By Mary Motzko | December 29th, 2020 | | 0 Comments

As 2020 winds down, it’s time to start looking ahead and planning for next year. While most fleet operations will spend a portion of 2021 trying to recover from this year’s global pandemic and the financial and staffing issues it caused, there are also other trends the experts recommend watching for next year.

Financial Recovery and Budgeting

The COVID-19 outbreak had a negative effect on many fleet operations around the world. Because of this, expect operations to dedicate time in 2021 to work on a short-term and long-term budget, especially as funding might remain tight at the beginning of the year. According to Automotive Fleet’s Mike Antich, smaller budgets could change the way fleets acquire assets – and when – and can also impact their operation costs and maintenance expenses. Automotive-Fleet.com also reported that experts predict the cost of maintenance and unexpected repairs to rise in 2021.

The Commercial Carrier Journal’s 2021 Fleet Technology Trends Report stated that 44 percent of fleets listed increasing costs as a top challenge in their daily fleet operation. This means operations could be looking for ways to cut expenses to stay under budget next year.

Employee Retention and Hiring

One of the fallouts of the coronavirus pandemic was the need for some fleet operations to layoff or furlough employees. As a result, many operations could be entering 2021 with a reduced staff. This could set up a trend of fleet managers working to retain their current staff to avoid overworked employees leaving for other shops. Increasing staff morale can help accomplish this. As business starts to rebound and the economy recovers from the virus outbreak, many fleet operations could also turn their focus to hiring to return to previous staffing levels.

Fleet Utilization

Antich also says fleet utilization can be an ongoing trend to watch for in the industry. During the COVID-19 shutdown, many fleet operations used their vehicles less. This reduced the number of miles put on each asset. Because of this, operations might have older vehicles in their fleet moving into 2021. Operations that are facing financial issues could also keep older assets longer as they cannot afford to replace them with newer vehicles. Antich predicts fleet managers will dedicate time trying to right-size their fleet and maximize vehicle utilization in the coming months.

Global Fleet Management Market Increase

Overall, the fleet management market is expected to increase over the next several years. According to Reportlinker, the global fleet management market size “is expected to grow from $19 billion to $34 billion by 2025. This is expected to happen at a compound annual growth rate of 11.3% during the period.

Government and Regulatory Changes

The new presidential administration could bring adjustments for the fleet industry in terms of new regulatory modifications that operations will need to account for, and possible changes in sustainability, according to Antich.

Technology and Data

As new technology emerges, fleet operations will need to determine which new features and tools are right for them. Electric vehicles are expected to become more widespread in fleets, which can impact an operation’s maintenance process and overall costs. Other safety gadgets, like cameras, will also keep emerging. According to CCJDigital.com, in-cab video was the most popular technology used amongst those surveyed, with 35 percent of the respondents saying they used it last year. This allows operations to monitor driver behaviors. Data will also continue to grow in 2021. Fleet managers will need to find ongoing ways to sort through the information and learn how to use it to improve their operation and make it more efficient.

To learn how RTA Fleet Management Software can help your fleet operation in 2021, contact us toschedule a demo or start a free trial!