17 Sep 19

Seeking convergences in ground transportation with the Smart Mobility Institute

The second day of the September Smart Mobility Institute in Brussels gathered 18 corporate fleet, mobility, travel and HR managers, and kicked off with a case study of Accenture and Qteal. It was the start of a productive day of discussions, workshops and networking about finding the convergence between all different ground transportation departments. 

Case studies

The first case study was presented by Alexandra Melville, Global Car Fleet & Mobility Category Lead, Accenture and winner of the 2017 International Fleet Mobility Award. She outlined why mobility is important for Accenture. First and foremost, it’s about attracting and retaining the right people. While that’s important, mobility spend needs to be at the right level to stay competitive compared to the competition.

Accenture has been working on decreasing the dependence on cars for employee mobility. As part of this company, Accenture has taken on the challenge of merging Travel and Fleet.

Ms Melville was followed up by Jan Van Lishout, founder of Qteal, a start-up in software quality engineering. Qteal is innovative in more than one way: it is a company without managers, without internal email, without printers. Not without cars, though - they actually have more cars than employees. Nevertheless, the Qteal aims to drive less and decrease overall mileage.

At Qteal, all employees receive a mobility budget that they can use to their best judgement. Cars are managed as pool assets that can be rented out to colleagues. Importantly, when they do not use up their full mobility budget, they do not loose that money.

Steer through taxation

Peter Wuyts, Partner, BDO, discussed the impact of taxation on the convergence of ground transportation. This may be an important lever to get people out of their car as a recent Securex survey showed 63% of employees are willing to quit their job if their company car is taken away. In Belgium, the mobility budget was introduced to help companies and their employees make this move. Other countries, including Spain and Germany, are also introducing measures to steer people towards more sustainable means of transportation.

Define mobility

After a refreshing networking break, attendees were put to work in four workshops. David Omodei, Senior Procurement Engagement Manager, Microsoft and Pim De Weerd, Global Commodity Manager Mobility, Philips, led a workshop about Fleet & Procurement vision. Alexandra Melville and William Ireson, Global Benefits Manager, Nike, led a workshop about HR vision. Geert Behets, Spend Journey Lead - Global Travel and Meetings, UCB and Pascal Struye, Global Travel, Fleet & Meeting Services Director, Ingersoll Rand, led a discussion on Travel vision.

“It’s called the Smart Mobility Institute, but different people define ‘mobility’ differently,” said one participant. That was indeed a recurring theme: definitions and expectations can vary wildly, from one person to the other, from one generation to the other, from one culture to the other, from one company to the other.

Some conclusions from the workshops:

  • Everyone still defaults to a car but few have actually looked at employee needs.
  • Today, there are more differences than commonalitites. We are still at early stages and how we evolve will depend on how companies and technology evolve.
  • When facing spouses, relatives or friends, people that benefit from mobility budgets can find it difficult to explain how their company's mobility policy works and can find it difficult to correctly compare their compensation and benefits package with those of other people.
  • To find the right party that can deliver a particular service, using crowdsourcing can be helpful. This also avoids being stuck in traditional ways of thinking.
  • HR needs to be presented with the motivators for change: it's about making employees happy and retaining them.

This edition of the Smart Mobiliity Institute was supported by TMC, Thalys, Uber for Business, Sixt and Vaigo. The Smart Mobility Institute will meet for three more sessions in 2020. Keep an eye on these pages to stay up to date about future plans.

Read our other reports on the Smart Mobility Institute


Authored by: Benjamin Uyttebroeck