Don’t Cut Corners When Fitting Out Commercial Fleets

Venson offers businesses tips on selecting the right conversion supplier to ensure vans ‘get the job done’

With the Society of Motor Manufacturers (SMMT) revealing that light commercial vehicle (LCV) market recorded yet another record-setting month for registrations[i], Venson Automotive Solutions is reminding businesses to maximise their investment by ensuring vehicles are equipped for service.

Many businesses are switching to LCVs or choosing electric LCVs for their fleet in a move to reduce emissions, maximise payload efficiencies and cost-effectively ‘get the job done’, but says Venson, unless vehicles are fit for purpose a return on investment could be a long time coming.

Gil Kelly, Operations Director at Venson Automotive Solutions explains: “Running correctly specified vehicles is crucial for the efficiency and productivity of the business. An LCV supplier who can advise and help on how to get the right conversion and fittings, such as external roof systems and internal storage, ventilation and security, will ensure the most appropriate layout for the vehicle, which in turn, will deliver operational cost savings. If conversion space has been used efficiently, it will also help identify if any of the other vehicles on fleet can be downsized to smaller models.

“Businesses also need to take into consideration how their vehicles are used, including the working environment and the payload of the goods and equipment they are carrying. How a driver needs to access the vehicle, both inside and outside, should be discussed prior to production of the conversion specification.”

But it’s not just the day-to-day functionality of the fleet that needs to be evaluated at the outset.  Understanding the longer-term cost-effectiveness of processes and procedures in managing it are also key.  For example, if a business intends to transfer the equipment fitted to another vehicle at the end of the contract there will be cost implications, including any repairs and refurbishment.

“From fit for purpose and streamlined processes, to health, safety and warranty, there are many, many things to consider when choosing and converting vehicles,” continues Kelly. “It may be tempting for businesses to turn to their own skilled workforces to make alterations, but this can be costly and unproductive in the long run, as well as put the business and its drivers at risk.

“Finally, with the switch to electric on the horizon, throwing another aspect into the equation, decisions made now are critical to a fleet’s future success. Partnering with a supplier who offers a one-stop-shop of expertise will deliver a commercial fleet that’s future proofed.”

Venson’s tip tips for choosing a commercial vehicle conversion supplier

  1. Fit for purpose? – consider what the vehicle is being used for, perhaps using a pick-up instead of a van means the driver can get closer to where the work needs to be carried out.
  2. Plan Ahead – anticipate the reuse of racking and other equipment to work out your lifetime funding costs.
  3. Cost savings – running correctly specified vehicles is critical to the efficiency and productivity of the business. The right conversion ensures the best layout delivering operational savings.
  4. Customised racking – a provider that can design the maximum storage capacity will save money and time. It will also provide the opportunity whether the size of van can be downsized.
  5. Turnkey solutions – having access to this solution can lead to more efficient handovers and finance process.
  6. Key-to-key handovers – a supplier that can provide a one-stop-shop speeds up the conversion process. This ensures a more streamlined service and minimum downtime for the fleet.
  7. Reuse – you can expect to get up to 10 years of use from some equipment. Consider equipment lifecycles when managing conversion costs.
  8. Understand transfer costs – if you are intending to transfer equipment from one vehicle to another, understand the cost implications including repairs and refurbishments.
  9. Payload – productivity and the impact on the vehicle’s performance should be a key consideration when determining equipment specification.  Increase in payload can save fuel and enhance employee efficiency.
  10. DIY racking risks – Don’t try cutting costs and let skilled workforce build their own racking to save money. This can prove costly and unproductive and can lead to health, safety and warranty issues.