10 jan 22

How to achieve quick wins on the road to sustainability

The future of vehicle management is… complex. We all agree on the direction of travel: less carbon, more EVs, full sustainability. But that road is long and winding, and it’s easy to get discouraged. To get the ball rolling, we all could do with some quick wins. Wim Buzzi (let it fleet) and Matthijs Honing (OviDrive) know exactly what you need.

Mr Buzzi is the Founder and Managing Partner of let it fleet, corporate mobility architects that help fleets build an optimal, future-proof corporate mobility strategy that matches HR, Procurement, and Sustainability objectives. He sees five quick wins:

1. Find a sponsor, build a coalition

“Sustainability, electrification, decarbonisation – it all boils down to adaptive change management. To increase your chances of success, you need a senior leader in your organisation to act as your sponsor, opening doors for you. Another key role for that sponsor is to help build a coalition of support among important stakeholders in the organisation. Such a coalition will increase the likelihood that your changes succeed.”

2. Change your budget methodology

“Making a budget and sticking to it is key to successful fleet management. However, corporate budget methodology is often a bit outdated. Achieving a standardised methodology can be a challenge, especially if you work with different suppliers. In the end, fleet costs must include all cost aspects of running a fleet. However, the after-tax aspect is often overlooked. If you want to properly evaluate BEVs and PHEVs against ICEs, it’s crucial that you switch to an all-inclusive after-tax calculation.” 

3. Anticipate delays – start early

“Projects such as electrification require changes to be made to your car and mobility policy. It’s a good opportunity to tackle other changes on your To-Do list, for example: EV eligibility, charging procedures, and the inclusion of alternative mobility solutions. Keeping in mind that Fleet & Mobility is just one of many topics that require senior leadership, it’s good to get these changes signed off early, to keep your project timing intact.”

4. Map your drivers’ expectations

“A driver profile these days requires more than info on annual mileage, car policy, and job grade. To determine the electrification potential and identify obstacles, you need info on driving cycles and driving styles, plus data on time spent and distances covered. Moreover, Covid has changed mobility patterns and reduced average corporate mileage by up to 30%. Some of those changes will stay. To get a good picture, take a thorough employee survey. The level of knowledge and expectations of your employees may surprise you. The earlier you know this, the better you can tailor your policies.” 

5. Gather info on mobility solutions

“A lot of these topics will be new to you, and maturity and adoption levels will vary per country. So get to know new suppliers and their solutions, via a traditional Request for Information. Focus on more parameters than just pricing: also take into account service levels, innovation, and user experience. And build a well-balanced plan that anticipates the main implementation hurdles. The survey mentioned earlier can help you focus on solutions that are relevant for your company. If you aspire to a zero-carbon policy, look into carbon offsetting – as today at least, completely emission-free solutions do not yet exist.” 

The right data

Mr Honing is Director of Consultancy and Executive Strategic Partnerships at OviDrive, a specialist in connecting fleet customers with the fleet experts they need. In his opinion, getting the right data is the first and most important step to achieving the first quick wins. 

But those are just the first step in what must be a larger plan: “It’s not only about delivering the quick wins. It’s also about delivering a long-term strategy for your company. The pivot towards sustainability is a fundamental change to your business. You need to start making decisions based on 5- to 10-year plans, no longer on 3- to 5-year plans.”

Let’s start with the data: “Information on vehicle utilisation can be used to provide the right vehicle – or even the right mobility solution – for your employees. However, you need to capture a lot of data, there are issues with privacy, and not all OEMs are sharing their data. So this is not easy. Having said that, we see companies in the market that are working on getting those data insights from other sources and this needs to be translated into a plan together with the involved stakeholders such as HR, Procurement, Sustainability, and the business.”

Three simple steps

As for OviDrive, its focus is on helping its clients achieve quick wins with three simple steps, says Mr Honing:  

“We use what we call the Fleet & Market Readiness Scan (FMRS) – a simple model for companies to prepare a decarbonisation plan for each country, whether you want to implement an EV policy or a mobility one. For the scan, we use a combination of:

  • Understanding company strategy. What’s the HR strategy, including benefit strategy? What are the Sustainability targets? What’s the business strategy? The latter question is most relevant when functional cars are provided to employees.
  • Understanding fleet usage. How do employees use the vehicles they have, and how much mileage do they achieve?
  • Market readiness in terms of EVs. We look at charging networks and available vehicle models, at the availability of hydrogen and of various mobility solutions.” 

After completion of the full scan, you have a view of the options you have to move to BEV, mobility, and other solutions. It will also show you what is required to make the move in terms of your policies and supply chain. 

Strategy matrix

The FMRS scan model has the great advantage that it can be used for all countries, as there are many differences between countries, such as taxation, usage of the vehicle, and so on, Mr Honing says. The scan model's outcomes will be assessed in a '4S' strategy matrix, with a focus on Sustainability, Safety, Satisfaction and Savings. “With this, you will be able to work as one team with your stakeholders on a future-proof model.” 

“This helps us create a plan to move to a full EV fleet, and/or a sustainable mobility programme – because we see EVs and mobility as strongly linked, in the transition phase. For most companies, that transition phase will play out in a 5- to 10-year time frame.”

Complete transition

Such a long-term prospect is not in contradiction to seeking out and achieving quick wins, Mr Honing stresses. In fact, to make those quick wins future-proof, you need to embed them in a longer strategy: “Sticking to a 3- to 5-year strategy and applying a client-vendor relationship will not help you make the changes you need.” 

“If you want to work out a full programme of decarbonisation, electrification, and sustainability, you need to capture everything in a partnership model with a 5- to 10-year horizon. Only then will the transition become realistic, and the benefit is that you directly can you start realising the quick wins that will set you on the road to make a complete transition to sustainability.”

Image: Shutterstock

Authored by: Frank Jacobs