fleet.xii
Mark Tiana, VP Truck & Fleet Solutions at Solera, said: “Fleets are currently facing a perfect storm of problems, but they are not on their own. There are technological solutions out there that can help ease the load over the coming months. Solera is already supporting our customers to boost productivity during this period and provide fleets with the tools they need to make the job easier and more effective. Fleets who wholeheartedly embrace technology will only reap the benefits, not only by providing drivers with a better, safe experience but improving efficiency, retention, and growth.”
Solera commissioned independent market research company, Censuswide, to survey a nationally representative sample of 1523 fleet managers across the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, Austria and Switzerland between 26th August and 1stSeptember 2022. Unless stated otherwise, all figures were drawn from this poll.
- When asked “What are the biggest challenges facing your fleet in 2023,” 59% of all respondents said, “Fuel costs” and 66% of those managing last mile fleets.
- When asked “To what extent have the following factors increased or decreased for your fleet in the past six months,” 76% of respondents said “Running costs eg. Fuel” had increased.
- IAE, Oil Market Report, August 2022 https://www.iea.org/reports/oil-market-report-august-2022
- When asked “What are the biggest challenges facing your fleet in 2023”, 22% said “global recession.”
- When asked “What are the biggest challenges facing your fleet in 2023”, 33% of respondents in Spain, 29% in Portugal and 28% in Austria said “global recession”
- When asked “What are the biggest challenges facing your fleet in 2023?”, 25% said “Driver shortages”, rising to 35% in Austria, 33% in Germany and 30% in the UK.
- When asked “To what extent have the following factors increased or decreased for your fleet in the past six months?”, 33% said “Driver satisfaction” had increased
- When asked “To what extent to do you agree with the following statement? I feel under pressure to make deliveries faster and more efficiently as a result of increased consumer demand” 79% said “strongly agree” or “somewhat agree.”
- When asked whether “To what extent have the following factors increased or decreased for your fleet in the past six months?” 60% of said “volume of deliveries” had increased.
- When asked, what technologies if any, would most help you better manage your fleet, 47% listed “one platform that can give me all the information I need to manage my fleet in one central place” as their top response.
- When asked “what technologies, if any, would most help you better manage your fleet?” 35% of respondents said ‘tech to improve delivery efficiency and 32% said ‘tech to help mitigate insurance, litigation and settlement costs’
- When asked “what technologies, if any, would most help you better manage your fleet?” 2% said “N/A; no technologies would help better manage our fleet”