Any business that operates in a sector involving outdoor work will be fully aware of how the weather can scupper even the best laid plans.
In sectors such as landscaping, a sustained downpour can heavily delay the start of a project, while in construction, roofwork can be impossible if heavy rain or high winds tighten their grip.
It is estimated that bad weather causes problems for around 37 per cent of small to medium-sized businesses, but this figure is magnified significantly when the business’s core operation involves outdoor activity.
The result is a number of headaches, from unmet customer expectations, to lost time and money, to a change in the requirements of the job, which may need to be completed within a shorter timeframe and with greater manpower.
All of these considerations can combine to keep fleet managers awake at night and prove an overall drain on resources, which is why it is important to have as many contingencies in place as possible to deal with the unexpected.
One of our customers, landscaping company Redlough Landscapes, frequently encounters the problems associated with working outdoors, including seasonal weather changes.
Even in the spring and summer months, bouts of bad weather can scupper plans, and result in some projects being taken on and started at short notice.
Not only can this result in the need to strategically locate staff, but it can also require certain vehicles to be acquired or upgraded at short notice, which would be a major cost burden for an organisation that purchases its fleet.
Moving to Northgate’s flexible rental solution as a way of acquiring vehicles instead or purchase or contract hire, enables businesses to increase their fleet size in as little as four working hours thanks to a nationwide network of branches, while the option to change the size or type of vehicle at any time or add additional equipment to vehicles for a transparent cost helps to meet customer demands.
Northgate has provided Redlough with a variety of vehicles to meet the differing needs of its business, including tippers, 4x4s and vans of all sizes, enabling the company to operate a diverse and highly mobile fleet.
Since teaming up with Northgate, Redlough Landscapes has been able to predict associated costs far easier and has also benefitted from Northgate’s service, maintenance and repair (SMR) package, which enables work to be carried out at a wholly owned and warranty approved workshop and minimises downtime.
In an industry where time is money, Redlough has saved €30,000 on SMR alone and seen the average age of its 30-strong fleet cut from seven to three years, meaning fewer repair bills, increased reliability and improved efficiency.
Customer service is becoming a number one priority for many businesses, and reducing costs across the fleet means that organisations can allocate the money elsewhere in the business and focus on customer delivery.
The added flexibility and transparency included in Northgate’s rental package, combined with a reduction in initial outlay for new vehicles, means businesses know exactly how much the fleet will cost, and can ensure a smooth and efficient operation for customers.
This knowledge helps to create overall peace of mind, as fleet and project managers know that an essential component of the business is being taken care of.
Sadly, there is no way of controlling the weather, but by having systems and supply partners in place to deal with bad weather and help to maintain operations – or restart them at short notice – businesses can help to minimise downtime caused by rain, snow or high winds and focus on the next task.