Fleet News

Mobility: What is business mobility?

The phrase has become popular in the fleet industry, but there is still confusion as to what it actually means. Andrew Ryan asks leading suppliers and organisations for their definitions and how their visions will shape the future of fleet management

Paul Hollick - ‘Imagine a world that looks like the movie Minority Report’

Paul Hollick is chairman of the Institute of Car Fleet Management

What does business mobility – or mobility management – really mean for the vehicle fleet operator as we head towards 2020? For me and my colleagues on the Institute of Car Fleet Management (ICFM) Board, it is really quite straightforward. 

Three industries are coming together very quickly – these being fleet, travel management and payments – and they are colliding due to the adoption of technology, primarily mobile phone/4G technology.

This means fleet is changing to all forms of transportation – the role now becomes ‘how to get an employee from A to B’ in the most cost-effective, efficient and cleanest way possible. Fleet management is moving away from just managing a vehicle.

The successful fleet manager’s DNA is now very different to any time previously and it requires much more emphasis on connected living (including the car); demand responsive transport (trains, planes and automobiles) and a willingness to completely embrace the autonomous vehicle technology revolution in all its guises, coupled with the management of ‘big data’.

What’s next? No idea! But maybe the future is clearer in the longer term. The pace of change in our industry is increasing and fleet operators need all the help they can get if they are to succeed in this complex but nonetheless exciting and challenging period. Additionally, the speed of change in technology is also increasing – so things that were 10-20 years away are now only three to four years away.

Imagine a world that looks like the movie Minority Report. Automated vehicles – particularly in urbanised areas – being the main way of life, low carbon technologies, vehicle sharing, mobility rather than leasing and retina/ GPS designed specific marketing. The new generation (call them either Generation Y or the Millennial Generation) who are now arriving into employment have a completely different mindset – one that is not particularly concerned about owning a car or owning anything. It is now all about “usage”.

In fact, due to excessive insurance costs, they also do not even mind being tracked by telematics. A world where organisations know your
movements and keep data about you is not a problem to them.

Europe has two mega-cities in London and Paris but more and more people are flocking to cities that are growing, so it is only a matter of time until Governments in all parts of the world will be forced to properly address public transport connectivity.


Graeme Banister - ‘The future will see increasing integration’

Graeme Banister is director of consulting, mobility, at Frost & Sullivan

Frost & Sullivan tracks market trends and has undertaken research into corporate mobility across five European markets, including the UK.

As part of this we created a definition. Corporate mobility means all local, regional and international travel requirements of a business (including commuting and business travel) on behalf of the company – and all of the associated facilities, processes, policies and products required to determine need, control policy, manage the travel activity and financially reconcile. These include: 

■ Fleet management

■ Business travel management and policy

■ Employee daily commute benefits or policy 

■ Travel and expense management platform

■ Travel related facility management 

In summary, mobility solutions developed in the retail space are robust enough to offer as a B2B service and providers are now pushing hard to exploit this channel with simple messaging – such as saving 10% on your ground transport costs, for example. 

The future will see increasing integration of fleet, business travel and expenses management – covering all modes of transport where deployed solutions allow mobility users to search, book, pay, be supported in-trip and then seamlessly reconcile the costs.


Gerry Keaney - 'Technology is blurring the traditional boundaries’

Gerry Keaney is chief executive of the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association

Mobility, and Mobility as a Service (MaaS), represent a fundamental shift in the way individuals and businesses are planning their transport needs.

Traditional models of car use are being eroded in many urban areas, where congestion and air quality issues have seen the introduction of a number of anti-car measures.

Meanwhile, a younger group of motorists is embracing a service-based mentality by renting or using shared vehicles, instead of owning them. This same generation is increasingly comfortable with a digital, smartphone-enabled approach to buying and using mobility services.

Technology is blurring the traditional boundaries between car clubs, vehicle rental and leasing. It has seen the introduction of services that offer journey planning and bookings for these and a number of other transport modes.

The concept of MaaS is now being embraced, as it provides users with seamless, on-demand access to a range of transport modes tailored to their individual needs. Instead of viewing transport as a series of separate journeys, it is integrated and brings together every kind of transport in a single, intuitive mobile app that combines options from different providers.

Rental and leasing companies continue to play a key role in this world of mobility services, whether they are delivering a bespoke solution or something that has been bought off the shelf. New technology is one thing, but fleet management expertise and a dedication to customer service will always have a value – and BVRLA members have years of experience of delivering innovative and cost-effective services to their customers.


Mark Gibson - ‘today’s talent wants to connect and collaborate while they travel’

Mark Gibson is head of marketing and business development at Alphabet (GB)

The integration of physical movement and electronic communication across all modes of transport is driving
a revolution in business travel. Economic, demographic, cultural, environmental and technological trends that are profoundly shaping business strategies also necessitate new approaches to providing employees with mobility.

For businesses, this new approach is all about getting an employee to where they need to be in the most efficient, sustainable way. We call this ‘business mobility’. 

With business mobility, the journey starts with a person, not a car. Cars will still feature significantly, but how they are used and their role as the default means of travel is changing.

Employees themselves – particularly the ‘Millennial’ group – grew up with, and are increasingly on, the internet. 

App-savvy and ready to work wherever there is wi-fi, they do not aspire to car ownership or even having a driving licence to the same extent as previous generations.

While their parents travelled to connect with people, today’s younger talents want to connect and collaborate while they travel.

This change in expectations has enormous ramifications for recruitment, productivity and profitability. 

Fleet management techniques have been the best means of meeting most corporate travel needs for so long now that it takes a while to realise that this may no longer be the case.

Trying to get more of the same out of shrinking budgets is increasingly difficult. It could even be counterproductive when it comes to attracting and retaining the next generation.

As a result, growing numbers of business leaders and organisations believe that the answer lies in business mobility.


Adrian Bewley - ‘Mobility means access to every type of vehicle – for any length of time’

Adrian Bewley is head of business rental UK & Ireland at Enterprise Rent-A-Car

Business mobility is about helping organisations move equipment and goods – and, most importantly, their people – from one point to another in the simplest, safest and most cost-effective manner. That will often involve a blend of public transport, company cars and rental.

Most employees, even if they don’t travel enough to warrant a permanent company vehicle, may need to be mobile on occasion – or require a replacement vehicle if their own is unavailable.

Business mobility involves fulfilling all those needs – such as the car club for an hour, daily rental for a day or a bespoke van or truck for six months.

This is why a lot of businesses are moving from having a fleet policy to a broader transport policy that encapsulates all forms of mobility.

Their employees could need a wide range of solutions. They might need to travel to a meeting down the road, a site visit in another town or require a specialist commercial vehicle for a year-long project.

Access to mobility is vital, but identifying the right solution for each occasion requires in-depth analysis of what customers really need, based on real data.

How do their people travel for work? When, why and how? This is why data is so important.

Fleet managers need to understand the level of mobility their people require and develop a strategy that matches it.

Talking with customers, we’ve found that mobility means they have access to every type of vehicle (or other forms of transport) for any length of time – and that those needs often emerge at very short notice.

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