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21 Dec 18

A new future for the oil companies

“Data is the new oil,” an expression often heard at the Fleet Europe Forum in Barcelona, held in November 2018. Even if the statement is nothing more than marketing shorthand, it does convey 2 messages correctly: data is valuable and, just as oil, needs refining.

When an energy company, such as Shell, produces a report called “Driven by Data: Managing Fleet Information Overload”, it means that we’re entering a new world. In its report, Shell walks the Fleet Manager through dynamic data, telematics, data aggregation and blockchain to finish by giving us a glimpse into the future: the data driven fleet of 2025.

Before going into the report, let’s hear from Shell why they have released the report.

Sustainability

For a first answer to this question, FleetEurope talked with Mr. Emmanuel Mignot, General Manager, Western Europe at Shell Fleet Solutions: “Shell has been a data expert for much longer than people would anticipate. We’ve been using data to find oil and to refine oil. This expertise is now being used within the Fleet Solutions business with 2 objectives: sustainability and solutions for the Fleet Manager.”

Emmanuel continues: “Without data, it becomes difficult for a Fleet Manager to optimise the usage of an asset. It is Shell’s goal to play a role and assist the Fleet Manager in understanding how to collect data, process the information and reduce waste.”

Modern vehicles are equipped with hundreds of sensors that collect information, ready to be transmitted to fleet management systems via telematics. Connected to other vehicles and to the city grid, these data are a tremendous source of income for the supply chain, but also a tool for fleet operators to optimise operations, cut cost and increase safety and efficiency.

An example: Platooning refers to 2 vehicles driving very close behind one another and is a good example of smart use of telematics; the reduced distance between the 2 vehicles reduces air-drag friction and therefore also the fuel consumption and emissions. As both vehicles are connected, the incidence of rear-end collisions drops by 71%.

Fuel as a Service

The second part of the reason why Shell Fleet Solutions is entering the data market, is to provide the Fleet Manager with solutions that match with technological progress and the switch from ownership to usership. Emmanuel explains: “Our lubricant market is already operating in an on demand scheme; Shell delivers when the client needs. What is also on offer is to manage the lubricants stock on behalf of certain customers : Shell is indeed able to predict when the client needs a product and is delivering when and where this is most appropriate. We’re also doing tests in the Netherlands and the US via a fuel delivery service called “TapUp”; this is exactly where we want to be in the future. The client will benefit, not only from the quality of the product, but also from a better service from its provider.”

Another first step towards better comfort for the users is Shell’s “Fill Up & Go” service: a secure mobile payment service that allows the users to pay from the comfort of their cars.

Electric

Shell combines and integrates 3 types of charging networks: charging stations located in its fuel stations, a growing network of superfast charging solutions with IONITY and its NewMotion network. NewMotion builds charging stations for home and office that can operate on a subscription model. The Fleet Manager gives the employees access to the charging devices via charge cards and one device can be used by multiple users.

A new concept that Shell is introducing for electric charging, is energy sharing. Similar to accessing data down- and upload volumes via Wi-Fi and paying for it via subscription without having a connection yourself, energy sharing is about distributing and selling excess energy to other users.

The new client

Progressive models, as the ones Shell is developing, are inevitable. Nevertheless, during the transition period, Shell mainly appeals to the early adopter. How is Shell Fleet Solutions planning to convince the most conservative of its clients? Emmanuel Mignot responds: “Most of the risks that are identified by our clients, are related to more practical aspects. They might be willing to give EVs to their employees, but have questions about home charging and range.”

“This is again where data and solutions come in: we can demonstrate that EVs offer a sufficient range for daily use and our NewMotion solution solves all the issues of home, office and on the go charging. On top of that, we lead by example. Some of our staff are driving electric and give us feedback about their range management and charging experiences. This feedback helps us to improve our service and formulate the right solution for the client.”

Procurement

Our last question to Emmanuel concerns fuel price discounts: will we still be negotiating a discount per litre in the future? Emmanuel noted: “We will be walking away from a price-per-litre conversation. The additional benefits, such as predictive fuel offering, have an efficiency value that needs to be taken into account, and so has the quality of fuel that Shell is offering. Therefore, we prefer to model our proposals around the concepts of Total Cost of Ownership or Usership and work on meeting the client’s real needs.”

The Fleet Manager of the future

Back to the report for a last time. Shell shows the Fleet Managers how they can prepare themselves for what’s coming.

  • Data thinking: start looking at the kind of data fleet management solutions can yield and how to use these data to make a fleet smarter
  • Software integration: understand what’s happening in world of fleet management solutions
  • Data-informed driver management: help drivers understand the benefits of data based technology
  • Understand data privacy: loss or disclosure of data can lead to heavy penalties for the company. Fleet Managers need to understand how data protection laws work
  • Performance optimisation: test different fuels, lubricants, driving techniques and other variables to continuously optimise the fleet

Read the report at: www.shell.com/drivenbydata

Authored by: Yves Helven