Survey Finds Industry Leaders Want More Flexibility and Agility

Fleet Advantage revealed the results of its latest industry benchmarking survey where the company received ideas from industry leaders on a range of topics from fuel to the environment.

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Fleet Advantage revealed the results of its latest industry benchmarking survey where the company received ideas from industry leaders on topics ranging from the use of alternate-fuel trucks and equipment finance trend to strategies for the environment and social and governance (ESG). This survey showed that respondents are showing more interest in battery electric vehicles, that they are leasing their trucks and there is a greater focus on ESG results in shorter truck life cycles.

“The current economic climate continues to present many challenges for fleets all over the country, which is why flexibility is a necessary business and financial strategy to meet corporate and ESG goals in the years ahead,” said Hadley Benton, Executive Vice President of Business Development for Fleet Advantage. “Our latest benchmarking study illustrates not only the staunch need for this flexibility, but it also reiterates how companies are changing their philosophies, and now have a growing desire to work with asset management partners who offer the right programs that benefit all aspects of their organization to meet short- and long-term goals.” 

From Fleet Advantage:

  • Among the many important topics discussed, the majority of respondents (40%) said they plan to deploy alternate fuel trucks within the next 1-2 years. This is a stark comparison to just a year ago when the majority (54%) said they plan to deploy alternate-fuel trucks within 5-10 years. 65% of respondents this year said they are looking to deploy battery electric trucks, compared to the previous benchmark survey in 2021 when only 3% of executives said they were procuring electric trucks.
  • Fleet Advantage recently announced plans to place orders for 200 EV Class 8 tractors for deliveries commencing in calendar year 2023. The company is committed to assisting its customers’ transition to alternative energies toward a zero-emissions goal using off balance sheet lease financing with little or no residual risk.  
  • The survey also addressed trends in equipment financing, with nearly half of respondents (42%) saying they are leasing their trucks, compared with 58% in a cash or finance situation. This is a significant jump in leasing compared with last year, when 31% said they were in a lease structure and up from just 14% two years ago.
  • Flexibility is a growing trend as 33% said they are locked into their current financing situation and have little negotiating room. This underscores the importance of data analytics such as a lease vs. purchase or unbundled vs. full-service lease comparisons in the planning and procurement of truck acquisition, where unbundled lease structures offer companies the highest level of flexibility, especially when market conditions, fuel and interest rates experience volatility. 
  • As a way to more closely understand financial flexibility, organizations need to monitor additional key financial metrics to analyze their Total Cost of Ownership including sales tax analysis, comparative cost analysis, per unit P&L, OEM equipment cost tracking, SWAP rates, residual values and predictive life cycle modeling.  
  • Maintenance and repair (M&R) trends continue to be top-of-mind for fleet executives in this year’s survey. Seventy-four percent of respondents said they are conducting maintenance in-house, an increase from 63% from a year earlier.