In the latest instalment of our fleet management executive interview series, we spoke to Beverley Wise, Sales Director UK & Ireland at Webfleet Solutions, about the company, the ongoing impact of COVID-19 on the industry, rising expectations on standards of service and the importance of telematics…
Tell us about your company, products and services.
Webfleet Solutions, now part of Bridgestone, is one of the world’s leading providers of telematics solutions for fleet management, vehicle telematics and connected vehicle services.
Our WEBFLEET platform gives fleet operators everything they need to reduce costs and boost productivity, while enhancing customer service and improving the safety of their drivers.
We were one of the first telematics providers to foresee the importance of connectivity and have invested heavily in developing ways to integrate our hardware and software with specialist providers to offer the most reliable and easy-to-use vehicle hub solution on the market.
Alongside the core telematics functionality of mileage recording and driver behaviour monitoring, WEBFLEET also integrates seamlessly with additional hardware and software solutions, such as cameras, vehicle check and signature capture tools and digital forms. This allows you to run everything from one easy-to-use interface.
The cloud-based software system supports seamless communication with mobile workforces and helps streamline workflow management, leading to happier customers and safer, more productive drivers.
What have been the biggest challenges and opportunities the Fleet Services industry has faced over the past 12 months?
The Covid-19 pandemic has proved a real test of business flexibility and resilience, with unprecedented times calling for unprecedented approaches to how we work. There has been a need for everyone to work together for the greater good.
Fleet service providers have had to work harder than ever to help businesses generate bottom line savings in the wake of the financial pressures many have faced. Telematics has had an important role to play here, helping support remote working, streamline processes and optimise vehicle utilisation.
Fleet managers are now looking to the future with different mind-sets to the ones they had before the pandemic struck. Economic uncertainty continues to make flexibility and agility vital business requirements, with digital solutions acting as an important enabler. Connected fleets can ultimately work faster, more efficiently and with greater dexterity.
All the while, collective efforts to decarbonise transport are accelerating. Fleet service providers must continue to innovate and create new opportunities for companies to make the right decisions at the right time – and build that all-important competitive advantage.
What are the main trends you are expecting to see in the market over the coming months?
As the world returns to normal, we can expect fleet businesses to demand higher levels of automation around their core processes.
Expectations for improved standards of service will continue to rise, while the road to zero and safer transport is putting a greater onus on organisations to change how they operate.
In response, we can expect to see tech innovation continuing to transform business mobility.
Telematics data will become increasingly pivotal for businesses embarking on their EV journey, for example, artificial intelligence (AI) is set to play a greater role in helping inform fleet data, while Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) will continue to gain traction with this data providing the cost and behaviour insights needed to optimise journey planning.
What technologies will have the biggest impact on the market over the next 12 months?
With the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans being banned from 2030, and clean air zones being rolled out, businesses must plan their transition to EVs sooner rather than later.
Software solutions that can help fleet business shape their electric vehicle (EV) strategies, supporting both EV adoption and for their ongoing management, will be vital.
Current innovations include planning reports to identify the fossil fuel vehicles that could be replaced with EV alternatives, EV health data that enables pre-emptive maintenance and charger connection reports that help ensure charging occurs when tariffs are most favourable, and just before vehicles are needed for operation.
The interconnectivity of technology will also continue having a huge impact. Integrations between fleet management software, office suites and mobile hardware may not be new, but the opportunities for these to underpin new ways of working for management teams in the post-pandemic environment have never been more important.
In 2022 we’ll all be talking about…?
It’s very difficult to predict, as the world is changing at a phenomenal rate, but my best guess would be the continued innovation around EVs and data aggregation from OEMs.
What’s the most surprising thing you’ve learnt about the Fleet Services sector?
Its resilience and the ability to absorb change – and never more so than in the last 18 months.
You go to the bar at the Fleet Services Management Summit – what’s your tipple of choice?
Has to be New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, Churton preferably.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Listen, listen and listen again.
Peaky Blinders or The Crown?
Now that is a difficult one, but I think Peaky Blinders just edges it – gritty, well produced and with the added advantage of Cillian Murphy!