“We aim for partnerships, flexibility and cost-efficiency"
The perplexing obstacles that came along with the pandemic and chip shortage paralyzed some in the fleet and mobility industry to react and find solutions. On the other hand, some turned the times of crisis into an opportunity to adapt to new mobility solutions and achieved great success with a well-designed strategy.
Franz Fehlner, who was awarded the European Smart Mobility Manager of the Year 2021, created a single-mobility policy for Allianz to achieve efficiency by embracing all kinds of transportation according to specific needs. Mr Fehlner, managing a fleet of 23,142 cars in Europe as the Global Category Leader Fleet Management & Services at Allianz, explains his journey of creating and applying the new mobility policy while developing relations with suppliers and setting future-proof strategies with stakeholders.
Mr Fehlner’s success eventually led to his promotion as Head of Corporate Fleet management & Chauffeur Services at Allianz Services. We asked explicitly what fleet managers shall focus on to overcome hardships in the coming months and what developments Mr Fehlner expects in the long-term in the fleet industry.
Mr Fehlner has many critical views for all the stakeholders in the industry, reflecting a comprehensive picture of an expected future: Fleet managers shall outsource some operations, while mobility and charging infrastructure providers shall expand their reach. Eventually, certain technologies such as fuel-cells and adapting to flexible mobility solutions will be crucial to surviving in the expanding and more complex ecosystem. Suppliers will have many responsibilities, according to Fehlner, especially providing digitized services.
Above all, the most important lesson of the times of crisis was “the values of choosing partners,” Mr Fehlner says.
Could you give a brief about Allianz Technology?
"We have changed the company from Allianz Technology to Allianz Services. Allianz Services offers comprehensive insurance operations and business services to the whole Allianz Group."
How has the size and fuel type of the fleet changed in recent years?
"The size of our company is quite stable, but we have an important increase in the use of train tickets and the uptake of bikes as a mobility solution. The interesting thing is that mileage has increased, and on the other hand, the fuel volume has decreased (-23%). This comes from our new sustainable mobility policy."
How did you discover the benefits of alternative mobility for your corporate strategy?
"We had discussions with a series of internal stakeholders, fleet peers and fleet consultants to benchmark our ideas and also to anticipate the market and future trends in the industry."
Could you tell us about the adoption process of the various mobility methods?
"Since March 2021, we have implemented the new mobility policy, which gives our Allianz executives and managers in Germany the opportunity to choose the best mobility solution linked to their personal needs. Via an integrated digital platform, they have the choice between a company car, (e)bike or BahnCard100 First(Train ticket)."
How did you convince stakeholders and employees to go smart mobility?
- Our stakeholders, e.g. HR and the employees, already had these mobility needs, and we had to respond and adapt:
- We decreased the attractiveness of company cars, esp. for Millennials.
- We embraced the expectation to integrate ESG trends into business and deliver on CO2 savings.
- We focused on living our Purpose “We secure your future.”
- We adapted to and installed a New Work Model in line with increasingly important mobility trends.
What was the biggest obstacle?
"Every single Allianz entity had its car policy. That’s why the most significant obstacle was to transform all of the single-car policies into one mobility policy and to convince all the different HR departments that it does make sense to standardize policy and budgets."
What are the results so far of your mobility programme?
"The new mobility policy is live in all participating Allianz entities in Germany, and we see that all company cars which have been ordered are electric or PHEVs. That has a significant impact on our ESG-targets. My colleagues in the UK will soon go live with the policy. Personally I am really proud of the mobility policy which can be seen as the next step to a mobility budget."
What are the most critical lessons of the pandemic and the chip shortage for you?
"We have learned that discounts are the most important thing, not the lease costs. The combination between partnership, flexibility, and costs are the most important values that separate business partners. Our future target is to focus on partners who live these values."
What fundamental changes do you expect in the corporate fleet and mobility management in the coming years, for your company and in general?
- The number of PHEVs will be reduced, and BEVs will increase as both charging times wiil decrease while electric range will decrease.
- Fuel cell will come and will play a major role.
- Flexible mobility solution will be the key for mobility providers to exists in the future."
- Outsourcing of fleet management operations to external fleet management partners,
- Charging infrastructure providers will have to extend their local business approach to a regional/global solution because of the needs of multinational companies,
- Mobility solution providers will have to open up the system to integrate also travel platforms to deliver an End-to-End process for the customers."
- We will focus on combining different mobility solutions on digital platforms, including mobilit budget schemes, charging infrastructure, digitalization and simplification of processes,
- Introduce App-gamification to support CO2 targets."
What do you miss from the suppliers in terms of mobility services?
- ESG apps which includes the gamification, for example, to rank the entity with the lowest CO2 emission
- Easy digital platforms and a seamless process for the mobility budget solution
- Mobility platform which allows integration of existing partnerships with mobility providers
Image of Franz Fehlner, Head of Corporate Fleet management & Chauffeur Services at Allianz Services.