The future of fleet management increasingly includes mobility – not just vehicles
Fleet management could increasingly incorporate employee mobility as well as vehicle information, as more organisations turn to “big data” to meet their transport and asset needs.
That’s the prediction of fleet management software specialists Chevin Fleet Solutions, whose managing director Ashley Sowerby explained:
“As more organisations work to harness so-called ‘big data’ and integrate it meaningfully into their operations, they may be able to pinpoint savings opportunities that extend well beyond a traditional fleet approach.”
“For example, we have seen instances where, rather than just being handed the keys to a company car, employees are being offered a range of different travel options or some kind of overall mobility allowance.
“This is especially relevant for employees who travel largely within cities between urban areas, where there are other transport solutions readily available – from the train through to car clubs.”
By incorporating mobility-related data into fleet management systems, Ashley added, fleets could use this information to help improve utilisation not just of their vehicles, but also of workforces.
“In such cases, it could be argued that the employee is being managed in a similar way to a fleet asset.
“We are seeing more businesses move to a position where what we think of as core ‘fleet management software’ is, in fact, being used as a corporate asset management system. In some respects, it could be argued that employees are another element in this equation.
“By stripping back the function of the fleet to these kinds of fundamentals, all transport requirements become a simple matter of mobility. Whether a person is moved by car, train or taxi makes little difference, as does the method by which those modes of transport are utilised.”
In Ashley’s opinion, such a trend could be significant for the future of fleets. He also explained that advancing technology was making much of this kind of arrangement much more practical:
“Not long ago, booking train tickets or a hire car or using a car club was time consuming and difficult. Now it can all be done from your phone.
“At the same time, the infrastructure to track and manage use has improved. For example, our own software has developed in recent years to be able to manage such flexible corporate travel arrangements.”
However, Ashley added that this kind of model, while interesting, would probably only be suitable for a small proportion of overall business transport.
“We expect to see an increasing number of fleets choose this kind of mobility solution and for it to become a standard part of the fleet management toolkit – but there is a limit to its usefulness.
“The attraction of the company car is that it provides a cost-effective solution that can take an employee door-to-door in, normally, a reasonable journey time. There is no other transport option that matches this balance of cost and flexibility.”