Intelligently preparing your future fleet and mobility – a Case Study
Yves Helven, Connector’s MD was the last speaker at the M15 “Flexible, Connected and Shared” event. Connector is a fleet and mobility consultant with clients mainly in Europe and Asia. The company’s focus is on corporate mobility, which includes mobility-readiness, technology and connectivity. This time, Yves presented a case study of an international client in Europe that is modernising its car fleet strategy and simultaneously implementing mobility.
Start with a plan
The client’s fleet today is fairly traditional and applies the one-employee-one-car model, like most European customers today. Their fleet manager however understands the weaknesses of its setup: underutilisation, inflexibility, not ready for mobility. In addition, the client has city centre offices and wants to anticipate taxations and regulations that keep cars outside of the urban cores.
The concept is therefore a combined strategy where:
- Dedicated cars will be kept, but only when other solutions are inadequate
- A fleet of poolcars will compensate for the high level of underutilisation
- Mobility solutions will be implemented for city traffic
Each of the strategic components is broken down as a separate project, with its own project team. Interdependencies are covered by interproject touchpoint meetings where several project teams update each other on the progress achieved and obstacles met. Traffic light status updates are available for the project teams as well as for functional experts, extended stakeholder teams and sponsors.
The first project team tackles the cars. The entire traditional fleet management undergoes a total overhaul: new leasing providers are selected, the outsourcing partner is removed and replaced by a modern tech solution. All vehicles will become connected, drivers will be using a mobile phone application that communicates directly with the supply chain of whatever vehicle they’re driving and the fleet management will be insourced. Artificial Intelligence will keep the pressure on headcount under control and even communication with the leasing vendors will be digitised.
The second project – poolcars – is being prepared from a policy perspective first and rolled out gradually across the region as eligibility is being reviewed. Technology is selected to book poolcars and, eventually, even open doors and start the vehicles. This tech solution will be implemented into the entire car fleet, in order to easily switch cars in and out the poolcar fleet.
Finally, the third and most complex project consists of – put in very simple terms – selecting a mobility aggregator in each city where a need for alternative solutions is detected. These aggregators will manage the on-the-ground mobility solutions, but need to focus on micromobility; car-centric mobility is programmed as a last resort solution. In addition, technology is selected to automate the transaction management related to mobility; the client should not handle manually thousands of mobility transactions with potentially different tax conditions.
Focus on policy
The function of policies is not only to regulate usage and manage eligibility; policies are at the core of the project. The client is not forcing people out of their company cars, but through attractive policies and additional benefits, incentivising the employees to do so.
The client has decided to keep the car policy as is, in order to make it very clear to the Employees that its new strategy is not about removing existing benefits. A set of new policies however is created as a framework for the new and flexible tools that were created.
One such policies is the Commuting Policy: focused on public transit and micro-mobility, the client wants to make sure that employees can reach the office in the most efficient and relaxing way possible. People can take public transport to any station close to the office and, if they chose to, do part of the trip on a bike.
Part of the client’s brief was to keep the project cost neutral. Respecting the rules of good housekeeping, the first job was to remove slack and create opportunity to save. Eligibility reviews, in combination with removing all expensive suppliers created the financial space to spend money elsewhere. Gradually, more savings will be generated as the contracts with the new leasing companies have better built-in guarantees against unforeseen costs. In addition, removing the outsourced fleet manager and replacing it with a tech solution, has generated a significant available budget.
The main new cost component comes from the Commuting Policy, as the client has decided to create a benefit for all employees without a company car that goes far beyond the statutory minimum or common practice: the full commuting cost will be offered by the employer.
As the lead consultant on this transformation project, the Connector team has alternatively played the role of a guide, sparring partner or leader, depending on the stage of the project. Yves Helven: “We have always taken the time to listen to the client, we were respectful and careful when taking part in the decision process by making sure that our client had the bigger picture in front of them. We also made sure that we delivered a solution that was realistic and non-disruptive.”
“Our main job however was to turn a progressive, for some even futuristic vision into reality. We did this by creating a bulletproof foundation: a Blueprint, the Connector terminology for a detailed future state map, and our M360, which consists of the project plan, stakeholder mapping, sourcing projects and communication strategy – all the steps required to realise the Blueprint.”
Yves concludes: “None of this would have been possible without a client-project owner who has the courage to go off the beaten track. We have been working intensively with their project team for the last 12 months now and are ready to deliver. I hope that the client agrees that the journey was tough, but that we overcame all of the challenges and, even more important, had loads of fun doing so!”