A shift in perspective good provides many benefits for fleet managers.
Almost three years ago, I published a column on the Mobility Continuum and what it could mean for fleet managers. Adoption of a mobility mindset has been slow in North America where vehicle ownership continues to be the default.
Naturally, we expect many organizations to continue to own or lease vehicles to fill specific roles, for example, bucket trucks, snowplows, and firetrucks. In addition to a traditional approach for managing these assets, however, I still think that organizations need to identify all elements of mobility spend and manage and track it. By doing so they can move from Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) to Total Cost of Mobility (TCM).
Today, it is not uncommon for HR to control car allowances, Finance to control bus, taxi or ride-share reimbursement and User Departments to handle rentals. Someone (The Mobility Manager) should have oversight of all these areas in order to understand the impact of changes in one on all the others. For example, an increase in the number of people eligible for a car allowance could result in a decrease in the need for fleet vehicles.
Fleet Managers should consider all Mobility as a Service (MaaS) options and integrate ride-sharing, public transport and other alternatives in the options they provide customers. Companies should abandon car allowances and introduce mobility allowances, leaving the decision on whether to use their vehicle or another mobility alternative up to the individual employee. Finally, fleet professionals should continue to do the things we know are right—enforce strict safety policies and prioritize sustainability.
Why isn’t this happening more quickly in North America and will cost reductions necessitated by the COVID pandemic hurry things along? One impediment has simply been finding time to implement a largely manual process of offering employees mobility options and trying to track their preferences.
I recently received a demo of a product created by a Swiss Start-up called 1st Mobility. Their product, The Mobility Configurator, is the first tool I am aware of that allows organizations to set mobility choices and parameters and employees to then select their customized mobility benefits package within these parameters. It makes the painstaking process of choosing and tracking much easier. With the demise of this barrier, mobility options could become more accessible and desirable even in North America.
NAFA Fleet Management Association also continues to provide education in this area. The “Musings on Mobility” session at the Virtual Institute and Expo was a popular class where industry experts Lukas Neckermann and James Carter spoke about ‘new mobility’ and how important mobility options are in the pandemic.
There is lots of professional advice and even tools out there to assist fleet managers in creating innovative, cost-saving and sustainable solutions to mobility requirements. And there is no time like the present to give it some thought.
Lieutenant Colonel (ret’d) Katherine Vigneau spend 26+ years as a Canadian Arm Logistics Officer. A NAFA volunteer since 1999, Kate uses this experience to shape fleet education and professional certification. She is the Director of Professional Development for NAFA.