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MOST fleet decisionmakers (87%) believe the cost of business squeeze has made their role more important to business strategy and board level decisions, research has found.

A study from mobility specialists Bridgestone and Webfleet revealed 85% of fleet departments are facing increased pressure from board level execs to make spending cuts, with more than a quarter (27%) expecting their businesses to contract this year. Just over half (55%) are anticipating growth.

Beverley Wise, Webfleet Regional Director for Bridgestone Mobility Solutions, said: “As economic headwinds intensify endangering the competitiveness of UK plc, shrewd cost control strategies are called for to help protect profit margins. But with resources at breaking point for many businesses, innovative solutions must be found that achieves this without jeopardising productivity and service standards.

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“Fleet operators are no strangers to ingenuity and digital solutions, such as advanced telematics platforms, that can unleash efficiency improvements through fleet management insights are taking centre stage.”

Fuel is the biggest target for cost savings, cited by a third (33%) of fleets, with more than two-thirds planning to introduce new fleet fuel strategies. This is closely followed by vehicle financing (29%), and drivers’ wages and overtime (28%). Three-quarters also said they were more likely to opt for cheaper tyres on their next purchase.

David Almazan, Commercial Business Unit Director, Bridgestone North Region, said that this can prove a false economy. “There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to the most cost-effective tyre choice, but upfront savings should be balanced against the performance, durability and fuel efficiency gains of premium products.”

Elsewhere, four in five survey respondents said they plan to review opportunities to consolidate fleet services from suppliers. “Significant total cost of ownership, sustainability and safety benefits, can be realised where supplier services are streamlined in a way that frees up resources and drives savings across the entire fleet operation,” added Almazan.

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