SMEs missing out on fleet expertise, finds new research
The annual fleet barometer supported by Arval looked at the state of the market across 15 countries with more than 4,500 interviews conducted with fleet decision makers between February and March this year.
The research shows that many small businesses are still purchasing their own vehicles rather than leasing them which increases their exposure to risk and the uncertainty of the used car market. In contrast only a third of larger companies with more than 100 employees purchase their own vehicles, instead preferring to lease, nearly double that proportion of SME's purchase vehicles outright.
Mike Waters, director – market insight at Arval, commented: 'By purchasing their own vehicles, not only are small businesses exposing themselves to greater levels of risk, they are also missing out on the support and up-to-date advice that companies receive from a leasing provider when they decide to lease their company vehicles.'
And it seems that in missing out on the advice of a leasing company, small businesses are not following best practice in other areas of fleet management; notably in reducing their environmental impact and their road risk – both of which have a direct impact on company costs.
Only 22% of companies with less than 100 employees have fleet guidelines for CO2 emissions, something that is crucial if emissions are to be managed effectively and reduced.
Meanwhile, only 7% of small businesses have targets to reduce their environmental impact compared to 55% of larger companies.
Waters commented: 'There is a great deal of really useful information and advice available to small companies in managing their fleet costs and environmental impact. However, many don't seem to know where to find this information and as a result are lagging behind larger companies in managing their vehicle costs.'
Driver safety is also an area of concern as many smaller businesses neglect to make modern safety devices a requirement within their company vehicle policy and also are not as likely to provide driver training to improve driver safety; all things that larger companies are more inclined to do.
Waters concluded: 'Small businesses just don't have the same resource as larger companies to manage their vehicle fleet. Fleet management has become a very complex area with a whole host of considerations to successfully manage and for this reason I would always recommend that smaller companies work with fleet experts freeing up both time and resource to focus on their core business.'