Mobility Fleet Management & Business Travel
‘Mobility’ is fast becoming the buzzword of choice in the fleet management industry, as companies diversify their product range and offer more ways for their clients to move their people and other resources from place to place.
Equally companies are realising that there are obviously beneficial economies involved with amalgamating functions relating to tracking expenses and helping their staff get out and about serving their customers.
Public and government-funded organisations have been working towards an agenda to provide ‘shared services’ wherever possible for some time now, to lessen the burden on the public purse.
But what exactly does we mean by mobility and how does it relate to business travel? Not to be confused with issues surrounding access for people with disabilities, ‘mobility’ in this context broadly encompasses a wide range of fleet management and car hire along with traditional business and staff travel.
The Rise of the Mobility Manager
According to a recent article in Fleet News Magazine, ‘around one in 20 companies [they surveyed] already employs a dedicated mobility manager, while 22% believe their fleet and travel management departments could merge.’
For many companies, travel and expense management fall under the same banner, so it makes sense to find efficient ways of tracking spend on these and identify potential savings - it all boils down to knowing the holistic cost and value of your staff movements.
Some companies have found that mobility cards are a useful innovation. Once introduced, these allow users to pay for all their movements with one card, similar to the lodge card solutions we offer here at CTM.
Online tools are being developed which accommodate the growing number of services business travellers come to rely on, such as corporate car sharing, car pooling and charging points electric vehicles, and integrate them for easy booking in one system.
To some extent this shift is being driven by changing attitudes and behaviour from a new generation of business travellers who are ultimately more concerned with utility than ownership.
Adrian Bewley of Enterprise Rent-A-Car Hire certainly feels this is the case. Speaking to Fleet News he said, ‘The new 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. Most employees, even if they don’t travel enough to warrant a permanent company vehicle, may need to be mobile on occasion.’
Mobility for business must respond to these evolving needs – whether through car clubs you can join by the hour, daily rental or hiring bespoke specialist vehicles for longer blocks of time.
Looking ahead, your employees may need a wider range of solutions. Whether attending a meeting just down the road, visiting a client in another city or country, or perhaps they require a specialist commercial vehicle for a longer project, the purpose of their travel will determine what mode of transport they choose.
They will need to know what the parametres are set for these options of course and that’s where policy comes in. Concurrently, some businesses are already moving away from their standard fleet policy towards a broader transport policy that takes all of these new options into account. At CTM, our ability to help devise and integrate our clients’ travel policy is a key service and we fully expect the growth of mobility mindset to have an impact on this, meaning that a holistic mobility policy could be the answer for some.
Technology & Demand
Technology is driving the pace of change too of course. With automated vehicles moving from the realm of science fiction to reality in some cities in the near future, and following on from the example set by fast-emerging industry disruptors such as Uber, Lyft, Deliveroo and AirBnB expectations for all options to work seamlessly are only likely to grow.
As Paul Hollick, Chairman of the Institute of Car Fleet Management, points out in this opinion piece, some cities are growing into ‘mega-cities, with travellers embracing faster, more energy efficient, multi-modal and responsive transport options.
You only need to look at the preponderance of sessions about mobility and transport at the recent 2017 Business Travel Show to see the direction this is heading in. Topics at the show’s conference covered everything from the need for a dedicated taxi travel policy to the future of urban mobility according to Uber.
Tech innovations in the logistics sector are already geared towards tracking and improving productivity, using GPS and real time tracking and cloud-based platforms which allow users to manage their travel on the hoof, especially useful in fluid situations.
In essence it’s all about unifying fleet management processes and how that can be harnessed to save time and money, which along with Duty of Care, is of course a cornerstone of what CTM, or indeed any good travel management company, offers their customers.