May 13 2016

A guide for fleet managers on why size matters


Every fleet manager knows that time is money. It’s essential for your business that vehicles are suitable for the task at hand, and are kept on the road 24 hours a day.

Gaps in the supply chain can have a domino effect on business, leading to missed deliveries, disappointed customers and ultimately, a potential loss of business.

The always-on nature of business means has made customer expectations greater than ever, and for fleet managers this equates to a constant source of pressure to live up to those expectations.

One of the key considerations is the range of vehicles in your fleet, which needs to be capable of carrying the merchandise, products and equipment, whilst also reaching the destination in a timely fashion, regardless of its location.

So what do you need to consider when you’re managing your fleet? With the help of Northgate Vehicle Hire (who have a base in Newcastle), we’ve created this guide of what to consider.

Size and scope

Size definitely matters when it comes to your fleet, but the scope, diversity and flexibility is also essential.

When arranging fleet vehicle hire, make sure you have access to a large and diverse range of vehicles that will meet your service requirements. You’ll also need the branches that are strategically-located, to maximise access to the vans you need for your customers.

If you can, source a provider with workshops so that your customer journey can take place with one organisation, with the maintenance and repair of vehicles all being taken care of in-house

To cope with changing requirements

In business, requirements change all the time, which can range from needing new equipment for a job, to requiring a new line of vehicles to carry out essential tasks.

In many cases, a one-off contract for a project may require a completely different vehicle to previous jobs, and if that happens you need to get the necessary vehicle to complete the task – even at short notice.

Making sure you maintain access to a range of suitable vehicles within an appropriate distance can be the difference between landing the contract and meeting customer requirements, or missing out and losing the opportunity to secure repeat business.

Shapes and sizes

Size does not only apply to the number of vehicles in a fleet, it can also apply to the vehicles themselves, which can vary dramatically in size and capability, as each is suited to multiple tasks.

Make sure your vehicle hire provider gives you access to specialist vehicles, including both vans and utility spec vehicles with beacons, towbars and other bespoke features, in addition to a full spectrum of LCVs. This should cover anything you may need for your full fleet management.

Make sure the positioning of these vehicles is carefully managed, so that your needs can be satisfied at short notice.

Meeting expectations

A key consideration for all fleet managers is being able to meet customer needs, and no matter whether this is delivering on time, being able to transport a particular cargo, or having the ability to access hard-to-reach places, having the fleet in place to make this a reality is fundamental.

When jobs are bespoke or ad-hoc, there is often a need for bespoke vehicle builds, which are not only difficult to obtain but can be subject to long-term agreements that far exceed the length of time that the vehicle is actually needed for.

Make sure you have access to specialist build vehicles so you can meet client expectations fully – and at short notice.

The big picture

Ultimately, all businesses take the big picture into account when making any decision, and as a fleet manager, you will be fully aware of overall expenditure or cost savings when committing to a decision.

For companies that have ever-changing requirements, access to a diverse range of vehicles in widespread locations can be the difference between being able to carry out a project or not doing so, and on top of this, having transparent costs provides the ability to project long-term finances.

Make sure you get flexibility, with the ability to return and exchange vehicles at any time, but also ensure you have access to a network of workshops for services, maintenance and repair (SMR) as standard.

Visit the Northgate website to find out about flexible and long-term van rental and leasing today.