Global Fleet Managers Club and Fleet LatAm Business Networking Group: no-one can solve this alone
The Global Fleet Conference of 2022 in sunny Cascais, Portugal started with best practice sharing meetings of the Fleet LatAm Business Networking Group and a gathering of the Global Fleet Managers Club.
This was the first time, because of the global pandemic, in three years the Global Fleet Conference could be held in person. For that reason, the excitement was palpable as old acquaintances, friends and colleagues shook hands for the first time in what seemed like a long time rather than having to endure the confinements of a virtual event.
Fleet LatAm Business Networking Group
Opened by Pascal Serres, President of the Fleet LatAm Business Networking Group, the successful gathering, with more than 50 participants on site and many more connected digitally, provided a sheltered environment in which delegates could listen to expert presentations and discuss some of the key issues affecting our industry in the LATAM region.
Octavian Chelu, principle consultant - mobility, at Frost & Sullivan, highlighted the need for better security on financial loans and the fact that working from home and supply chain issues have had a significant bearing on the length of leasing and finance contract. The difference in Latam over the rest of the world currently is the lack of vehicle inventory, which happens to be more serious than in Europe and elsewhere.
One of the most surprising revelations was from insurance telematics provider, Lojack’s Alfredo Kruger, managing director, VP Latam, who revealed that less than 30% of the total fleet in the region is insured. It seems it’s just not part of the culture, even though it is a legal requirement in some Latam countries. 73% of vehicle thefts occur in just three countries: Brazil, Mexico and Colombia.
Technology and loss recovery provide somewhat of an antidote. Interestingly (and in contrast to the overall picture), Paula Oliveira, global head of fleet, from animal health company Zoetis, revealed that vehicle theft is not an issue for her company in Latam, where they operate 500 fleet vehicles in Brazil and 100 in Mexico (among others). 80% of Zoetis’ vehicles are field service and 20% benefit cars. Accidents are an issue but not theft.
Global Fleet Managers Club
The Global Fleet Managers Club provided a much needed opportunity for members to share best practices and discuss the prickly region that is APAC. The Global Fleet Managers Club is a member-based gathering exclusively for global and regional fleet managers. Today the Club has more than 50 members with a combined fleet of well over 1.5 million vehicles globally.
Star speaker at the meeting in Cascais was Jan-Hendrik Rauhut of Bayer and winner of the Global Fleet Manager of the Year Award 2021. He detailed the building blocks of his global strategy, while participants had the chance to ask questions. Like Jan-Hendrik, most members of the Global Fleet Managers Club meeting (45 members were present) agreed that APAC is one of the most challenging regions in the world for global fleet managers. Yves Helven, Global Fleet expert APAC specialist, shared his expertise about the challenges in the region but he also said that it was characterised by diversity, complexity and potential.
Chinese customers like to buy their vehicles, which means the leasing market is small. In countries where leasing is popular, contracts are often capped at 47 months due to an unfavourable tax situation on anything over that time period.
In this region, fleet managers have to get used to working with several suppliers in multiple countries. For that, there is no answer just now. There is a need also to deal with local people, as some markets in APAC, such as China and Korea, don’t like to do it any other way.
Indonesia, which is one of the world’s largest sources of Lithium (used in EV battery production), is now an open market, having been controlled by the Government for many years. This increases the country’s potential to exploit supplies.
The conclusion of this meeting was that APAC is supplier diverse and needs elements of localisation and professionalism. The introduction of an initiative by Global Fleet - the Global Fleet APAC Business Networking Group, was welcomed. Steven Schoefs, editor-in-chief of Global Fleet announced the creation and establishment of this group. This new APAC initiative will be a membership only based community, a gathering of corporate customers, suppliers and opinion leaders operating in one or more countries across the region. The objectives are to understand the APAC fleet and mobility market, stimulate business opportunities across the region, support business development and innovation, offer a networking platform, create awareness of specific topics and trends, by developing information and events and providing visibility to members.
Images: Benjamin Brolet