8 Mar 23

Inspiring Women in Fleet tips on international fleet management

The future is female, also in fleet. It’s a bold statement, which we celebrate with ‘Inspiring Women in Fleet’, an initiative launched with a breakfast meeting at the 2022 Fleet Europe Summit in Dublin last November. But our focus on the trend precedes that meeting – see for example these three inspiring women featured in May 2022 in Cascais at our sister event, the Global Fleet Conference.

The boldness of that statement is not just wishful thinking. Fleet Europe and Global Fleet are twin platforms with close engagement and strong interaction with the fleet and mobility community. And we’ve seen it change, from an almost exclusively male domain only a few years ago to a more gender-balanced industry today.

This is good for several reasons, but certainly these two. Firstly, because it reflects the facts on the ground, in the population, on the workfloor, in the office. Secondly, because it brings in a wider range of lived experience. Both can only be good for making better informed decisions.

At the Global Fleet Conference 2022 in Cascais, Portugal, we brought together a panel of three highly experienced and highly regarded fleet professionals – who all happened to be female.  

While that would have been difficult to achieve, say, a decade earlier in a much more male-dominated industry, it was clear these women did not rise to the top of their professions because of a box-ticking exercise by their organisations; but for the only reason anyone should: because they are consummate professionals with the vision and leadership skills to benefit their companies and transform the industry itself. A quick introduction.

  • Yuliya Lapenkova (Cost Category Spend Manager HR Services at Philips and winner of the Fleet Europe Award for European Fleet & Mobility Manager of the Year in 2021)
  • Paula Diniz Oliveira (Global Heat of Fleet at Zoetis)
  • Montse Empez (Chief Purchasing Officer at Applus and winner of the Fleet Europe Award for International Fleet Manager of the Year in 2015)

At the Global Fleet Conference, all three were quizzed about the challenges and opportunities they experienced in global fleet management. Here are three topics, with three expert opinions each:

Regional differences

  • Ms Empez pointed out that Latin America was a difficult region, “due to price instability, but mainly because of the problem of car availability. We’re an engineering company, so we need very specific vehicle types.”
  • Ms Oliveira countered that, in her experiences, finding synergies in Latin America is easier than in other regions, “notably Asia-Pacific, which is much more fractured. And, the Latin American market is getting more mature.”
  • Ms Lapenkova noted that Europe is too readily considered the ‘easiest’ global market: “Yes, it is the most advanced. But eventually, you have to go down to country level, because each of those countries has a unique set of regulations.”

Carbon neutrality

  • While certainly a challenge, Ms Lapenkova also saw the chip shortage as an opportunity : “It has given us some time to prepare for the introduction of EVs. And it presents an opportunity to shift to mobility solutions.”
  • Said Ms Oliveira: “As a company, we’ve committed to be CO2 neutral by 2030. In Europe, we’re moving into EVs. Elsewhere, however, it’s still hard to predict when we will be able to do this.”
  • In terms of carbon neutrality, “we’re now working on Tier 1 and Tier 2. Soon, we’ll also be working on Tier 3”, said Ms Empez. “We’re also focusing on reducing emissions in existing fleets, having a closer look at fuel consumption.”

Supplier flexibility

  • “We would like our suppliers to offer better tracking of vehicle use,” said Ms. Oliveira. 
  • We would like faster reaction times, and more flexibility,” said Ms. Empez.
  • “Our suppliers are very good when it comes to market expertise. But I too am missing some more flexibility,” added Ms Lapenkova. 

These three fleet professionals have since joined the ‘Inspiring Women in Fleet’ initiative. If that’s something you would like to do, there is an opportunity to become a member of this community.

Join the upcoming Global Fleet Conference, 15-17 May in Cascais, which will include another edition of the ‘Inspiring Women in Fleet’ breakfast. 

Image: Fleet Europe

Authored by: Frank Jacobs