How to tackle fleet management in Asia?
Asian fleets are growing dramatically and, consequently, so are both operating and capital costs related to employee mobility. 40% of the fleet managers who participated in the Global Fleet Survey anticipate an increase in fleet size, but seem to be uncertain about the measures to take in terms of sourcing, mobility and fleet strategy.
The absent Asian fleet manager
Although Asian economies are doing well and fleet sizes are increasing, the results of the Global Fleet Survey demonstrate that regional, dedicated fleet management is not common: most often, the Asian fleets are managed locally (on a country basis). When asked about trends (powertrains, funding, mobility), the global or regional fleet managers with responsibility for Asian fleets, recognise few of the region’s specificities and tend to duplicate strategies applied in more mature (fleet) markets.
Asia can be difficult to grasp and is certainly not a region that can/should be managed as a whole. Few markets are mature (Australia/New Zealand and Japan being the exceptions), some countries are impenetrable from the outside (Japan, Korea, China), leasing products are immature (e.g. leasing without mileage parameters) or are not comparable to Western products (e.g. Chinese lease-loan). Similarly, the supply chain offers few regional offerings and even if they do, regional agreements are extremely difficult to achieve.
Immobility, the real Asian challenge
Costs and complexity aside, local experts recognise a new risk in, especially, the emerging Asian economies - immobility. The infrastructure gap, or the delta between mobility needs and mobility offering, is increasing. Congestion is the first and immediate result of this gap: 6 out 10 megacities in the top 10 of TomTom’s traffic index are Asian. Although Asia is investing massively in infrastructure improvements (roads, public transport), it is not keeping up with demand. In real life, it means that employees experience trouble reaching the office or the customer.
The needs of APAC-based companies are not only different from those of their Western counterparts, but they also diverge locally from each other. Giving Asia its well-deserved place in global fleet management is a must, but needs to be done with respect for local imperatives.
Finally, market maturity can be achieved by supporting and educating the local supply chain. Global and regional experienced fleet managers have an unique opportunity to shape the supply chain together, as it has happened in Europe before and is happening in Latin America right now.
Image: view over Jakarta, Indonesia