MSD: Mobilizing the pharmaceutical industry in Latin America
To support its goal of preventing and treating diseases around the world, global biopharmaceutical company Merck Sharp & Dohme (MSD) - known as Merck & Co. in the United States - has built up a fleet of some 2,700 vehicles in Latin America, being in Brazil, Mexico and Peru.
Here is a brief case study of the company’s fleet management practices, according to Emma Padilla who leads procurement and fleet operations in the Latin America region. Ms. Padilla has been with the company for 13 years, two of which have been dedicated to fleet.
For MSD – which is present in 140 countries - internationalizing fleet management is key. “It enables us to better manage our expenses by comparing them among countries. With this, fleet management can be standardized, allowing us to use just one service level agreement (SLA),” says Padilla.
One thing the company has standardized in Latin America is vehicle acquisitions, all of which is done through direct purchases. Some of the most important things MSD looks for when acquiring cars from automakers is a well-rounded total cost of ownership (TCO) analysis and a high level of post sales service.
As for leasing companies, showing the economic benefits of using their alternative is key, much of which includes addressing the tax environment in each country.
Considering the bad condition of many roads in Latin America as well as the high incidents of accidents and car theft, maintaining driver safety and preserving your assets are of utmost importance.
one of the many potholes on Brazilian roads (source: Shutterstock)
For MSD, it has a department specifically in charge of safety which is carrying out various initiatives. The company, however, is not using telematics in Latin America, according to the fleet manager.
Electrification and Car Sharing
Some of the mobility solutions being implemented by fleet and mobility managers in other regions of the world (mostly Europe) are actually still quite new for Latin America. Among them are electric vehicles (EV) and car sharing schemes.
"This year (2019), we are evaluating the option of using EVs. What is hindering us right now, however, is the initial price of the vehicles and the lack of recharging infrastructure in many areas,” said Padilla.
“As for car sharing, we have not implemented this in our operations, but I’ve heard that it is a potential mobility solution,” added the executive.
For more on fleet management strategies from MSD in Mexico, attend the Global Fleet conference in Miami June 5-7. A special session organized by the Fleet LatAm advisory board will be welcoming Kevin Kibilds, Senior Specialist Vehicle Fleet Management for MSD Mexico.