The location of the Global Fleet Conference alternates on an annual basis between Europe and the U.S., and this year we were fortunate enough to attend in warm, sunny Miami. Therefore, it was a bit of a surprise to step out of the airport into a very humid ninety-degree atmosphere and then experience hard intermittent rain showers at the same time! Luckily enough for us, the weather held back, the umbrellas were closed back up, and the conference was uninterrupted by any adverse conditions.

The Hilton Miami Downtown did an excellent job organizing and hosting the event. Thanks also to the great team at Bobit Media and of course, LeasePlan’s very own event manager, the inimitable Kayla Bailes, whom I’m sure most who attended pestered at some point over the course of the week with executive and logistical questions.

Over 350 attendees made the trip, some from as far away as Australia. As a relative newcomer to both LeasePlan and the fleet sector, it was great to see so many industry giants coming together to share years of expertise and valuable insights. The wealth of experience and depth of knowledge was evident throughout the entire schedule.


Digitization – strengthening the buyer’s market

Whilst I could only attend a limited number of presentations, seminars and discussions, it was clear to me that the fleet industry was almost entirely aligned on the issues and trends that they’ll face together over the next decade or so.

Everyone referenced the transformation that the industry is experiencing, and the importance of digitization supporting that transformation. There were individual sessions on more focused topics of course, such as: safety, electric vehicles, connected vehicles, and telematics, but all returned to the core issues of data, development, and digitization.

Transformation and digitization aren’t new buzzwords though, and neither are they groundbreaking trends for the industry. The differentiator now is the speed at which these technologies are being adopted, and the corresponding demand from end-users for these technologies. “Consumer centricity” was mentioned plenty over the course of the week, and I think it’s an important point to make that we’ve now seen a shift away from product centricity and moved toward more tactical business-driven models. Customers now more than ever have serious buying control because of the data that is afforded to them and indeed expected from us as providers of these services.

“We’re in the era of the customer journey, and it’s very much about envisaging the digital opportunity through the customer journey lens.”  Matt Dyer, CEO LeasePlan USA

Businesses are beginning to understand that they need to distinguish themselves and compete on the customer journey by providing the ultimate customer experience.


Difficult choices – the consultative approach is still appreciated

Another key takeaway was the difficulty that some businesses are having in identifying the most important digital strategies to focus on. The speed and spread of this stuff is sometimes bewildering, and I can see how easy it could be to get lost in a vast sea of buzzwords. Should we be investing long-term in autonomous vehicle technology for our fleet? Maybe telematics? Or will the EV revolution predominate all of these other issues as environmental sustainability becomes more and more significant? No one had an answer, and I don’t think there is an answer. There is no singular approach or winning strategy. But that’s where fleet management companies come in ­­­‑‑ to provide guidance, advice and continual support.

It was made clear at the conference that the consultative approach is still appreciated, as the global fleet community continues to rely on support from us, making sure that they get the best use from their data and digital, and making sure that they are adopting the right technologies at the right time, for the right customers.

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The fleet manager’s role will evolve

All of these digital disruptions and developments are enabling new products, services and business models, including new approaches to financing and insurance services. These advances are reshaping the future of fleet management and consecutively reshaping the role of the fleet manager. We heard ad infinitum how the role will be heavily influenced by technology, data, and critically, analytics. Therefore, in order to be successful in this new future, fleet managers will need to be the early adopters, the technological guides, the walking-talking FAQ sheets for their clients. The technology will enable them to do these things, but they must also embrace this new direction and understand that the customer will come to not only want data transparency and analysis, but expect it. Fleet managers may even be more accurately defined as fleet controllers, with a keen eye not only for automotive and fleet, but for IT systems and infrastructure.


Welcoming Matt Dyer to the stage

The topic of sustainable mobility is generally dominated by discussions around electric vehicles, charging points, new green initiatives for cities, ride-sharing, etc. However, there’s an alternative definition that is perhaps more important for fleet management companies, and of course, the fleet manager. Sustainable mobility in this context refers to keeping your fleet healthy, relevant, and proactively managed at both a global and national level, and topically, how managing the data around your fleet can help you do this. This was the basis for Matt Dyer’s presentation on Thursday and I must say, I think it landed very well with the audience and provided some probing points for them to discuss. I’d also say that visually, the presentation was the best I’d seen on screen all week, but then again, I would say that… I made it.


Until next time!

 

About the author

Ollie Lindrup is a digital content strategist at LeasePlan USA, a global leader in #fleetmanagement services. He is responsible for developing and executing an integrated marketing and communications program, promoting awareness of LeasePlan USA and increasing engagement with the brand online and in the media. And if you’re reading this, he must be doing something right.

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A couple of months ago, we wrapped a truck with our logo­. There are countless reasons to do this, but my colleague, Mark Willard, and I wrapped this truck (his company vehicle) to drive from Atlanta to Louisville for NAFA I&E 2019 displaying it outside the beautiful Kentucky Derby Museum during a dinner we hosted.

NAFA I&E was from April 15-17, and because of the 430-mile trip and following our company’s speeding standards (allegedly), we drove up a few days prior. During the drive and ‒ throughout the week ‒ one major thing I noticed was the number of people who took note of the wrapped truck.

It’s commonly mentioned that you (or your business) have only seven seconds to make an impression.

Count to seven: one one-thousand, two one-thousand, three one-thousand, four one-thousand, five one-thousand, six one-thousand, seven one-thousand. That’s all the time you have to grab someone’s attention. Elevator pitches take longer than that ‒ and you must get through the door in the first place.

Outside of the fleet and automotive industry, most people have never heard of LeasePlan ‒ I know I hadn’t. While driving, the truck turned heads. People looked at the truck, then immediately started typing on their phones. We gained impressions that we never would have otherwise, simply by overlaying our logo on a truck.

During our trip to Louisville, we parked on the street in downtown Chattanooga for lunch, and the truck was in view while we ate, seeing many people stop to take a second glance. Our intention was never to create leads or awareness with the wrap, only to add some flare and flashiness for an event. However, it amazed me that a simple wrap could do so much.

Since the trip, I started doing a bit of cursory research. I won’t overload you with statistics (there are so many out there), but one major thing stood out: the cost per thousand impressions was drastically lower from a wrap than any other source. It makes sense ‒ typically a fleet vehicle spends most of its time driving. With a wrap, the vehicle is essentially a moving billboard and your business receives impressions while your drivers go about their daily business, even when it’s not moving. Because of immediate data access, people can do their own research immediately and understand whether the company is a good fit for their needs. With contact info available, access is just a fingertip away.

One other thing that became apparent to me­—whenever I drove the truck, I had to be significantly more aware of my own behavior. All driving behavior I exhibited would be a direct reflection of LeasePlan. The whole experience of driving the wrapped car was eye opening for me. I also thought it was going to be more expensive than it turned out to be, so if the goal is to generate leads, the ROI is self-evident.

I’ll finish off by saying that Mark is still driving the truck wrapped, and his driving behavior has never been better! The truck still turns heads driven or parked, and is a conversation starter frequently as we grab lunch. I’ve stopped counting how many times people have asked us, “What’s LeasePlan? What do you do?”.

 

About the author

Frank Zhang serves as a product manager for LeasePlan USA. In this role, he focuses on delivering a superb user experience with intuitive, customer-centric and data-driven solutions. Frank has focused his career in the fleet and software industries, always focused on bringing value through client success. He served in the U. S. Army for six years and earned a bachelor’s degree in computer science from the University of Georgia.

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The spread of the subscription economy

“There’s no reason you should have to buy anything… everything we purchase — from transportation, entertainment to groceries — will soon come with a monthly plan”, said Zuora’s CEO Tien Tzuo last year.

Zuora is one of many cloud-based companies that have targeted and monetized the subscription economy as a product in itself, helping companies transition their offerings into the full-length subscription model. Stanford Business reported that the subscription market has been growing at a stellar rate of 100% a year, generating billions of dollars in value to these market players.

Many of us have shifted to an experience-driven buying pattern, all but confirming that Everything-as-a-Service (EaaS, or Xaas) is well on its way to becoming the de-facto marketing strategy – no matter the industry or sector. It seems hard to believe that we own fewer things than we used to. We have been possession junkies for generations, but we have seen an ageless transformation in purchasing behavior, as consumers shift their preferences from buying products and services to buying experiences.

Consumers of all ages are hungry for subscription box services. Think of planned diets, or maybe something fun and educational to do with your kids on a rainy day. “It seems there is very little we cannot have delivered to our doors in a surprise-like box, as the industry has ballooned well beyond clothing and razors to delivering everything from dog treats to toys, plants, and even crystals, directly to consumers,” said Forbes in a related piece. According to a Fast Company feature, there were 3,500 subscription box services as of October of last year, an increase of 40% from the year before.

Recurring revenue-based business models are not novel, nor are they fresh-thinking, to be honest. This marketing strategy has indeed exploded in recent years because traditional barriers to entry are vanishing due to the proliferation of cloud-enabled platforms, where the initial capital investments are nearly absent, and new and easy software program languages make disrupting somewhat easy and fun. The subscription economy checkmated us all into making quicker decisions, taking advantage of the buy now mentality without any strings attached.

 

Automotive – an easy target for disruptors

The opportunity consumers have nowadays to try a service without having to commit to a long-term contract has inspired many companies to explore new digital-first subscription model services. We see this right here in a very pronounced way in the automotive and fleet management industries too. With the ever-growing need to reshape how people get around in densely populated cities, people mobility solutions have taken off. Guess what – that also came in a form called Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) because that’s how people prefer to buy and exchange services now, on a utility model.

At its core, MaaS relies on digital platforms that can seamlessly integrate end-to-end trip planning, booking, ticketing, and mobile payment services across all modes of transportation, public or private. Such flexibility marks the expectation for the way services will be delivered in the future. And all of that, on a pay-as-you-go plate.

My experience in automotive and fleet tells me that our industry is about to forever change because of these consumer behavioral shifts. Selling, distributing, running and assigning assets and vehicles, and caring for them will be revolutionized in the next few years because of the advent of subscription services and the technology ubiquity that follows it.

An incredible example of this disruptive digital integration hails from Finland. Helsinki’s famous MaaS app, Whim, allows commuters to plan, subscribe, and pay for trips across multiple transportation modes through a single front-end experience. The app launched a couple of years ago, has been victorious in nudging people away from driving their personal vehicles. The volume is increasing with 60 thousand users per month and more than 1.8 million trips as of last October.

Whim’s success stems from a close partnership between government agencies and the private sector. The service is a result of pure design thinking, creating driver innovation through scalable experimentation. By putting city dwellers at the center of the design, and building a flexible digital engagement platform, where data and analytics can thrive, Helsinki has become an example of what can be done for mobility. Uber and Lyft, and many other contenders, like Waymo and Zoox, have shown us the consumer, that we have options: you can buy, or you can rent services for the time you need it for.

 

What’s your future value?

Self-driving cars are coming around the corner (literally), and with them, zero-emissions vehicles which will carry with them a whole new set of challenges. The consequence of all these developments has a direct impact on the world of fleet management, so we (who care for this industry) need to start thinking about what’s next. How do we add and retain value? Will our role change when everything around us seems to be changing?

Imagine a not so distant future where a self-driving car returns from its daily or nightly work right back to its recharging dock, where it will need to be reconditioned for its next shift. Think about filling that car battery with some ions, cleaning the vehicle, thorough inspection, small repairs and maintenance, software updates, etc. Who’s going to do that? And whoever does it, how will the car pay for it?

As we move into a different world, our business models will change too. We need to start thinking about becoming enablers of this new environment by acquiring and developing core competencies such as digital-first design, multi-brand procurement, financing and subscription expertise, as well as holistic service provider management. As the tectonic buying behavioral plates shift all around us to a “Cancel Anytime” frame of mind, how can a company create sustainable customer loyalty by setting them free and expecting them to stay at the same time? Here are three ways to accomplish that:

 

1. Always transform – become a digital services integrator.
In the world we live in, B2C or B2B companies have a clear shot at connecting supply and demand by performing the role of a digital services integrator. Identifying the minimum viable product (MVP) quickly to experiment new capabilities is possible because of the numerous technology accelerators. Building flexible platforms of engagement with internal systems, customers, analytics tools, IoT devices, and external parties, like partners through APIs, is critical to ensure a future digital business has the legs needed to sustain the information flow.

2. Be in constant design mode. And experiment.
Design thinking offers a framework for solving user problems. Design thinking helps build a deep understanding of the consumer of your services for whom you’re designing the products or services. From it, you develop empathy with the target user base for what they need, feel, and want. With this core discipline in house, you can tackle ill-defined problems reframing them with a human-centric mindset. Empathize, define, ideate, prototype and test are phases of this approach, but doing them in an Agile format gets you to launch solutions quickly without spending unnecessary cash before you get validated learnings from your user base.

3. Be ready to pivot or persevere. Always-on listening.
In the spirit of experimentation, subscriptions models must be built on cloud-based platforms that can allow a company opportunities to either persevere or pivot fast – this is the essence of being an entrepreneur in business. Every idea can eventually face a significant challenge: deciding when to pivot and when to persevere. Flexing a product or service has to be based on the ability to listen to customer feedback, from which a company can make financially wise decisions. When dealing with customers who can simply walk away at any moment, active listening skills will make or break your company. The right path should avoid kitting it out your product with tech, but instead, with the user experience, you want to deliver. Product performance should be a function of adoption, not how many features it’s got.

So, before you Netflix the hell out of your business, make sure you understand how people want to consume your services and then create the conduits for change through your core competencies and infrastructure. Make sure you have the flexibility you need to continue your path or change in an instant. We are experiencing change at an unprecedented exponential rate, opening windows of opportunity for business modeling pragmatism. Step back, and genuinely re-evaluate what the future of your business is. Because if you don’t, someone else will.

 

Felipe SmolkaAbout the author:
Felipe Smolka is the Executive VP of Transformation for LeasePlan USA, a global leader in #fleetmanagement services. He’s an Electrical Engineer holding an MBA degree from Emory Goizueta Business School and Digital Marketing at Wharton. Felipe is a #connectedvehicles expert with a strong passion for solving problems with great #ux and #dataanalytics.

 

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I love a good evidence-based conversation. I savor words like substantiation, data, relevance, and most importantly – proof. Sometimes it can be challenging to get the information you want, but in most cases, there’s plenty of hard and easy facts out there that helps one to make better decisions. Well, that’s my basis for this article today, and I hope you find it valuable.

 

At the dinner table

A few days ago, I found myself in a lively debate about climate change with some of my family members: brother, father, and brother-in-law at the dinner table. For unexpected reasons, these three highly educated folks were quite hesitant about the whole concept around climate change. As I shared more and more data, stats and information with them, I realized one thing surprisingly quickly in that most people will only share an interest on things they can have an immediate impact on. And for climate change… well, that’s not a low hanging fruit to humankind.

My family’s initial lack of interest on climate change, married with information scarcity out there that can help people understand the core of the problem, makes the climate change “hoax” belief a more natural mental path for many. Denial of man-made climate change also stems from people’s own climate experiences too. Those who have felt a genuinely cold winter recently might find it hard to believe earth’s temperature is increasing little by little. But, why would they neglect the data points I shared with them? How could somebody with their background overlook such evident correlations? And that was my second revelation – we don’t talk about it enough.

 

Click the infographic to open a downloadable full-size version.

Starting the conversation

This past April, at NAFA 2019, I gave a talk with John Ciarlone (one of our product leaders at LeasePlan USA) on Carbon Footprint called “Eliminating Big Foot.” Like at my family dinner, I had started that presentation by bringing up that it wasn’t until the Apollo 8 mission that we had a chance to see earth from orbit and relate with our planet in ways never possible before. The Earthrise picture is a photograph of earth taken from lunar orbit by astronaut William Anders on December 24, 1968. Some renowned photographers called it “the most influential environmental photograph ever taken”, and not long after those incredible pictures were shared, more than 20 million people were inspired to take to the streets in peaceful protest for the first Earth Day, on April 22, 1970.

Professor Barry Commoner, labeled by Time magazine as the “Paul Revere of ecology”, remarked that “this planet is threatened with destruction and we, who live in it, with death.” He called it:

“a crisis of survival.”

Earth Day was a dedicated day to enlisting citizens nationwide in a common cause of saving life from the harmful byproducts humankind had created. People, mostly young students, were fed up.

 

Our planet is warming up

Climate change is a significant issue facing the world. Earth’s temperature is rising, and that’s a fact. But even as we approach Earth Day’s semicentennial celebration, recent surveys indicate that two-thirds of Americans never talk about climate change at all, and even more surprising is that over three-quarters never see or hear the media talk about it either. With some attention, we can observe the planet getting warmer. We experience more torrential precipitations, heat waves, stronger hurricanes, and sunny day flooding. According to NASA, 2018 was the fourth warmest year in a continued warming trend. Global temperatures in 2018 were 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than the 1951 to 1980 mean.

You and I know people who have expressed concerns that climate change is a farce, somewhat of a fib because our planet has its own God-given natural evolution cycle.Climate change, in its essence, calls out variations in the planet’s temperature and weather conditions experienced by people all over the globe.

As I talked to my family, I exposed to them that nearly all publishing climate scientists (97–98%) support the consensus on man-made (anthropogenic) climate change. The number to watch is the Carbon Dioxide (CO2) levels in the atmosphere, which alongside other gases like water vapor, methane, nitrous oxide, and ozone, forms the leading group of greenhouse gases. Being the most notable of them, CO2 is produced by natural processes and everyday human activities, especially the burning of fossil fuels. We need earth’s atmosphere to be in balance to avoid a warming planet because those gases have the damaging ability to trap the energy from the sun consequently overheating our planet. A hotter world means a much harder life for us in the long run, meaning that future generations will hurt badly.

On Apr 25th, 2019, CO2 levels reached 413.68ppm (parts per million) in the atmosphere, which is 30% higher than 50 years ago on a trend that looks like a massive hockey-stick. Many agencies collect this sort of data – NASA being one of them. The data is plotted on something called a Keeling Curve, using a combination of data derived from the sample and analysis of gas contained from air examined at Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii and paired with ice-core data from Antarctica. In these ice-cores, there are ancient air bubbles confined in the ice that has allowed NASA to observe what earth’s atmosphere was like a long time ago. The scientific community found a spot in Antarctica where the ice is thick enough to reveal 1.5 million years of climatic history. It will take another three years to drill down that far – a single meter-long piece could contain 10,000 years of climate history if selected carefully.

Breaking the 400ppm CO2 threshold, up from around 280ppm before the industrial revolution, represents a 42.8% increase in emissions. The problem with the rapid rise in CO2 emissions is the established correlation to earth’s rising temperature. Statistical significance, a fundamental concept in applied science, is the likelihood that a relationship between two or more variables is caused by something other than chance, and this is what climate change science is based on. According to ongoing temperature analysis conducted by scientists at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), the average global temperature on earth has increased by about 1.4°F since 1880. Two-thirds of this warming has occurred since 1975, at a rate of roughly 0.27-0.36°F per decade.

 

Skeptical about skepticism

My brother asked: “We have added 42% more CO2 in the atmosphere, but that doesn’t mean the temperature will go up by 42% too, right?”. No, obviously, but a lack of education and in turn understanding leads many to skepticism, thus leading many to the belief that climate change is a hoax. Doubling the amount of CO2 does not double the greenhouse effect. The way the climate reacts is complex, and it is difficult to separate the effects of natural changes from man-made ones over short periods of time, as per skepticalscience.com.

The research shows that as the amount of man-made CO2 goes up, temperatures do not rise at the same rate. The last report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) described the likely temperature variation range as between 3.6°F to 7.2°F, for double the amount of CO2 compared to pre-industrial levels, which we have regrettably accomplished.

Climate skepticism varies broadly. “Climate’s changed before”. Climate reacts to whatever forces it to change at the time. From the vastly available research, we can assume humans are now the dominant force. Or: “it’s the sun!”. Temperature and Sun radiance are going in the opposite direction. Data tells us that over the last 35 years the sun has shown a cooling trend. “If the sun’s energy is decreasing while the earth is warming, then the sun can’t be the main control of the temperature.”

The myth list goes on and on with surprising ideas about what is right and wrong, but one suspicious statement often catches my attention: nonbelievers will claim “climate models are unreliable”. Because of my background in data analytics and the work I do, models are a big deal to me. Having a precise forecast of how earth’s temperature and climate might look some 100 years from now has long presented a challenge to the scientific community. However, with an ever-more-refined understanding of the climate system around the globe, improved tools, and rapidly improving computing power are all leading to more reliable forecasting systems.

Scientists have been making projections of future global warming figures using climate models of increasing complexity for the past four decades. Carbon Brief has collected prominent climate model projections since the year 1973 to see how well these models project both past and future global temperatures, as shown in the animated graph below. The graph curves are similar in nature confirming the projected rise in earth’s temperature.

Projected warming from Broecker 1975 (thick black line) compared to observational temperature records from NASA, NOAA, HadCRUT, Cowtan and Way, and Berkeley Earth (thin colored lines) from 1970 to 2020. Baseline period of 1970-1990. Chart by Carbon Brief using Highcharts.

Talk about it – let’s break the vicious cycle

So, there’s an incredible amount of data out there about climate change, but what do we need to do to confront this problem? Katharine Hayhoe gives this inspiring TED talk about breaking the vicious cycle of not talking about climate change. She says people don’t need to be scientists to talk about this subject – “how I am supposed to talk about cloud parametrization in climate models or radiative forcing?”. Katharine goes on to say we don’t need to be talking about science that much more because we have been promoting the topic for over 150 years. It was in the late 1850s that climate scientists first discovered that digging up and burning coal and oil was producing heat-trapping gases that are wrapping an extra blanket around the planet – “that’s how long we’ve known.”

As I experienced at the dinner table a few days ago, merely talking about the issue of climate change allowed my family to voice their concerns and disbelief, and I’m happy to report that since then they each seem to have become more curious and interested in the subject. But I learned that it takes time (and lots of talking) to get people moved across the line of total doubt and mistrust to igniting their curiosity. Hopefully one day they see the climate problems that the rest of us see.

Now… what does climate change have to do with the world of #Fleet and #Automotive, and what can we do about it? Stay tuned for follow-ups to this article coming soon. If you’re interested in getting more information on our #NAFA2019 session called “Eliminating Big Foot” – which brings to light details on how fleets of all shapes and sizes can attack the CO2 emissions challenge – please click here.

 

About the author

As executive vice president of transformation at LeasePlan USA, Smolka is leading the strategy to drive modernization and innovation across the U.S. subsidiary and launch the company further into its journey to deliver what’s next for fleet, mobility and connected vehicles. Smolka’s career has consistently revolved around digital transformation, developing cutting-edge technologies and leveraging the power of big data to create and deliver value. With a strong history of successes, Smolka is a proven leader poised to transform the fleet industry. Smolka has an MBA from Emory Goizueta Business School.

 

 

*LeasePlan is committed to ensuring we handle customer, business partner and employee data to a high and compliant standard. We were one of the first companies to introduce a set of binding privacy rules across the whole of our organization, and we have established a dedicated Privacy Office to make sure those rules are upheld. But this does not make us complacent. As technology develops and our use of data changes, LeasePlan is continuously working to improve our data protection policies, processes and systems.

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Who is my fleet manager? And can I have a shot of espresso, please?

Imagine you’re at a fleet conference and looking for that morning cup of joe to tide you over until the lunch break. You head over to the LeasePlan coffee lounge only to see a line of people who must have left the last session early to get a good position. It’s going to be a long wait for a cup of coffee.

But you’re a fleet manager, and as a fleet manager, you get to skip the line and order that espresso from … an iPhone? That’s right, at this year’s NAFA Institute and Expo in Louisville, KY, many attendees met our newest team member and driver virtual assistant, Elle, for the first time.

Elle is designed to support fleet drivers with client-specific policy and frequently asked questions. Having been a part of Elle’s early development, I can attest that we have always wanted her to do special things to make our clients’ lives easier. Never did I imagine that she’d be streamlining break times at NAFA by sending coffee orders direct to the barista station!

This goes to show just how flexible Elle can be. Her technology is designed for an easy user experience, helping drivers report an accident, or discover how to improve their driving behavior. With a little training, she can also answer client-specific policy information, like “who’s allowed to drive my company car?”…Or… “who is my fleet manager?”

Give her a little more direction, and this chatbot is whipping up white chocolate mochas, iced cappuccinos and double espressos with almond milk (my personal favorite). And if that doesn’t impress you much, then consider that Elle sent all the coffee order data direct to an interactive dashboard, where attendees could view real-time stats from the data she collected.

While the dashboard displayed the most popular coffee orders at NAFA, and what time of day was most popular, it’s merely a glimpse into the innovative data visualization our clients can access at any time to find dips and spikes in fleet activity, as well as trends and anomalies in their vehicles’ operations. Imagine the kind of information you can glean from the transactional data when it’s presented to you in ways you can visualize. It’s simply amazing what the data visualization team is brewing up these days.

Fun facts: Elle took over 140 coffee orders and most of the orders were placed on Tuesday afternoon between 1:30 pm and 2:30 pm. The most popular beverage? You guessed it…lattes.

While Elle’s coffee ordering was only for a limited time, she is bound to give an extra jolt to the fleet industry as more companies are introduced to her bold flavor! Such a creative and fun way to introduce an innovative, voice-activated virtual assistant to the market. Interested in a demo? Chat with us!

 

How many recalls are hiding in your fleet?

Elle and her flexible technology capabilities weren’t the only star of the show. Our new Recall Management solution also stirred up quite the buzz. When research tells us 25% of vehicles in the average fleet have open safety-related recalls, it is time for fleets to do something about it. Just imagine what kind of recalls could be lurking in yours?

Conversations during NAFA indicated fleet managers are looking for ways to proactively tackle this cumbersome process of identifying recalls, notifying drivers and overseeing repairs. It was great to hear from the fleet community how they would like us to help them close this loop with our technology. This new recall solution addresses the problem of hidden recalls with multi-tiered communications with drivers to ensure repairs are completed.

If you would like to learn your open recall rate, contact us today for an evaluation of your fleet.

 

Thought leadership at its finest

Last but certainly not least, the LeasePlan experience spilled well beyond the walls of the coffee lounge and into the educational sessions.

Matt Dyer made his first appearance on stage at NAFA as president and CEO of LeasePlan USA during the executive panel speaking to the hot topics close to the hearts of fleet managers. “The game has changed significantly,” Dyer said as he addressed the growing expectations from drivers as they begin to require more instantaneous service. He went on to discuss new technologies that are contributing to a higher service level, such as mobile apps, virtual assistants and other tech that is becoming part of the drivers’ day to day world. These tools are supporting drivers “so they’re making the right choices within their fleet policy,” Dyer said. 

In another session, Becky Langmandel, LeasePlan’s vice president of analytics, consulting & transformation, also led a session entitled, “Employee Burn-Out: Why Too Much Work Costs Big $$$”. Here, she addressed the impact overwork can have on safety and productivity, providing tips to fleets on how they can help drivers reduce stress, increase roadway safety and reduce incident costs. Did you know? A fleet of 1,000 vehicles with a 20% incident rate could spend $500,000 to $4.8 million a year. Safety is a big topic on the minds of many fleets – and something to stay on top of to save costs, and more importantly, the lives of your employees.

Felipe Smolka, LeasePlan’s executive vice president of transformation, and John Ciarlone, director of product development, also shared their expertise in a session entitled “Eliminating Bigfoot: The Path to Reducing Your Carbon Footprint.” They presented solutions on how organizations can reduce their carbon footprint – from incorporating fuel cards, using the right vehicle for the job, leveraging pool driver management solutions for low-mileage drivers and stepping out of the “petroleum paradigm” to test electric vehicles for various job functions.

For those that have even more aggressive sustainable targets, Felipe introduced innovative ways to get your fleet carbon neutral now – through tree planting initiatives, such as our partnership with Land Life, where carbon offsetting is available by way of tree planting. It made me proud to learn that LeasePlan has already planted 45,000 trees as part of this initiative. It was clear from audience engagement during and after the session that sustainability is an increasingly visible topic in our sector and that the move to alternative fuels and electric vehicles is happening ever more rapidly. TO VIEW THE PRESENTATION, CLICK HERE.

 

And…That’s a wrap

It’s crazy to think I have been to nearly all of the last 14 NAFA events. Over the years, I have seen LeasePlan’s presence and capabilities grow bigger and better than the time before. Going on my 15th year with the company, I can certainly say there is a renewed energy, along with a focus on innovation and developing new solutions with the customer in mind. And this was even more clear during this year’s events.

Hope to see you next year!

 

About the author

Alison Kirkland is the marketing director at LeasePlan USA. She is responsible for strategic planning and leading the team’s execution of marketing efforts. From product messaging and campaigns to events, digital marketing and PR. Ali is passionate about her work, and after 14 years with the company, she is excited about the transformation to the new LeasePlan. As a fleet driver herself, she enjoys working within her own organization to improve the client experience. You may even see her blog now and then about her life as a fleet driver. Please comment, like and share!

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