Analysis
1 Oct 21

Connected Fleets Conference: corporate fleets driving connected strategy

The Connected Fleets Conference 2021 provided valuable insights from corporate fleet managers who’ve already embarked on transformational and ambitious telematics and connected fleet project.

They shared their views and experiences on digitisation, best practices, technology, what met their expectations and what didn’t and their connectivity plans for the future.

It seems connectivity and digitisation are currently enabling corporate fleets to transform existing challenges such as cost reduction, fleet process optimisation, driver safety and asset security and these projects are generating tangible, measurable results.

This is empowering them to take a deeper dive into how it can help them achieve bigger goals, such as the ‘greening’ of the fleet, transitioning to electrification as demonstrated by Wayne Warburton (pictured) of Siemens UK, or to add new mobility initiatives, like car sharing, railway parking, bicycle or scooter rental.

Veolia is a world leader in environmental services that encompass water, waste and energy management. It operates a fleet of over 45,000 vehicles, 60% of which are LCV (Light Commercial Vehicles). The company operates primarily in France and elsewhere in Europe but Veolia’s fleet can be found in 60 countries globally.  

Under the direction of Wilfried Duchez (pictured), Group Fleet and Mobility Deputy Director, Veolia has constructed a comprehensive programme of fleet digitisation incorporating telematics and connected fleet technology to achieve ambitious short and longer-term challenges.

Digital transformation – a key element of performance improvement

The ‘VEGA Move’ 2020 plan, deployed within Veolia’s business units and in charge of fleet management for the group, is dedicated to car fleet procurement optimisation, trucks and mobility and has worldwide responsibility for LCVs.

VEGA interacts with over 40 IT systems, including a centralised SAP, and 80+ automated interfaces. 13,000 vehicles are already connected and 4,500 more are being added per year. 60% of the fleet is connected via car manufacturer tracking units. The myVEGA driver and mobility app has 4,500 users already, 8,000 will be added in the near future.

However, it hasn’t all been plain sailing, Duchez and his team have faced many issues along the way. 

“The whole fleet ecosystem is in transition,” Duchez remarks, “so you have to find your own way and stay agile. You’ll be handling lots of data, and lots of data creates issues so be prepared for that. You need a long-term vision. User/driver focus is important. Decide on your approach.”

In contrast, MedTech company Zimmer Biomet, which operates a fleet of primarily benefit cars, shifted the spotlight onto its fleet of 1100 vehicles to see how cost savings could be made.

Better compliance and driver safety

Adam Longenecker, strategic sourcing lead EMEA (pictured), was brought in in 2019 specifically to consolidate fleet operations and reduce the variable costs associated with driver behaviour and fleet procurement. Additionally, being a MedTech company, compliance is an important issue. Having undertaken extensive research, Longenecker concluded that a driver engagement solution would address both costs and compliance so he set about finding a solution.

A platform was chosen, Alertdriving, that interfaced with SAP and Zimmer Biomet’s existing learning management system (LMS), which drivers were already familiar with. Alertdriving offers an online driver training program that reduces vehicle collisions, personal injuries, operating and fuel costs through safer driving and reduced liability exposure. 

Longenecker discovered that out of 1200 vehicles, which they had at that time, there were 700 insurance claims. This equated to 15.5 collisions per one million km of driving and over $300,000 in damages deductibles.

“We can see which drivers have taken the programme, how many have submitted on time and how many have finished. 92% of our drivers have launched, which is pleasing, but we can also see how many are submitting late and this is something we can work on.”

From what we learned at Connected Fleets Conference 2021, it’s obvious that the technology to connect fleets and provide valuable and actionable data is out there. What’s lacking is the strategy and best practice experience – among corporate and suppliers – to achieve what’s truly possible.

And that’s understandable as it’s early days. However, it highlights the value of sharing expertise through conferences such as this.

You can deepdive into the benefits of connected technology for your fleet operations by reliving the Connected Fleets Conference from 30 September

Authored by: Alison Pittaway