A  survey by navigation and tracking company, Teletrac Navman survey has revealed that rising fuel costs, disruption due to the impact of COVID-19 , and supply chain pressure , are  not surprisingly the top challenges they currently face.

The survey polled more than 1,800 global fleet operators with 39 per cent pointing to fuel costs being the major challenge,  32 per cent saying COVID -19 disruptions have been their major challenge  and  31 per cent pointing to the supply chain issues as the most significant problem.

“The past 12 months have created new complexities for fleets, but fuel cost rises are the number one concern for operators globally,” says Alain Samaha, president and CEO of Teletrac Navman.

“As the cost per gallon of fuel spiked throughout last year, many operators looked to overcome the rising costs with driver behaviour programs and EV transition plans,” Samaha said.

For 23 per cent of respondents said that with the rising fuel costs and the global response to reducing all forms of carbon emissions building momentum, fuel conversion  remains a key challenge, while  with EV supply, alongside purchase price and charging infrastructure concerns.

Around a third or 32 per cent of respondents said that the conversion to next generation fuels is one of their largest areas of expense second to purchasing new vehicles.

Conversion is also high on the agenda for fleet owners due to concerns about their environmental impact. More than a third , in fact 41 per cent of those surveyed said environmental impact is their biggest concern about the current economic environment; outside of transitioning to next generation fuels – of which 30 per cent were looking to transition to EVs in the next 12 months – maintenance of existing fleet continued to be largest expense for 39 per cent of those surveyed.

“With supply chain issues continuing to impact EV vehicle availability and cost, some fleets are struggling to start the transition and are having to find ways to safely extend vehicle life through preventative maintenance and more conscientious use on the road,” says Mayank Sharma, Teletrac Navman’s head of global product management and UX.

“However, those with the available capex to be early movers to EVs could gain a competitive advantage as they won’t be exposed to any further rising petrol or diesel costs, they’ll be reducing their environmental impact which is coming more into play in customer contracts, and will likely benefit from government grants and subsidies that will later be removed,” Sharma said.

Teletrac Navman said that over the course of 2023, 48 per cent of fleets are looking to make investment in expanding their offering through technological integrations , while also using technology to aid compliance  was important for 39 per cent of respondents.

A total of 39 per cent  said improving customer experience and 31 per cent identified recruiting and retaining drivers as high on the list of planned investment for the next 12 months.

As with the start of any new year, the market experiences emerging opportunities and technologies that will benefit fleets. In terms of emerging technologies, 39 per cent of fleets are focusing on implementing more digital workflows and 38 per cent on video telematics, as they seek to increase efficiency and manage the top three fleet business costs  including fuel, payroll, and maintenance.

With the look towards technology, nearly all (98 per cent) of the respondents said they were using either a sourced or manufacturer-provided telematics solution across their fleet. While vehicle tracking (43 per cent) was understandably the number one reason for utilising telematics, managing driver performance (33 per cent) was the next priority, followed by using it for proof of service/job completion (32 per cent), and of course monitoring fuel usage (30 per cent) in tough economic conditions.

Regarding driver performance, 37 per cent indicated improved driver safety was the biggest benefit of using telematics, while  nearly a quarter  or 24 per cent said it helped prevent fatigue on the road. a total of 89 per cent of those surveyed said they used telematics to benchmark behaviour, with 91 per cent also seeing a reduction in accidents and 24 per cent implementing new driver behaviour to help navigate the high fuel costs.

A tally of 31 per cent of global fleets were concerned about increasing wage demands in a cost-of-living crisis, while 37 per cent are using benchmarking to provide performance-based bonuses in a bid to retain drivers.

“Driver performance benchmarking is a great method of inspiring drivers to perform better and safer on the road, and with the growth in mobile applications it has never been easier for drivers to see how they are performing against targets and peers,” added Mayank Sharma.

“In fact, 40 per cent of our respondents say that implementing telematics has helped to build a safe driving culture within their organisations.”

The survey was conducted by Teletrac Navman across the UK, North America, ANZ, and LATAM, with  the business surveying more than 1,800 fleet operators, to uncover the biggest challenges global fleets are facing, and how they are responding in a vastly changing and increasingly complex business environment.

To explore more of the responses to the survey visit https://www.teletracnavman.com.au/fleet-management-software/telematics/resources/ts23-telematics-survey