Guillaume Bourst, Wheels: “Globalisation is here to stay”
Guillaume Bourst is new to Chicago, and the Windy City can be pretty cold this time of year. But the Frenchman has more important things on his mind. At the start of this year, he swapped his role as New Business Manager at ALD in Paris for that of Global Product Director at Wheels HQ: “Globalisation is here to stay. So our global clients need help with their global vision and strategy.”
“I’ve been in Chicago a couple of months now, and I’m integrating well within Wheels,” Guillaume says. “But that’s not a surprise as I’ve known and worked closely with Wheels for many years from ALD’s HQ in Paris. And it helps that Wheels and ALD have very similar cultures: welcoming and customer-centric.”
Why did you make the move?
“I am excited for the opportunity to develop more global services to address the common challenges that the fleet industry is facing globally. This is a role where I can directly impact the service experience we deliver to our global clients and prospective clients.”
But won’t the trend towards mobility solutions refocus the attention to fleet management at local level?
“Local implementation, local best practices: that doesn’t conflict with a global framework and strategy. In fact, I think cities like New York, Mumbai, São Paulo, Mexico City and London share more similarities as they move towards mobility – although it’s true that the specific offerings and services available will differ from place to place. In my opinion, that only underlines the need for an aggregator which can deliver customer-oriented solutions with a global mindset and on a global scale.”
What does your role entail now?
“As Global Product Director, my job is to continue to advance the global discussion within Wheels, and between Wheels and ALD. The global customers of our Alliance demand global solutions, and I am excited to be responsible for further enhancing the innovative solutions we deliver.”
“This approach also includes our other Alliance partners: ABSA in South Africa, Fleet Partners in Australia/New Zealand, AutoCorp in Argentina and Arrend in Central America. In a few weeks’ time I’m going to Latin America to exchange ideas with our local ALD Automotive businesses and our partners.”
In other words: the principle is not new, but the approach is.
“Exactly. Wheels and ALD have been working together for 10 years to support the needs of our global customers. For example, we’ve developed two reporting tools and a consultancy solution that helps our customers set their global strategy – while remaining fully aware of the need for specific regional and local execution.”
“Several service areas fit well with global fleet and mobility strategies. Reporting efficiency is an obvious example: customers need to know what is going on with their fleet across various markets. They deserve to have accurate data across their global fleet. Safety is another area where a global approach can add value by standardising best-in-class safety management approaches and solutions. And then there are global trends like mobility, electrification and data management. We’ll offer global solutions that are fitted for local market dynamics and specifics.”
Can you give a practical example?
“Imagine a global customer with cost-efficiency as their main driver. For their European fleets, we could advise an energy (electronic, petrol, diesel) switch. In North America, moving to a smaller vehicle could be the best way to optimise their fleet, while in China, the best solution could be reducing chauffeurs. Our umbrella is global, but underneath it there’s plenty of room for flexible solutions, tailor-made to fit the regional and local needs of our customers.”
“This is our understanding of what true global account management means; and as we enhance our structure, we’ll offer an even more seamless and further integrated services to our global customers across the ALD Automotive-Wheels Alliance.”
Image: Guillaume Bourst, Global Product Director, Wheels