4 Oct 22

"Fleet managers must have the courage to eliminate the uncertainty"

Take complexity and add impatience, and fleet procurement is in real trouble. In these difficult times, it pays to take the long view, and reorganize, says Joshua Formis. He is the International Sales Director for Fleet Logistics, a sponsor of the European Fleet Procurement Manager of the Year award at the 2022 Fleet Europe Awards. His advice? “Make a plan. And stick to it!”

The two years of the pandemic have allowed large organizations to restructure themselves – or at least plan for such a restructuring. Those changes are now coming into effect, Joshua Formis says. For fleet managers however, a reorganization adds complexity on top of uncertainty generated by external factors, and by major operations such as electrification. So, what to do? 

What's the top trend in international fleet procurement, and how is Fleet Logistics responding to it?

"It’s reorganization. This is demonstrated by the increasing influence of HR roles across organizations. This is natural, given the turmoil our societies are experiencing. Fundamentally, the crisis combining the pandemic, the war and the energy crisis shows that organizations must find a way to coexist with instability. Ultimately, that all falls onto the plate of HR, giving them a full menu for reorganization.”

“Organizations are on the lookout for ways to adapt, and thus be more flexible. So we provide two things: advice, and outsourcing solutions for their operational roles. In particular advice and knowledge are in high demand. We offer E-Fleet TRANSITION, a consulting service that includes the mid-term use of a tool we built specifically to help large corporations help themselves during the electrification of their fleets. It gives a ten-year forecast on CO2 emissions, ROI, charging infrastructure investments, and vehicle renewals – for three different powertrains.”

What's your top tip for fleet managers looking to internationalize their fleet procurement strategy?

"Make a plan that works for the momentum that is specific to your organization. Involve stakeholders. And stick to the plan! In times of change, decisions tend to get reversed quickly. That jeopardizes long-term plans which, in turn, just adds to the workload, and creates dissatisfaction downstream. That’s a risk typical for procurement, because they are often called in to negotiate what others have decided, but not everybody has yet fully understood.”

“Often, the fleet is not a key concern to the wider organization. That can lead to a mismatch in expectations. It’s up to procurement to fix that mismatch with a solid plan that, while we’re in this complicated historical moment, has the duty to come across as achievable and simple to understand. So, make sure you choose the cornerstones of your plan well. Position them well in your organization. And don’t worry if not all of your countries get on board at the same time. That’s a false expectation. Still, if the plan resonates – which depends on how effective the procurement actually is – they will adhere to it when the time comes.”

"We constantly see fleet managers trying to act on poor data. Fleet managers first have to get consolidated data before they do anything else. We’re now in a time where there’s no more excuses for not getting your numbers straight. I’m not saying it’s easy to gather data. But there are service providers out there – Fleet Logistics among them – who can do this professionally for you.”

What are you looking forward to seeing in terms of focus elements with the candidates of the Fleet Europe Awards this year? 

"Transition from Fleet to Mobility. If there’s anybody who should start doing this, it’s our typical target customers: very large international corporations, with solid and forward-thinking policies designed to attract and retain talent.”
"Make solid, six-digit-figure investments in charging infrastructure. Large fleets with at least 2,000 vehicles across Europe must think about charging infrastructure as an industrial investment – just like any other piece of machinery.”

"Scrap PHEVs from your fleet policies. The more data we see, the more we realise that PHEVs are a false track when it comes to getting serious about CO2 reduction.”

"Have the courage to professionalize mobility roles, by questioning the status quo. In this era of reorganization, it’s easier than before to outsource non-core activities like fleet. So fleet managers must have the courage to outsource if needed. This will help their company to refocus on its core activity.”

Are you curious to see who will become the European Fleet Procurement Manager of the Year? Click here to reserve your spot at the Fleet Europe Summit (Dublin, 16-17 November), which will conclude with the Fleet Europe Awards.