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Van downtime costing UK fleets £2.4bn a year

UK fleets are collectively losing £2.4bn per year due to van downtime, new research from Northgate suggests.

The research on the impact of downtime found each van spends four days a year in the garage

The study found LCV operators estimate each of their vans spend on average four days a year in the garage, costing £800 per day in terms of lost revenue or £3,200 on average a year.

Working on the basis of 763,000 private sector vans being on the road, that’s a loss of £2.4bn by operators, of which more than a third (36%) have had to rent a van on a short-term basis in the past year as a back-up. And 47% of businesses also incur fines or penalties when their vans are out of action for a week.

As well as bringing major costs, van downtime can also present a reputational threat to the business. Almost two-thirds (63%) of operators admit that their business would find it problematic to uphold promises to customers if their vans were out of service for a week.

A survey respondent explained: “We have to either call hire companies that are local to see if they have availability. If not, we either have to get rid of the job or try and pass the work on to a competitor to make sure the customer isn’t disappointed.”

“Minimising time off the road could have a positive effect on the individual fleets as well as the UK’s economy,” said Tim Bailey, Fleet director of Northgate Vehicle Hire. He added: “As we see the economic importance of vans grow, it is crucial that businesses understand the implications that van downtime can have on drivers’ productivity and on the fleet budget. Whether it’s caused by mechanical problems, incident damage or scheduled maintenance, van operators need to be prepared for downtime scenarios before they become too costly for the business.

“Our survey has confirmed that businesses who rent their vans, rather than own or lease them, find that breakdown management, maintenance and servicing is a much more streamlined process, with minimal disruption to the business’s operations.”

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Written by Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.

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