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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