21 Jan 21

10 Take-Aways from the Global Fleet Summit APAC 2021

During the first Global Fleet Summit APAC on 20 and 21 January, fleet managers, experts and suppliers have shared many recommendations to manage and optimise vehicle fleet and employee mobility management in Asia Pacific. Let’s list the 10 most important ones.

  1. It takes time: Patience is a virtue, but especially when stepping into the massive and complex region called APAC. It’s therefore important to adjust your aspirations and focus on the fleet fundamentals first: a reliable supply chain, an adequate policy and coordinated fleet operations.
  2. Not a top-down region: The speakers at the APAC Summit repeated time and again that copy-pasting a EU or US model into APAC is not the right way to go. APAC has its own culture and expectations often based on respect, its own business processes and its own maturity curve. Therefore, engage with local stakeholders as much as possible and include the supply chain in your conversations.
  3. APAC is catching up fast: Thinking of APAC as an “emerging market” is not entirely correct. The supply chain is investing heavily in innovative services and new tech and is adjusting and will soon be overtaking the traditional markets. The uptake of mobility as an alternative to a dedicated car is massive and deserves to be part of future APAC policy strategies.
  4. Localisation is necessary: Localisation in APAC goes beyond supply chain management, local customs and cultural understanding. Circumstances, work environments and business processes are fundamentally different; therefore, look at compliance and accountability from a local perspective.
  5. Take small steps: Pick your battles! Put regional goals in place but aim for local outcomes. This implies working in sequences: don’t try to address all issues in the entire region, but select some countries first and build up experience. Also, focus on core elements first: your OEMs and your funding partners.
  6. Aggregate data: APAC is huge and diversified. You will have trouble collecting source data and aggregating these data. Therefore, invest in data collection and maintenance, look for a vendor or technology that can support you and analyse these data carefully as it will contribute to cost efficiency, but more importantly to your employee’s safety.
  7. Technology is necessary: Your employees in APAC are also consumers and APAC consumers are used to technology. Delivering an analogue vehicle fleet model will not satisfy your employees or your local stakeholders; therefore, invest in innovation and technology. Not only because it will help you, but because your employees and management want you to.
  8. Partnership is the right model: Traditional client/vendor relationships work well in mature markets, but not necessarily in APAC. Traditional sourcing methods, such as tendering, might not deliver the expected outcome. Use the opportunity to build a close and even personal relationship with your vendors as they will be essential for your success as a fleet manager.
  9. Adjust your expectations: Your global savings or sustainability objectives might not work in APAC. Spend time establishing a baseline and putting realistic and achievable goals in place. Also, educate your peers, your stakeholders and management about APAC, the fleet management goals in the region and the way to get there, to make sure expectations are aligned.
  10. Think beyond the car: Mobility is an aspiration for Europe or North-America, but is a reality in APAC. Local suppliers are ahead of Western suppliers in solution integration, going from mobility to other services such as virtual wallets and on-demand services. In addition, congestion is real in APAC; look at alternatives before adding more cars to Asia’s roads.

Authored by: Yves Helven