David Brennan, CEO of Nexus Vehicle Rental, the UK’s leading corporate vehicle rental provider, discusses the most important considerations for construction fleet managers and the benefits of vehicle rental.
Quality, availability, downtime and price are just a few of the concerns for construction fleet managers. In this feature, we take a closer look at the key factors affecting transport decisions within the construction industry.
As a major employer and contributor to the UK economy, the construction sector is often considered the pacemaker in terms of economic performance and outlook.
Despite a downturn in construction activity following the referendum result, and the subsequent decline of the pound, the sector has already returned to growth.
Construction firms in the UK will be looking to the Government’s commitment to invest £23 billion in infrastructure over the next five years as outlined in the Autumn Statement, which will hopefully create a demand to complete new projects on time and within budget.
This is shown in research from Business Insider UK, which states that employment in the sector is set to increase by nine per cent in the first quarter of 2017 alone.
Construction fleets are distinctive due to their diverse make-up, with vehicles ranging from LCVs to HGVs and specialist equipment, such as cranes and diggers.
Buying and maintaining these vehicles can be an expensive outgoing and rapid depreciation is common. But without reliable vehicles, the construction process would grind to a halt and it’s essential to keep them running smoothly.
Reliability – and Reputation
In a deadline driven industry, vehicles often play a large part in the delivery of a project and so meticulous planning is essential to avoid downtime and reduce the risk of falling behind schedule.
Ageing vehicles tend to be less reliable than newer ones and their upkeep can carry significant cost. Utilising specialist vehicles on multiple projects and getting them to the right place at the right time can also carry serious operational challenges.
As a result of this, more and more companies are being attracted by the benefits of daily rental. By doing so, specialist features and modifications such as tail lifts, tow bars, racking, chevrons and beacons, and lighting can be catered for.
An industry driving success – and economic recovery
Research from the University of Buckingham’s Centre for Automotive Management has revealed LCV rental is a key factor in the recovering economy.
This is down to the ability to provide a totally flexible vehicle solution. Rented vehicles are newer, better maintained and more reliable than older fleet vehicles.
They can be used only when they are needed. In addition, stringent SLAs such as those offered by Nexus mean there is a guarantee of legally compliant vehicles and a consistently high standard.
Plant theft is another key factor. According to VPS, specialists in protecting vacant properties, 500 machines and pieces of equipment including vehicles are stolen from construction sites every month.
Rental vehicles are usually newer and are equipped with state of the art security features, reducing the likelihood of theft. The replacement of owned vehicles after a theft can be a long, laborious, expensive process for companies; daily rental takes this problem away, and should the worst happen, providers are able to source a replacement quickly.
The Price is Right?
When it comes to large construction fleets faced with demanding deadlines, the availability of the right vehicles at the right time often supersedes the cost of accessing them.
As with any project however, cost is still key. Rental is an attractive option for both the short and long-term, with companies such as Nexus offering daily rental for over 28 days without being tied into a lengthy lease contract.
Rental also provides the flexibility to return vehicles before the agreed date, meaning fleet size can be scaled up or down without additional cost. Daily rental, therefore, can help keep fleet costs low when effectively monitored and should be considered as a serious solution to vehicle access.
Case study – Carillion
Carillion uses Nexus for managed partner support and short ad hoc rental requirements. A leading UK support services company, with extensive construction capabilities, it has some 750 vehicles on the road at any given time.
Nexus manages all of these on behalf of Carillion, whether they are Nexus rentals or those of other providers, through its unique IRIS software management system.
The company must routinely react very quickly to short-notice demands, such as urgent construction jobs, where cars and vans with appropriate kit and safety gear are suddenly needed at site locations.
Nexus administers vehicle supply to Carillion departments, customers and partners. This includes placing the booking, supervising it throughout the contract, and reconciling any varied instructions such as changed return point, extensions or early returns.
Carillion frequently handles traffic management on its build, roads, and infrastructure projects and needs vehicles to be specially marked, very well equipped with various specialist tools, electronic parts, beacons and tow bars. Mess vans, with sleeping, washing and cooking facilities are also often required.
Nexus delivers all of these, controlling and querying costs of all providers to keep outlay down to a minimum and keenly interrogating fuel and damage expenses claims. Nexus also ensures all vehicle and driver compliances, due diligence and health & safety demands are met, which is vital to safeguarding operations and reputations.
Carillion Fleet Operations Manager, Chris Brown, said: “The Carillion IRIS system sorts each rental out in seconds, controlling costs and giving us high level management information that allows us to monitor the performance of all rental suppliers and our drivers. It integrates perfectly with our own fleet database.
“Everything about the Nexus offering is geared to the highest standards, most comprehensive services, fastest speeds and optimum ease at the lowest costs. We greatly value its depth of experience and strength of its intelligent IT that allows us to best serve our customers.”
For further information on Nexus Vehicle Rental click here.