Editor's choice
10 Jun 21

Smart Mobility Conference: “Technology is the key to mobility”

“Technology is the key to mobility,” said Samia Arfaoui (Veolia) at the Smart Mobility Conference, “as it can enable simplification.” Together with other leading international fleet managers, she shared her views on the future of corporate mobility.

You can watch the Smart Mobility Conference on our YouTube channel. Find out more about the latest trends in fleet & mobility management and watch the recorded sessions of the 2021 Global Fleet Conference.

Ms Arfaoui (pictured right) is Mobility and Sustainability Project Lead at Veolia, a French company that has started embracing alternative mobility options some years ago. In 2019, colleagues of Ms Arfaoui’s won the title of European Optimisation Fleet Manager of the Year.

Going for mobility rather than traditional fleet solutions doesn’t necessarily need to be cost neutral, said Ms Arfaoui. “But as electric cars are on average 20-30% more expensive, you need to find mobility options that can compensate for that.”

David Omodei (pictured left), Senior Procurement Engagement Manager at Microsoft, added cost neutrality is not at the top of the agenda for Microsoft: “Cost is a driver but it is not necessarily the decision-maker. Someone that has a car and also has access to trains or bikes, won’t be driving if he’s taking a train, so that will have an impact on fuel consumption, for instance.”

A key difference between yesterday’s fleet and tomorrow’s mobility, is eligibility. “Mobility needs to be offered to all employees,” said Mr Omodei, who went on to say that integrated services that proactively suggest mobility options based on Outlook appointments are the way forward.

However, companies shouldn’t introduce mobility options because it makes them look good. “It shouldn’t only be about communication and marketing,” said Ms Arfaoui. “You have to make sure people use what you offer. The key is communication: how you address the topic internally.”

Mobility leaves room for choice, said Mr Omodei. “If someone wants a car, they can get a car and that’s fine. If they don’t, we can get them alternatives.”

Supposedly, millennials aren’t interested in owning their own personal car any more. Ferenc Hegedus (pictured right) pointed out that it’s not always so straightforward: “In countries like Hungary and Italy, the mindset changes more slowly than in, say, the UK or the Netherlands. In cities like London, you can’t really commute by car, so it’s also about geographies.”

Ferenc Hegedus is EMEA Geo Sourcing Lead at IBM. In a previous role at IBM, Mr Hegedus won the 2018 International Fleet Innovation Award.

IBM set up a mobility programme through an early-adopter approach, implementing mobility in leading countries first. Two trends are clear: the company’s fleet is shrinking, and the share of EVs is growing. “We include more and more subscription-based options,” said Mr Hegedus, “but TCO remains a focus.”

Almy Magalhaes said: “It is not only about the budget but also about the impact on CO2 emissions.” In 2018, while working at Philip Morris International, Mr Magalhaes won Global Fleet Manager of the Year. Today, he is Senior Manager Procurement Indirects and Services Europe, Ecolab.

All fleet managers at the Smart Mobility Conference agreed there’s no time to waste. Mr Omodei had a piece of advice for fleet managers that want to start the transition from fleet to mobility: “Start internally. Profile your colleagues – you can do that by yourself, or by included external partners. Next, check what’s available on the market.” Importantly, don’t wait for the perfect option you can roll out in all markets but use what’s already available.

Photo copyright: Shutterstock

Authored by: Benjamin Uyttebroeck