31 May 18

Asian fleets in the spotlight

For the first time, the Global Fleet Conference dedicated a full afternoon to Asian fleet management. The host, Yves Helven (GlobalFleet editor & MD at Connector), invited the participants to a journey from Asian supply chain to technology evolution, spiced up with client experiences and intercultural education.

Vipin Moharir, CEO of NINtec and Co-Founder of the venture capital group Gateway - a global visionary with a sharp eye for innovation – challenged the speakers at the end of each presentation with provocative questions, pushing for even more insight in the topics. Some of the highlights.

A region moving ahead, but at different speeds

Asia as a whole has multiplied its GDP over the last years and is showing significant growth in urbanisation, wealth and education. Nevertheless, the region is all but uniform and leaves the Fleet Managers in doubt when it comes to organising their operations and fleets. Yves Helven offered an new view to the traditional way of grouping countries into sub-regions (South Asia / North Asia / South-East Asia / ANZ). Combining 3 parameters (GDP, cars per capita and sourcing methodologies), Helven demonstrated that subdividing the region according to fleet maturity, offers a strategic alternative.

Impact of an unconsolidated supply chain on your fleets

Reggie Cabal, CEO of ORIX Australia, broke down the complexity of managing Asian fleets into 4 clear and concise actions.

  • Develop a global fleet strategy that contains generic guidelines that can be easily translated into local requirements: compliance, acceptable use, driver behaviour and replacement parameters. Add a local policy that deals with the specifications of each country. For Reggie, eligibility is an example that many Fleet Managers would consider to be a global topic, but should be reviewed locally in Asia.
  • Introduce fit for purpose vehicle selection, not only to reduce the TCO, but also to ensure the efficiency of the employee. Safety and fuel consumption are important parts of the fit for purpose methodology.
  • Consider adding flexibility to your fleets by using carpooling, car sharing, minilease or short term rentals. Many Asian fleets are over-sourced and don’t reflect the real mobility need of the company.
  • Use technology to remove the complexity of managing a highly diversified supply chain.

The real world: successes and failures of implementing a global policy

Miray Halavurt (Sourcing), John Dmochowsky (Global Fleet Manager) and David Weeks (Regional Fleet Manager) explained how Mondelez approached the challenge of implementing a global policy in APAC. The company’s global vision was clear: supplier consolidation and strategic partnerships with value for both the client and the supplier. For APAC however, Mondelez had to keep an open mind and accept diversification of the supply chain and fine-tuning of the objectives: stay within budget and ensure safety and compliance.

John Dmochowsky explained what he considered having been the most difficult part in the journey: finding the right local counterparts. As Mondelez doesn’t have dedicated Asian Fleet Managers, John had to count on volunteers to represent the fleet function in APAC. He understood quickly the importance of cultural understanding: it’s not because people attend a strategy call, that they will execute the program. John also shared the importance of involving the correct corporate functions from day one, HR being a key function that can make or break a successful implementation of the APAC strategy.

Cultural Awareness

Invited to speak about the cultural differences between the Asian ways and the Western ways, Radek Stanczewski, lecturer at SWPS Warsaw and SUSTech Shenzhen universities, walked the audience through a number of practical guidelines to avoid culture-based failure. Radek asked the participants to draw a map of the world to come to the conclusion to what extend our views are pre-defined by our upbringing and education.

Topics, such as local etiquette, investing in trust building activities, organising meetings and especially the importance of hierarchy and status were discussed in detail. A major eye-opener for the audience was the concept of time in Asia. Whereas the western world considers time as linear – proven by expressions such as “one time opportunity”, “time is money” – Asians look at time as a cyclical concept. Opportunities come back and time is never wasted, hence the importance of having invested in solid and long lasting relationships.

Urbanisation and mobility in China

Where mobility solutions in Europe or US are considered as “optional” today – much more as a natural evolution driven by technology developments, they have become “mandatory” for Asia. Markus Collet, partner at Corporate Value Associates, explained to what extend urbanisation in China is impacting the structure of Chinese cities. Especially the concept of the Megapolis or super-city surprised the audience; with a comparison between Germany and the future megapolis Hong-Kong / Macao / Guangdong, Markus demonstrated that future Chinese cities will exceed the populations and GDP of a big European country.

This has led to the need of massive investments in connected, autonomous, shared and electric (CASE). Markus also highlighted the speed and efficiency with which the Chinese Government and the major tech players (Tencent, Alibaba, Baidu) are changing the shape of mobility and how fast the population is adapting new solutions. Markus shared the example of bike sharing application that was downloaded by 2 million people in one week.

What's next

Although impossible to cover all Asian topics in a 3 hour conference, the first APAC session was a success for both supply chain and client. As an organisation, the Global Fleet Conference and will continue investing in awareness, education and networking. On the agenda are:

  • The APAC Guide to Fleet Management, to come out in October 2018
  • The APAC Advisory Board
  • Coverage of APAC countries in Wikifleet
  • The Fleet Directory

We invite all fleet owners and suppliers to participate in these initiatives and reach out to Yves Helven ( to be part of this journey!

Authored by: Yves Helven