Fleet leasing and maintenance outsourcing continues to increase as companies direct a laser-like focus on growing their core business.
If you look at the trucking trends for 2017 and beyond, the main ones remain consistent with the last couple of years:
- Increasing truck technology (which also means more expensive vehicles)
- Continuing shortage of drivers and technicians
- Uncertainty over new regulations including HOS and ELD mandates
- Infrastructure issues (despite the FAST Act, it’s likely that infrastructure upgrades and fixes could still take a considerably long time to complete and that could mean delivery delays)
What do you want to focus on in 2017: the points above or your core business?
In the global and interconnected business world of the 21st century, CEOs, CFOs and other senior management need to focus on company growth through issues like research and development, as well as more strategic use of working capital. When companies look at where to invest that capital, it’s most likely not going to be an area that is ancillary to their core competency.
Transportation undoubtedly plays a vital role in a company’s success. The ability or inability to get product to market quickly and efficiently can make the difference between profit and loss. However, unless your company’s main business is transportation itself, you’re likely looking for ways to control costs in this area in order to use valuable expenditures elsewhere. For many companies, that has meant leasing vehicles rather than purchasing and outsourcing their maintenance and, sometimes, their logistics as well.
As trucks become ever more technology-enabled, they become considerably more expensive; leasing gives your company access to that technology while reducing the risk of ownership and disposition as new technology arises. The same holds true for maintenance and repair; technicians need to be trained and re-trained as technology comes onboard and that could be an additional expense companies would prefer not to encounter.
It all comes down to choosing the right transportation partner.
Outsourcing your transportation needs doesn’t mean outsourcing your brand or your control. Building a private fleet through leasing rather than purchasing still gives you the ability to put your company’s name on the vehicle, thereby giving your brand the exposure it deserves.
C-suite executives understand the need for flexibility and agility in their own company so they should be looking for those same competencies in transportation companies they choose to partner with. That means working with an organization that offers the following capabilities:
- Leasing and financing experts that will work with you to devise the best and most flexible options for your company
- Transportation professionals who will consult with you to choose the vehicles best suited for your fleet needs rather than just proposing a “one size fits all” offering
- Consultants who will look at the full history of your vehicle utilization, including maintenance and repair costs, interest and tax rates, and vehicle specifications prior to making suggestions
- Contract maintenance that includes preventive maintenance service at appropriate intervals to maintain the vehicle’s integrity and ensure the optimal vehicle lifecycle
- Access to service centers coast to coast (if applicable) or within your region
- 24/7/365 emergency road service
Although you should look for an organization that offers all of the above, you should make sure the organization also offers flexibility in the services provided (you choose only what you need, when you need it). You should never be made to feel as though you have no options.
It’s 2017…time to grow your business, not your expenses.
Author: Dean Vicha