Implementing multi-modal mobility. Tips and tricks

Cloud technology, sensors, connectivity, 4G and in a few years 5G have essentially transformed all industries, resulting in what is commonly called the Internet of Things. In the automotive industry, this will eventually lead up to autonomous vehicles, at the condition of peripheric developments, such as legislation or regulation, and of course infrastructure.

“Mobility” as promoted by app developers, platform developers, OEMs and Leasing companies is important, but is in reality the industry “getting ready” for what is to come. Today’s mobility solutions correspond to what is technically possible, not yet to what is needed by client nor wanted by the supplier. In other words, mobility today won’t solve traffic jams or considerably reduce emissions.

Does it mean that we should sit still and wait? Of course not. The Fleet Managers have a couple of years to prepare for what is to come. Let’s line up some actions that can be taken today.

Understand mobility

Concepts such as MaaS (Mobility as a Service) are often used by suppliers to describe a service that contributes to mobility, but is only a part of what mobility is. Car sharing, for example, is not mobility; it’s an important part of mobility.

The total mobility package consists of much more: dedicated cars (purchase or leasing), taxi services (Uber, HailO), bike sharing (Velib, nextbike), micro-mobility (Renault, Smart), car sharing (Car2Go, ZipCar), corporate car sharing (AlphaCity, Ubeeqo), car rental (Sixt, Hertz), ride sharing (BlaBlaCar, carpooling.com), parking (Vinci, JustPark), e-mobility (Source, ChargeNow) and public transport (Oyster, DB). On top of that come integration solutions (moovel, qixxit).

Consequently, implementing mobility is not about selecting a single solution, it’s building a package of various solutions that contribute to the mobility needs of your company.

Think wider

The next point is about understanding that a successful mobility implementation is part of a bigger change in your company. To give a simple example, if you want to reduce the time that your users spend in traffic jams, don’t put them in a shared car. That car will spend just as much time in congested traffic as the dedicated lease car.

Implementing mobility comes with change in workspace and worktime. If you want to avoid traffic jams, make sure that your employees have no meetings at 9 AM. Have them work from home, remote offices, co-working spaces or even the Starbucks until traffic dissolves. Hence the importance of talking to your real estate and facilities.

Real estate and facility management is going through a similar evolution as mobility, also moving away from dedicated solutions (one office) towards flexible and shared workspaces. The parallels and touch points between RE/FM and Mobility are essential.

Understand your company

Technology is not only changing the automotive technology. Your company’s business model is going to change as well and it’s key to understand how.

Taking the pharmaceutical industry as an example, the major part of the leased vehicles are used by medical reps (MRs) to visit doctors, clinics and wholesalers. The MRs job is to promote the product, inform the medical professional and build relationships. Today however, digitised solutions are already doing a part of the MR’s job and will do even more in the future. Technology is impacting the pharmaceutical industry and will lead to a change in the mobility needs of the pharma client.

Therefore, when putting together your mobility roadmap, don’t focus on what you need today, but rather on how your company is changing.

Early days

When leasing became popular some 30 years ago, hundreds of leasing companies popped up across Europe. Slowly, products and services were harmonized and a wave of mergers and acquisitions reduced the number of leasing suppliers to what we know today: give or take a handful of giant leasing companies and a couple of local heroes in each country.

The mobility industry is today where leasing was 3 or 4 decades ago. Little harmonisation and not much consolidation, yet. The action here is to invest time in understanding how the supply chain is evolving, which are the players that matter and follow closely the M&As and major investments that are happening. A tip: don’t forget players such as Apple, Google and Amazon.

Plug and Play

Until then, if you’ve started using mobility services, it’s crucial to understand that you’ll be plugging in and out suppliers far more regularly than you’re doing with leasing companies today. This has an impact on your fleet/mobility operations.

The correct strategy includes a flexible operational model that allows you to source for and implement suppliers quickly and efficiently. Invest some time in preparing for this model with your company’s stakeholders, such as Comms, Tax, Payroll, Procurement, HR and Legal. Involve your functional stakeholders (e.g. Sales) to make sure everyone is aligned and ready to shift gears when new or better solutions become available on the market.

Your new role

The main point to get across, is that the job of the Fleet Manager is changing from an “automotive” expert to an “efficiency contributor”, covering much more than only mobility. Your recommendations will include changes on work time, workspace, management style and will even have an impact on recruitment and retention, especially as companies are dealing with 3 different generations (babyboomers, GenX and GenY) with different views on employment and employer.

Today is the right time to prepare and reinvent yourself.

Authored by: Yves Helven