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Incorporating mobility-related data can help pinpoint savings, reports Chevin

Harnessing ‘big data’ to meet transport needs could help fleets improve overall mobility, not just vehicle usage.

Chevin MD Ashley Sowerby

As more organisations integrate ‘big data’, they may be able to pinpoint savings opportunities that extend well beyond fleet vehicles, says Chevin MD Ashley Sowerby

So says fleet management specialist Chevin, which believes that incorporating mobility-related data into fleet management systems could enable fleets to improve utilisation of their overall workforces.

Managing director Ashley Sowerby explained: “For example, we have seen instances where, rather than just being handed the keys to a company car, employees are being offered a range of different travel options or some kind of overall mobility allowance.

“This is especially relevant for employees who travel largely within cities between urban areas, where there are other transport solutions readily available – from the train through to car clubs.

“In such cases, it could be argued that the employee is being managed in a similar way to a fleet asset.

“We are seeing more businesses move to a position where what we think of as core ‘fleet management software’ is, in fact, being used as a corporate asset management system. In some respects, it could be argued that employees are another element in this equation.

“By stripping back the function of the fleet to these kinds of fundamentals, all transport requirements become a simple matter of mobility. Whether a person is moved by car, train or taxi makes little difference, as does the method by which those modes of transport are utilised.”

Sowerby added that advancing technology was making much of this kind of arrangement much more practical: “Not long ago, booking train tickets or a hire car or using a car club was time consuming and difficult. Now it can all be done from your phone.

“At the same time, the infrastructure to track and manage use has improved. For example, our own software has developed in recent years to be able to manage such flexible corporate travel arrangements.”

However, Sowerby said that company cars would remain a key solution for many.

“We expect to see an increasing number of fleets choose this kind of mobility solution and for it to become a standard part of the fleet management toolkit – but there is a limit to its usefulness.

“The attraction of the company car is that it provides a cost-effective solution that can take an employee door-to-door in, normally, a reasonable journey time. There is no other transport option that matches this balance of cost and flexibility.”

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for nearly 20 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006.