IFMI: making multi-country data work
Multinational fleet managers often need help navigating the sea of data gathered from several providers to maintain a clear overview of their progress in sustainability, safety, and cost efficiency. In the IFMI session on “How to manage multi-country Fleet data” (held as a prelude to the seventh edition of the Connected Fleets Conference), the participants were rendered valuable insights from industry experts and peers.
Telematics is a road that still needs to be fully travelled by many fleet managers. A real-time survey at the IFMI unveiled that of the participating managers, 45% had a telematics ratio of above 60%, and a quarter wasn’t exceeding 5%. But fast forward to 2025, and almost 70% expect to have a connectivity ratio of more than 60% in their fleet. So, the data-driven future is something the overwhelming majority reckons with.
Also, no one disagrees that for fleet and logistics managers, data consolidation offers an excellent opportunity to reach the goals put forward by their companies. But even though every new vehicle nowadays comes factory-equipped with connected tech, there’s no shortage of challenges. Multiple countries use multiple methodologies, different markets show different levels of maturity. The quality is often not harmonized, and privacy ruling remains one of the top worries. An exciting evolution? Yes. Without pitfalls? No.
GET YOUR DATA AT THE SOURCE
As the first expert on the floor, Stephane Denis from Karman (the hifi company recently ventured into the software development business) adressed the complexity involved when dealing with the international playfield. However, a key cog in making fleets safer and more sustainable is a “one or single solution”.
Karman deliberately abandoned the market of dash cams and dongles. “Our advice is to step directly to the OEMS - this can be done with a telematics partner,” said Denis, “Ask them the data and sign an agreement. As stakeholders, leasing companies and fleet managers have the power to make, that happen.” And why wouldn’t automotive OEMs listen, as they can monetize on this mutual interest through a subscription model, for example?
CHOOSE THE RIGHT PARTNER
Teaming up with a telematics partner to obtain direct data sounds like a solid idea. But the question in many fleet managers’ heads is how you carefully select the right one.
Category Manager for security company Securitas Saban Tekedereli (pictured above) monitors 14 000 vehicles in more than twenty European countries. Not only does he know the ins and outs of handling a multi-branded and multinational approach, he also laid out the steps for choosing the best-suited telematics supplier at the IMFI. “Our guideline is to spend one euro and get three euros back.”
- Get your know-how up to date: Tekedereli advised to visit the Marketplace at Fleet Europe’s website to get a good overview and a starting point. Participating in the Connected Fleet Conference was second on his list.
- Specify your needs: distinguish between must-haves (the more, the costlier) and nice-to-haves. This list should be mirrored against what’s relevant to your company. Search for the telematics tool with the highest impact.
- Consider OEM, aftermarket, or both: There’s no golden choice. Dare to vary depending on the countries, but always let the supplier coach you when introducing telematics in these non-identical environments.
- Combine real-time alerts with coaching. Real-time alerts give the best result but don’t use them as a sanctioning tool. Beware of sacking drivers based on data, but always add coaching.
- Identify who sees which data in your company. Ask for this flexibility from your supplier. Also, ask how safe your data is saved and involve your Data Privacy Office. It’s better to pay a little more monthly to avoid headaches.
THE BOILING FROG
Companies with global coverage for their fleet face strong variations in legislation, driver habits and privacy rulings. “Therefore, you need to build a culture first and strongly emphasize the communication and negotiation around telematics. Define also what it is not,” explained Nikola Vukovic (pictured above), Global Head of Market and Fleet Safety at tobacco company Philip Morris.
Vukovic was elected the first European Connected Fleets Manager of the Year in 2021 when he began connecting 23 000 drivers across 78 countries. Starting with the higher-risk and bigger markets first, his fleet will be entirely digitised by the end of 2024.
Aligning all those nationalities follows the “principle of the boiling frog”, according to Vukovic. “You must acknowledge the regional characteristics first and then align step by step to the corporate scope.” Philip Morris attains this partly through an e-learning program and instruction videos tailored to the regional language and paradigms.
One of the most tangible lessons learned was how the future of data harvesting is linked to OEM agreements. The car is the data. The sponsor of the IFMI, Echoes, made a good case for this. The company vows that by the end of the year, its software model will cover 95% of all the car makes, facilitating the case of a multi-branded strategy.
“We don’t talk about telematics anymore since installing and removing hardware is finally a thing of the past,” commented Echoes CEO Mathieu Chènebit (pictured above), “We now speak about Vehicle-data-as-a-service.” Chènebit acknowledges that data themselves is not what the international fleet manager is looking for but needs crunched data to act upon.
The IFMI live event at the Connected Conference in Brussels was the second part of a triptych. So don’t miss out on our final session, the webinar, on the 11th of April. After ‘ROI and telematics’ and ‘Managing multi-country data’, the experts will focus on ‘How Electrification and Telematics are the perfect match’. Registration is free of charge.