‘Mobility’ is becoming a buzz word in the fleet industry, and finding the cheapest, most efficient options in travel whilst also reducing carbon footprint is quickly starting to become part of the fleet manager’s responsibility. The trend has moved away from them providing straightforward vehicle management to providing a full circle mobility solution to the business. Up until now fleet management has involved understanding the finance and the economics of fleet. Tomorrow, there will be more technology involving fleet vehicles, alternative fuels, fleet data, and analytics.
Many larger companies also found themselves reporting their transport emissions for the first time in December 2015 to ensure compliance with the government’s new Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS). This is a mandatory energy assessment for businesses in Britain that employ more than 250 staff or have an annual turnover in excess of £39m. Due to this and other changes in legislation, companies operating fleets of vehicles face major concerns in terms of controlling costs, reducing carbon emissions and ensuring driver safety.
Throughout 2016 such larger companies will be engaging staff or fleet management companies to work on their behalf as ‘corporate mobility managers’ in a bid to meet these demands. With the increase of developments in technology and connected vehicles the introduction of car clubs and pool fleets have been proven to help companies move away from purchasing company cars into leasing into mobility solutions that represent a more cost-effective and environmentally friendly alternative.
In the UK, currently around one in 20 companies already employs a dedicated mobility manager, while more than one in five (22%) believe their fleet and travel management departments could merge, and are interested in an IT platform to deliver this.
Whilst the mobility movement is starting to grow faster in the UK, many other countries are a touch further ahead of the game with the introduction of systems such as mobility cards. Here employees are given a mobility card and a budget to travel using the best transport methods available. The idea is to create a more economical, efficient, streamlined and cost effective solution to business travel and to ensure the optimum journey method is always chosen.
With many fleet managers now taking on the responsibility of the complete journey, including aspects such as parking, taxi, train, or plane usage, and accommodation, it’s a holistic approach that needs to be taken in terms of finding the best overall solution for the situation. Duty of care and health and safety are always going to be the main priorities, but these aspects transcend across both fleet management and travel management and so are easily integrated. In addition to this, low carbon strategies are almost as important as the cost savings involved, but you can look to achieve both with a well thought out approach.
By considering the CO₂ emissions for each mode of transport you can look to determine the best mode of transport for each situation. There may well be a trade off in terms of comfort or travel time, but in general by looking to introduce more environmentally-friendly modes of transport or use of fuel you can also make savings on the bottom line.
In essence corporates are moving from analysing the total cost of ownership in managing their fleet of vehicles to the total cost of mobility. However, in order for mobility management to truly succeed, there must be viable alternatives to company-provided vehicles. A well-connected public transportation network as well as cloud-based platforms and booking tools to integrate an end-to-end solution needs to be developed to keep up with other European countries who are able to manage nearly every aspect of corporate mobility.
Written by Paul Fincham.
Paul has 24 years’ experience in the motor insurance industry and has a wealth of knowledge in this area. As Motor Fleet Broker for Bluedrop Services, Paul specialises in Motor Fleet Insurance and offers advice and support to customers managing Motor Fleets with a commitment to the environment and advising how to reduce your fleet insurance premiums through sustainability policies.