Businesses are being warned to ensure they are ready for the fall-out of a no-deal Brexit and to be aware of the consequences of any worst-case scenario.

Caroline Sandall, Chairman, ACFO

Caroline Sandall, Chairman, ACFO

“The only thing a fleet can do is to do a proper risk assessment about what could happen and how they are going to cope with it,” ACFO chairman Caroline Sandall told Company Car Today. “It’s akin to a disaster-recovery plan. If we do crash out with no deal, what does that mean for supply, for orders that are in place; what might we expect to happen?”

Sandall used the example of increased vehicle downtime due to a parts shortage as one possible situation. “You need to think about what happens if 50% of your vehicles are off the road for an extra day a month. What does that mean, and how are you going to work around it? You must also accept that if it happens to you, it will also happen to everybody else, which will impact short-term rental availability,” Sandall continued.

“From a practical perspective, there are regulatory and legal changes, not just obvious things like vehicle documentation when travelling abroad but your manufacturer agreements; if we change tariff overnight, if we come out with no deal, what does that mean for your manufacturer discount structures? They will likely all have to be rewritten.

“It’s a monumental scale of change, so if fleets haven’t done so, it should be a priority to really sit down and think about that worst-case scenario and what it could mean,” she said. “Fingers crossed it won’t but when faced with something that’s this unprecedented, you have to be as prepared and make sure your business is as prepared and as aware as they can be.”

ACFO’s chair said the situation highlights the importance of professional fleet managers. “The business will reasonably expect you as a fleet manager to have thought of these things, and certainly raised them, and come up with solutions,” she said, suggesting the possibility of sharing car allocations and opening up employees’ company cars to those needing business travel during the day.

“It’s unprecedented but does give fleet managers the opportunity to prove their worth in helping their businesses to stay operational and stay focused on ensuring they are delivering to shareholders and clients,” she concluded.