2 oct 23

“Staying flexible is a must”

“What else is really worth working in fleet, if not trying to reduce emissions?” But helping to save the planet is not all that fleet professionals can do, says Samuel Kellner-Steinmetz, Chief Sales Officer for Fleet Logistics, the sponsor of the European Fleet Procurement Manager of the Year award at the 2023 Fleet Europe Awards.

What is the main trend in international fleet and mobility management, and how is Fleet Logistics responding to it?

“These days, it’s all about implementing electrification. And Fleet Logistics offers a range of outsourced services connected to the process of ordering new vehicles. For instance, we do Car Policy and Car List alignment, allowing our customers to adapt their car policy and car list to the new EV landscape. We offer Driver Profiling, which means we implement an automated driver profile process that links individual vehicle usage to the right engine type, in compliance with car policy. We also offer assistance with the installation of Home Charging Station, by coordinating with the installation companies. And we offer Energy Card Data integration, by collecting and integrating third-party charging data into our fleet management repository, as we do for fuel data.”

In your opinion, what’s the formula for success in international fleet procurement?

“Stay flexible. This year was marked by a push to centralise non-core functions, in a desperate bid to create both cost and operational efficiencies. But organisations know, as they learned from the pandemic, that the future is uncertain, and plans and projects will have to be adapted. So, staying flexible is a must.” 

“The most poignant example of this is that professional data management is so often missing. It is, however, a strategic asset for international fleet roles, and one they need to own and master. To do this, you need two things. First, to obtain professional data that can drive strategy in a new and changing landscape. And second, to ensure professional operations are performed at ground level, with minimum impact on the organisation’s FTEs.”

What do you hope to see in international fleet management in general, and in the candidates for the Fleet Europe Awards in particular?

While lease companies are functional to operate a fleet, quality will come from somewhere else, so clients need the courage to seek freedom, or peace of mind as we call it, to jump to solutions that integrate solutions from various suppliers. And this includes new suppliers who offer new alternative mobility solution. That is complex but a challenge senior fleet people should be able to set out for. Think of data quality, cost control, and employee satisfaction, these are all pragmatic aspects of growing the ability to switch and integrate fast. 

“Freedom from leasing companies. When we talk to our clients about their leasing suppliers, three things become clear. One, operations are too unstable and rarely meet expectations. Two, key account management is vital, but overlooked. And three, cost trends are a mystery.”

“While lease companies fulfil a functional aspect of fleet operations, quality comes from somewhere else. So clients need the courage to seek freedom, or ‘peace of mind’, as we cal it, to jump to an approach that integrate solutions from a variety of suppliers. This includes new suppliers offering new alternative mobility solutions. That is complex, but it’s a challenge senior fleet people should be able to handle. Think of data quality, cost control, and employee satisfaction: these are all pragmatic aspects of growing the ability to switch and integrate fast.”

“I’m also interested in seeing a commitment to stick to greenhouse gas reduction plans. The majority of companies in EMEA have the potential and the firepower to achieve their carbon neutrality ambitions, even though it won’t be easy. Ultimately, you have to ask yourself the question: What else is really worth working on fleet, other than trying your best to reduce emissions? All the rest is business as usual, but cutting emissions is what will stand out as an achievement in your work today 10, 20 years from now.”

Are you curious to see who will become the European Procurement Fleet Manager of the Year? Click here to reserve your spot at the Fleet Europe Days (Lisbon, 22&23 November), which will conclude with the Fleet Europe Awards.