Interview: Shell’s work to optimise fleets with data-driven solutions
Sarah Llewelyn, head of Shell Fleet Solutions UK, speaks to Fleet World about the company’s new telematics solution and how it’s helping fleets to keep one step ahead.
2020 has been an unpredictable period for the UK fleet sector. While some businesses paused operations and experienced reduced demand due to Covid-19 restrictions, others, such as delivery businesses, have worked around the clock to deliver essential goods and respond to growing e-commerce sales. Regardless of experience, a change of pace for all has provided an opportunity for businesses to re-assess their ‘five-year’ plans, raising the question ‘Why wait?’ when it comes to fleets reducing emissions, generating efficiencies, boosting productivity and in turn increasing savings.
Shell Fleet Solutions’ recent move into the fleet telematics space, with the launch of Shell Telematics, is one example of how a data-driven fleet management tool can help fleets harness the power of data-led insights for improved operational efficiencies. To help fleets drive operational efficiency forward during this period of uncertainty, Shell Fleet Solutions is offering up to 20 Shell Telematics devices free of charge per business, including installation, until the end of the year.
The new offering is helping fleets to generate operational efficiencies and keep pace in the ever-evolving landscape of the industry, and Sarah Llewelyn, head of Shell Fleet Solutions UK, outlined further details to Fleet World.
- How will Shell’s new telematics offer streamline operations?
With the rise of remote working, having full visibility of fleet operations is critical for fleet managers, particularly when it comes to the safety of their drivers and security of their fleet. It also helps highlight areas where efficiencies could be generated, bringing down fleet total cost of ownership (TCO). While telematics technology can provide detailed, data-led instant insights into fleet operations, managing and interpreting the information in a way that will make a tangible difference to operations is a huge job!
Our Shell Telematics solution is designed to make managing data more streamlined and intuitive and less time consuming. It leverages both historical Shell Card information and real-time vehicle data from the operating fleet, such as fuel fill mismatch, vehicle performance and idling data, to generate customised reports that identify areas for improvement. It also offers simplified, actionable insights for both the fleet manager and drivers. This helps create lasting and impactful improvements to fleet operations, including enhanced fuel efficiency, improved driver safety and reduced vehicle wear and tear, which in turn can lead to savings and reduced TCO.
- How has Covid-19 affected the need for such a system?
Operational efficiency and improving TCO is an area of constant focus for fleet managers. The effects of the global pandemic have been far-reaching and impacted all of us, whether it’s businesses struggling with continuity or a surge in demand for fleets that have remained on the front-line throughout. I’d say that Covid-19 has brought to light the true impact of even minor inefficiencies, coupled with the increased need for visibility as contact time is reduced.
Shell Telematics can help fleet managers with things like proactively scheduling maintenance, which can reduce the risk of unplanned downtime and route optimisation, which can help to reduce driving hours and enhance vehicle utilisation, in turn potentially improving fuel efficiency. This has the potential to generate significant time and cost savings, which ultimately help to boost the bottom line.
At a time of economic uncertainty, we understand that generating these efficiencies are more important than ever before for businesses, which is why we are offering up to 20 Shell Telematics devices free of charge, per business including installation, until the end of 2020. Customers will only be required to pay the monthly subscription fee and will receive a consultation service to help them select the right package for their business.
- What sort of fleets will benefit from it most? Is it just aimed at larger fleets?
Not at all! Shell Telematics is suitable for all fleet types – from cars to HGVs – and offers flexible plans and pricing options based on the size and requirements of your fleet. We offer tiered packaging for businesses, and work with them to fully understand their needs, so we can tailor a suitable offer with relevant product features. Shell Telematics is also particularly well suited for EV fleets and supports over 80 different vehicle models. In fact, our product is constantly evolving to cater to new models entering the market, as the EV market continues to expand.
We offer EV suitability assessments (EVSA), which leverage Shell Telematics data and consider factors like maximum daily driving distances and CO2 output to recommend which vehicles within a fleet it would be best to upgrade to an EV, from an operational and cost perspective. We understand that the fleet industry is constantly evolving, and we want to offer customers a future-proof solution.
- How is Shell working with operators to support take-up of the new telematics technology and maximise its benefits? And how easy is it to use?
Our aim is to provide customers with an end-to-end solution, rather than products alone, so a consultative approach is the best way to help customers find the package best suited to their needs – this also maximises its benefits. Shell Telematics has been developed with convenience in mind, and given the busy schedules fleet managers face, it’s important they have access to expert support.
Our Shell Telematics webpage hosts a call-back form that connects customers to Shell Telematics Experts for an initial consultation. A dedicated Shell account manager will then work with the customer to find out more about the requirements of their fleet and develop a tailored package based on this. Our Telematics Expert then hosts an onboarding session, covering how the product works, installation (Shell Telematics is an easy-install, plug-in device that fits into the OBD [on-board diagnostics] port), how to use the Shell Telematics portal (available as a desktop app), and answering any questions.
We also offer customers ongoing support post installation, and they can reach out to Shell Customer Excellence Team with any questions and for updates to their package, as and when their fleet’s requirements change.
- What sort of feedback have you had already?
Given that we only announced the launch of our solution in August, we’re delighted that Shell Telematics has already been awarded number one supplier status on the Halton Housing procurement framework. This means that our offering will be available to a large amount of public sector fleets and can help them to boost efficiencies through data-led, actionable insights and measurable goals.
Part of the reason we were awarded preferred supplier status was due to our installation, onboarding, and post-installation support, which is a fantastic achievement for us, as it re-affirms our commitment to be an end-to-end solutions provider. As we continue to build our customer base further, we look forward to sharing more success stories for Shell Telematics, both in the public sector and beyond.
- How will the system keep pace with the fast-changing fleet sector, including the switch to EVs? Is it future-proofed?
As fleets across the industry transition towards alternative fuel-powered vehicles, it’s essential that they are provided with the right support at every stage of their journey. With electrification at the forefront of industry-wide conversations, we wanted to ensure that Shell Telematics could provide fleets with data-driven insights, suitable for before, during and following electrification. Electrification certainly presents substantial long-term benefits, however it can require a significant investment.
As I mentioned earlier, Shell Telematics offers EV suitability assessments, meaning that fleets can understand where an EV would best fit in their fleet, and truly optimise their investments. Customers can also choose a subscription plan, specifically designed for EVs, meaning that their telematics device can be linked to Shell’s EV charging network, to help limit range anxiety during route planning. For fleet managers with mixed fleets, their EV data is available and can be managed through same Shell Telematics portal as their traditional fuel-powered vehicles.
As the EV market grows – with over 500 different models set to be manufactured globally by 2022 and sales expected to reach 54 million by 2040 – solutions tailored to these fleets will become ever more important. A key part of this is ensuring we are keeping pace with the technological advancements at play. As a result, through the Shell Telematics team, we work closely with OEMs to understand the latest models, trends and data, future-proofing our offering.
- What other developments will we see from Shell in the future?
Government regulations and growing environmental consciousness has meant that there has been an increased drive within the industry towards improving efficiency and reducing emissions. Consequently, Shell Fleet Solutions is keen to support businesses through their energy transition needs and help them avoid, reduce or offset their fleet’s emissions. By helping fleets to introduce more efficient driving behaviours, leveraging Telematics can ultimately help businesses to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, so we’re delighted to be able to offer this new solution.
In addition to Shell Telematics, we’ve also launched our EV offering – a suite of e-mobility services designed to support car and light duty fleets, both at home, at the office and on the go. We also recently marked the launch of our Shell EETS (European Electronic Tolling Service) solution, which is designed to help fleets simplify the complexity of cross-border toll payments in Europe, to save time and reduce costs.
As the fleet industry continues to evolve on both a national and global level, and our focus shifts from fleet management alone to encompass a range of mobility solutions, we’re continually working to grow and develop an ecosystem of products and services that provide businesses with end-to-end solutions, designed to optimise their fleet’s performance.
 Subject to availability, while stocks last