Solera, a global provider of vehicle lifecycle management, has released research to suggest that European fleet managers are concerned about 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 and enhance driver experience and safety.
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. This is because over half of fleets (76%) say their fuel costs have increased in the past six months, with oil prices set to rise even higher next year.
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. Fleets in Spain (33%), Portugal (29%), and Austria (28%) are the most concerned about a looming economic crisis.
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. 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.
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. Over half (60%) also said the volume of deliveries they were expected to make had also increased in the past six months.
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Fleet leaders turn to tech
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. They are also looking for technology to improve the efficiency of deliveries (35%) and solutions to help mitigate insurance, litigation, and settlement costs (32%). Just 2% of survey respondents said the technology wouldn’t help them better manage their fleet.
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.”