30 Mar 22

What are the best strategies helping fleets become sustainable and connected?

On the second day of the Connected Fleets Conference, fleet managers were shown three critical examples of fleets green initiatives and how they are achieving sustainability through connectivity. 

From the broad global strategies of Abbott and Shell to the swiftly expanding electric fleet of Picnic, the case studies presented unveiled great insights about what strategies fleet managers use and what kind of a roadmap they've prepared towards being sustainable and connected. 

"A global strategy needs to be realistic"

This is what Kostas Sakkos, Sr Commercial Services Manager, Global Procurement of Abbott, said when he talked about their electrification strategy. The main strategy is divided into country groups, while fleets are managed by internal or external teams, depending on the location and the financing model. 

Currently, ultra-low-emission vehicles represent 13% of the Abbott global fleet, consisting of 15,400 vehicles. For the electrification journey, Abbott targets 110g/km reduction in emissions by dividing countries into three stages: 36% of vehicles are in tier 1 countries where electrification can be initiated. 16% of fleet vehicles are in tier 2 countries, which need two or three years to become available for electrification. And 15% of fleet vehicles are in tier 3 countries where Abbott uses mild hybrid models to reduce emissions. 

In tier 1 countries like Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium, 85% of all new models will be BEV or PHEV by 2030. As of this year, 5% of all new orders will be BEV and 15% PHEV, says Sakkos. 

While implementing the country-specific strategies, a comprehensive analysis is performed on each country's cost impact and electrification maturity. This includes the total cost of ownership (TCO) impact, charging infrastructure and home charger availability. Assessing the key enablers and requirements for the project outlines Abbott's fleet electrification timeline, setting the goals for 2030. To facilitate electrification, Abbott doesn't limit EVs to specific brands and focus on regions that promote electrification incentives. 

In global fleet management, having cross-functional teams to drive the strategy implementation is essential, says Sakkos. One vital detail is telematics. Getting insights on the charging and fleet management process provides cost reduction, better fleet management and reporting and improved fleet efficiency. 

"Data is also crucial to going green and providing flexible mobility options," says Sakkos. "In a few years, Abbott will apply global software to increase efficiency." 

"In-house development is essential for speed" 

Online-only delivery store Picnic is enhancing its fleet because of increasing demand, according to Steven Thijssen, Fleet lead at Picnic. As demand grew, Picnic had to go through a dynamic development process to build customer satisfaction. 

For each delivery, a time spot is determined and reliable timing is one of the reasons for success. "For Picnic, the electric vehicle is at the centre of the brand," says Thijssen. "It is essential to ensure safety, and it is done through connectivity. Most of Picnic's drivers are young, and driver training is also essential for safety and efficiency. For this reason, Picnic drivers use a handheld device to report the data they are gathering."

Driver coaching of Picnic also includes a scoring system based on delivery trips and mapping dangerous areas to avoid risks. In time, the performance and safety of drivers increases, along with fleet efficiency. 

Data is also crucial for optimising the battery usage for Picnic's homogenous electric fleet. For this, the company has developed a model that generates a route for each vehicle depending on the energy use of each shift. Thus, the charging time for each vehicle is set through this data enriched route planning. As the fleet is uniform, maintenance is also simplified through being familiar with the specific parts that may need to be replaced. 

In-house development is an essential strength of Picnic. It lets the company develop tailor-made solutions for specific needs. Most importantly, "this ability makes us faster", states Thijssen, saying that the software they use took less than four months to develop. 

In time, Picnic will use data heavily to calculate distances for deliveries. Deliveries to city centres are easy, but new solutions will emerge as they move far from city centres, including rural areas. 

Thijssen says connectivity is a critical issue to focus on. The next step for Picnic is to decide if moving on with one or more business partners  is better for efficiency. 

"Choosing smaller cars is better"

"Shell is dedicated to becoming zero-emission by 2030 and is investing heavily in technology to achieve this goal," says Sander Haken, CP Manager Travel and HR of Shell Global Solutions International. 

Shell follows a country-specific strategy; avoiding the ones that are not ready, reducing emissions for those acting like a middle ground for electrification, and deploying tools to offset emissions in countries with available solutions. 

"Getting the fleet 'EV ready' is not easy because EVs are not always readily available," says Haken. Shell is working closely with stakeholders to overcome this issue and putting EV enthusiast drivers behind the wheels to get experience quickly. Different mobility options are chosen to transport employees, including taxi service. For fleets, small passenger cars are the priority to help lower emissions. Shell also performs BEV testing while equipping facilities' roofs with solar panels to accelerate sustainability efforts.

There is a long way to go in fleet electrification, but Haken clarifies that the criteria are well determined: "We will expand fleets with 5-star vehicles", he says, mentioning safety and sustainability. Haken explains that Shell aims to find the best TCO for fleets, choosing smaller cars if there's budget in a certain country. A local charging structure is used if available. But future efficiency in charging will depend on many options. If employees start the morning at a Shell station while charging their cars? Charging at business, at home, distance to the office and downtimes are all assessed to decide the best option. "We need TCO to make everything work in the supply chain", says Haken.

The ecosystem is going green, and Shell is looking for technology to do the same. The green effort is communicated through all divisions of the company. Sharing the stories of electrification is a part of the green effort to trigger the company's green structure expansion.  

One other important goal of Shell is to become connected. "Connectivity is the future, and we are looking to use it for certain purposes", says Haken.

The main photo shows Kostas Sakkos, Sr Commercial Services Manager, Global Procurement of Abbott, 
The first in-article photo shows Steven Thijssen, Fleet lead at Picnic, 
The second in-article photo shows Sander Haken, CP Manager Travel and HR of Shell Global Solutions International. 

Authored by: Mufit Yilmaz Gokmen