Why Fleet Management is Just the Beginning

By Jane Hoffer, CEO, GoWithFlow

What will our world look like post COVID-19? It is hard to say, but one thing is for certain — the impact that transportation has on our climate couldn’t have been more clear in the days that the world stopped driving and flying.

We have an opportunity to build from this tragedy to create a new normal, and it involves looking at transportation and mobility in a sustainable way. Most major companies and cities are already primed for these efforts, developing the infrastructure and programs to bring more sustainable modes of transport to employees, customers, partners and the general public.

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But are they going about it the right way? Because sustainable mobility isn’t a fleet management problem — it’s actually about resource management.

Some think that sustainable mobility is a simple “one in, one out” approach to fleet management, where you just replace gas-powered vehicles with more sustainable electric vehicles. While that will help, it misses the potential.

For corporate procurement leaders and the corporate fleet manager, their view of fleet management is changing, too. More employees are opting for private vehicles, be that cars, scooters, e-bikes and regular bikes. The definition of “fleet” is changing, and with it, company decision-makers are expanding the concept of a “corporate mobility wallet.” This gives employees the freedom to choose their mode of mobility, and it also creates a host of new management issues for fleet managers who must look beyond the traditional fleet to incorporate mobility services and external resources.

A Unified View of Mobility

Just like manufacturing or supply chain operations, mobility is an interconnected set of business processes and requires a data-centric business system to capture and utilize its full potential. When viewed through this prism, there are opportunities to realize operational efficiencies and cost savings as well as the potential for new streams of revenue.

The real challenge of Sustainable Mobility isn’t about electrification or the type of vehicle in your fleet. It’s about harnessing the power of mobility for the benefit of the organization, whether it’s a business, an organization or a city.

The question is how to plan fordeploy and continuously improve all the elements of a sustainable mobility program for today and for the future.

How can you implement a sustainable mobility program that manages to lower your Total Cost of Mobility, improve fleet reliability and the end-user experience, AND de-carbonize your mobility footprint? Through the discipline of Sustainable Mobility Resource Management.

A New Approach: Sustainable Mobility Resource Management

The practice of Sustainable Mobility Resource Management (SMRM) is similar to the standard Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) discipline: Define all the business areas that, when united and effectively interconnected, deliver quantifiable benefits to the bottom line.

Much like how a typical ERP system uses a centralized database to house information from all the various business processes, an SMRM solution does the same for all elements of mobility. This opens a window into data in real-time and enables managers to make rapid and effective decisions for improvements or alternations.

SMRM can best be defined in five areas of competence:

  1. Mobility Planning
    The lasting value of a sustainable mobility initiative is deceptively more complex than merely replacing your existing gas- or diesel-powered (ICE or internal combustion engine) vehicles with zero-emission electrics or lower-emission hybrids. The true value lies in mapping out a flexible, strategic plan that will make the most of your current initial changes while providing the flexibility for the future.
  2. Energy Management
    You can take an important first step on the low-emissions road to sustainability by taking control of your charging infrastructure. Any fleet — whether it’s the company’s or your employees’ own vehicles — needs fuel. Your SMRM solution should be able to manage fuel planning for ICE vehicles, and also be able to control and monitor electricity usage, load balancing between stations or within facilities, and real-time monitoring and response of your charging infrastructure for electrified vehicles. And, it should also be able to manage reservations on the chargers to ensure the vehicles are charged when they need to be.
  3. Fleet Management
    Simply put, an electric fleet must be managed on two fronts: the vehicles and the charging infrastructure. With Fleet Management, it’s everything from vehicle maintenance and repair, alarms management, CO2 reduction impact assessments, micro-mobility, corporate pool, car-sharing and dual-use programs, which can enable you to fulfill the promise of an employee mobility wallet while also making full use of all your mobile assets.
  4. Mobility Services
    Mobility Services bring in external data sources, extending the mobility ecosystem to include public transit, shared mobility services, and taxi, ride-hailing and other on-demand services. This “mobility on demand” encompasses an integrated and connected multi-modal network of safe, affordable and reliable transportation options that are available and accessible to all travelers. It includes public transit such as municipal metros and bus service, and newer modes of transportation like ride-sharing or carpooling.
  5. Transaction Management
    For organizations farther along the path toward sustainable mobility maturity, Transaction Management can be a gateway to revenue-generating opportunities. By extending charging services to employees and bundling mobility services into a user platform, a fully functional SMRM solution can handle payment processing, invoicing, loyalty campaigns and user profile management to turn mobility into money.

When done strategically, a Sustainable Mobility Resource Management program that encompasses fleet management and all the other components of the mobility ecosystem can:

  • Save and Make Money
    You save money by more efficiently managing and utilizing your mobility assets across your organization. Plus, you can set yourself up for growth opportunities by being able to scale more efficiently and meet evolving customer needs with a more efficient mobile ecosystem.
  • Make Your Mobility More Reliable
    Real-time data means your customers always come first — with a smart infrastructure, decision-makers can determine and adjust to changing conditions on the fly with fully charged vehicles that are cheaper and more dependable to operate.
  • Meet Your Organization’s Sustainability Objectives
    You can comply with sustainability objectives and regulations reliably and cost-effectively, and you’ll be making a significant impact on reducing your carbon footprint.

Jane Hoffer is CEO of GoWithFlow, the Matosinhos-based startup delivering Sustainable Mobility Management solutions to businesses and organizations who want to change the way people move — for the better.

Are you a corporate mobility manager looking for new, sustainable solutions for your company? Attend Autonomy Digital 2.0 (19 – 20 March, 2021) to discover the latest products, vehicles and services designed to reduce the costs and carbon footprint of corporate fleets. Pre-register for your pass today!