Fleets facing “worst ever” vehicle delays, warns FleetCheck
Software specialist FleetCheck is warning fleet operators to set out vehicle-by-vehicle maintenance plans as Brexit, Covid-19 and the global semiconductor shortage cause unprecedented delays to new car and van deliveries.
The company’s managing director, Peter Golding, said delivery times of up to a year are becoming common as vehicle and component manufacturers adapt to social distancing in factories and struggle to get the critical semiconductor chips required for on-board systems in some models.
“We are seeing probably the worst new car and van supply situation that any of us working in the fleet industry have ever experienced,” he commented. “This creates a variety of issues but probably the most significant is that it means that businesses will have to keep operating vehicles that were planned for replacement for longer – and sometimes much longer.
“The biggest impact of this will be on maintenance. Fleets need to ensure that they have plans in place that will keep these vehicles operating in a safe and efficient manner.”
Golding added that the biggest challenges were likely to be with commercial vehicles. Whereas many car drivers have spent more time at home, vans have often been worked harder than usual during the pandemic, including supporting front-line services and meeting rising demand for home shopping.
“Not being able to replace a van that is already six years old and already perhaps already considered well past its prime by its operator is an issue. Fleets need to look at these vehicles very closely and perhaps step up the inspections regime that they are undergoing. It is all about doing as much as possible to ensure safety and reliability, that these vehicles are fit for use in both a personal and operational sense,” he explained.
“Certainly, we are now having in-depth conversations with some of our customers who are finding that they cannot easily replace their most aged vans and advising them on maintenance measures that should be taken, almost on a vehicle-by-vehicle basis.”