Making it work for your company

Mobility is rapidly changing. As such, fleet & mobility management has become increasingly complex, especially when it crosses borders. The coronavirus crisis has only accelerated this challenge International fleet & mobility management has traditionally been about consolidating local fleets and reducing costs. While that’s still the case, it’s not the whole story. We gained insights in the topic with our experts Maarten Weijenberg, Thor Konings and Mark Taylor, International Account Directors for Athlon International.

    What are the challenges in international fleet & mobility management?

    “Traditionally it has been about consolidating local fleets and reducing costs.” says Maarten. “Today, international fleet management also involves answering strategic questions on topics ranging from new mobility concepts to sustainability and employee benefits. At the same time, international fleet managers need to address complex issues at a local level.”  

    “Absolutely”, Mark continues. “An international fleet manager, with the support of the local organization, is mostly responsible for developing and executing a future-proof mobility strategy. Of course, the fleet manager also has the difficult job of trying to balance all the demands of effectively managing the current fleet and meeting stakeholder expectations in the future.”

    How does international fleet management differ from local fleet management?

    “They strengthen one another”, Thor explains. “Today, international fleet management involves putting necessary policies and controls into place, all while adopting the overall future vision and strategy. Local fleet management is vital to the successful development and execution of the overall international mobility strategy. Besides managing day-to-day operations, local fleet managers have much-needed local knowledge. It’s absolutely essential for enriching and developing an international strategy. Once the international strategy has been finalized, the local knowledge is needed for adopting it to the local situation.  In most cases local fleet management is subject to the pressures and demands of the local entity, whereas the international approach, at company level, focuses on the wider objectives for the business.”

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    What are the most common hurdles for international customers?

    "The hurdles we come across most frequently are: firstly unsuccessful implementation of the mobility strategy. With the result that the goals are not reached, secondly differences between countries in terms of legislation, market maturity, size, etc., thirdly a conflict of interest in the local and international levels of the organization and finally an inadequate mandate that makes it impossible to implement or control every country in its scope", Maarten explains.

    Thor, what advice would you give customers to overcome these hurdles?

    "Always understand what you’re buying. International RFPs often show that not all fleet managers have a full understanding of mobility/leasing. Plus make sure you have the support and involvement of the largest countries when you set your strategy or implement initiatives. This makes the implementation process smoother and increases your chances of success.  It’s also very valuable to involve your (preferred) suppliers – it opens the door to co-creatorship. This is important because you want to know your ideas are able to be delivered in real life. Continue to check that you stay aligned with the overall company strategy. It will make execution easier. Ideally, you’ll be backed-up with sponsorship from senior management. Make sure you see eye to eye on who receives tangible benefits. This will avoid conflict of (financial) interests between local and international levels of the organization. My last advise would be to apply the 80/20 rule. If you have a lot of countries in your scope, focus on your largest countries, acknowledging that without a full mandate, you may not reach every area of your business", Thor adds.

    What are current trends in international fleet management?

    "Obviously, the COVID-19 and all its implications continues to have a significant impact on the agenda for all international customers’, says Mark. ‘Other topics include: Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) control and efficiency and savings, sustainability of course and electrification of a fleet. But also employee welfare and safety and broader mobility are all topics organizations are focusing on currently."

    What are future trends in international fleet management?

    "With countries embracing developments at different rates, many of the current trends will remain top-of-mind over the coming years.’, Maarten continues.  ‘Examples include the introduction of affordable electric vehicles and (new) incentives making it possible for organizations to electrify their fleet in more and more countries. However, with new mobility concepts being introduced almost every day, fleet managers also need to rethink their strategy much more quickly than they had to before.  Imagine the impact of autonomous driving on our business. It’s also important to envision the potential long-term effects of a global crisis that demands more flexibility from an international fleet. Any successful mobility strategy will depend on the agility of your organization."

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    What is your ultimate tip for international customers?

    "Communicate and engage. As mentioned before, with the rate of change increasing, more agility is going to be demanded from all organizations. The key is to stay close to your stakeholders and suppliers; you’ll gain a deep understanding of what mobility challenges we (will) face and, more importantly, what solutions are out there or need to be developed", Thor concludes.

    Why should customers choose Athlon for their International Fleet Management?

    “That’s simple, because we are here to guide them”, says Mark proudly. “In the words of our customers: our people and our approach sets us apart from the competition. It’s what I like to call the Athlon DNA. Athlon provides you with more than seamless international car leasing. We are also award-winners for our innovative mobility solutions. When you team up with Athlon, you gain access to a partner that provides a flexible approach, great people to work with and solutions for your current and future fleet and mobility challenges. We will get you there. From A to Z.”

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