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COVID-19 & Fleet: Addressing 4 Major Impacts to the Supply Chain 

As COVID-19 (coronavirus) has established a “new normal” for many of us, the fleet supply chain is no differentA detailed account of supplier-level information is available at the Wheels COVID-19 Resource Center. Yet, a few rungs on the supply chain ladder have been impacted more than others. We’ll examine those four areas below: 

1. DMV Closures    

Wheels has partnered with the American Automotive Leasing Association (AALA), and we are getting daily updates on DMV closings, service changes and extensions.   


In some cases, we’ve been able to continue renewing and registering vehicles even with DMVs closed, because Wheels acts as the DMV in many states. But given the widespread impact of the pandemic beyond our in-house states, our focus has been to stay on top of changes at DMVs, share them internally, and communicate with our clients and their drivers via the COVID-19 Resource Center. 


2. Dealership Shutdowns & Reopenings  

We’re working closely with OEMs to get a clearer picture of dealerships that are closing and understanding when they plan to reopen. We are specifically focused on vehicles that are located at dealerships and getting them delivered to the driver. Additionally, we’re proactively identifying vehicles on-order or in-transit that may potentially be impacted. We’re profiling the potential risk and reaching out to clients to work on mitigations. 


Wheels is closely monitoring the situation at both a high level and with individual clients. Dealership-level information is available on our resource center. If there’s a delay to your order, comments will be added to DriverView™ and the mobile app. 


3. Auction Simulcasts 

We’ve moved to an 100% online selling model as auctions are now simulcasting their lanes. Our online brand was strong before the pandemic, so we’ve been able to make a seamless transition. However, with the current economic uncertainty, resale values have declined. Yet the market is expected to correct itself.  


Wheels recommends continuing your regular vehicle cycling cadence unless your business needs change. Consult with a member of your Wheels Account Team if you believe there are extenuating factors that may warrant review. 


4. Transportation Delays 

Vehicle transportation is experiencing some delays. In the U.S., Acertus and PARS are working businesses as usualHowever, in the Quebec region, they are not considered an essential business at this time, so those offices have closed. Dealership closures are affecting the ability of our transportation vendors to pick up and deliver new vehicles. Both Acertus and PARS are tracking the latest statuses and picking up vehicles, when available. We are seeing delayed deliveries in states and counties where DMVs are closed or mail-in only.


Additional delays have been attributed to a lack of drivers. With many stay-at-home orders in place, it’s been difficult to find drivers able to work. For those vehicles that are being delivered, our partners are taking extra precautions regarding personal and vehicle cleanliness as well as social distancing when dropping off vehicles. 


A key enabler of us staying on top of supply chain impacts was setting up a cross-functional taskforce very early on thats focused purely on monitoring and addressing impacts to the supply chain and ensuring we can continue to provide service. This taskforce meets regularly, using a SharePoint site as a centralized hub to capture latest status updates. We also have other teams tapping into that hub to work on risk mitigation or to communicate with clients.  


Ultimately, our strong supplier management program that includes a robust selection, performance optimization and relationship management process has helped ensure our clients remain informed and supported. 


Only time will tell how long the impact to the supply chain will last. However, Wheels is monitoring the situation every step of the way.  If you have a question, reach out to a member of your Wheels Account Team or email me at swolff@wheels.com.