In the latest instalment of our fleet industry executive interview series we spoke to Adam Dolphin, UK Sales Director at PayByPhone, about the company, the challenges posed by the pandemic and electrification, the increasing popularity of grey fleets and urban mobility…
- Tell us about your company, products and services.
PayByPhone’s aim is simple: simplify our clients’ journeys so they can focus on what matters most. As a wholly-owned subsidiary of Volkswagen Financial Services AG, we are one of the fastest growing mobile payments companies in the world, processing more than £430 million in payments and over five million downloads per year. Available in more than 1,000 cities across the globe, PayByPhone helps millions of consumers easily and safely pay for parking without the hassles of coins, queues or fines. Our smart, intuitive technology is at the centre of our user-first approach, delivered to make everything as simple as possible. Our multi-award-winning environmental initiatives, our Carbon Neutral status since 2019 and our cashless ethos, all contribute to helping us and our clients on the green journey in this interconnected world.
- What have been the biggest challenges the fleet services industry has faced over the past 12 months?
There have been two main challenges: the pandemic and continued move towards electrification. The pandemic has seen many fleets having to downsize because staff were made redundant or furloughed, and it is unclear how many fleets will return to pre-pandemic size. And with the Government pushing to reduce the number of and ultimately to eliminate internal combustion engine cars on the road, fleet managers will have to deal with not only the cost of replacing petrol- and diesel-powered vehicles with electric vehicles but also ensure they purchase the right vehicles for their needs. Charging infrastructure certainly needs to catch up to make these plans feasible – for example, more charging points in public car parks.
- And what have been the biggest opportunities?
Grey fleets are becoming an increasingly popular solution for businesses. So, for PayByPhone, as a close partner to the fleet service industry, it is important we have a parking solution specifically for fleet managers. We have just launched our new fleet management solution, PayByPhone Business, whereby a company’s parking payments come under one easy-to-use, centralised system. It allows grey fleet drivers to switch between personal and business payment cards on the PayByPhone app when paying for parking. The entire premise is to simplify things for fleet managers so they can concentrate on other priorities on their long and complex to-do list, such as the drive toward electrification, managing supply and seeking out the best lease deals. This should help our clients cut down on parking fines too.
- What is the biggest priority for the fleet services industry in 2022?
At the moment, I would say addressing fluctuating – and increasing – fuel costs. This is of course another benefit of moving to an electric or hybrid fleet.
- What are the main trends you are expecting to see in the market in 2022?
I can’t state this strongly enough – electrification, electrification, electrification… Paris plans to enforce a total internal combustion engine sales ban as early as 2030, and the UK will ban sales of gasoline- and diesel-powered cars by 2035. China has an interim target of 20% electric or hybrid cars on the road by 2025. According to the International Energy Agency, the global electric car stock reached 10 million in 2020, a 43% increase over 2019 and this is projected to grow during the next decade. This is a trend that is here to stay.
- What technology is going to have the biggest impact on the market this year?
We really hope its our PayByPhone app and our new fleet management solution PayByPhone Business!
- In 2022 we’ll all be talking about…?
It’s going to be a year of sport! We have the winter Olympics in February and then the Football FIFA World Cup in November and December, not to mention all the sporting events postponed from this year.
- What’s the most surprising thing you’ve learnt about the fleet services sector?
Probably that time spent on admin tasks is one of the biggest productivity challenges fleet managers face. However, some of those admin tasks are linked with the core business activity, and can’t be avoided, so it’s important to help fleet managers be as productive as possible. And that’s exactly where PayByPhone Business can help. Put simply, fleet managers don’t have to spend time reconciling large numbers of parking expense reports each month. That’s beneficial for everyone!
- You go to the bar at the Fleet Services Management Summit – what’s your tipple of choice?
An Old-Fashioned, which is bourbon whiskey, sugar syrup, angostura bitters and orange peel!
- What’s the most exciting thing about your job?
Without question working for a company that is at the forefront of innovation in the mobility industry. As I mentioned earlier, PayByPhone is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Volkswagen Financial Services AG, so we get to see first-hand some of the exciting mobility solutions the company has planned. PayByPhone is vital to VW’s Urban Mobility plans, so we’re expecting all our clients – particularly fleet operators – to benefit from the solutions we plan to deliver in the next few years.
- And what’s the most challenging part of working for PayByPhone?
Trying to convince people that you weren’t personally – or corporately – responsible for giving them their parking fine. Despite my senior position in a global company, my brother still refers to me as a “glorified traffic warden”!
- What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Find your niche. My late grandfather, Ralph, or Skipper as we used to call him, passed these words of wisdom on to me. I didn’t really get it at the time, but now I’ve been in the parking industry for 12 years, I can finally see what he meant. I certainly didn’t choose to go into parking, but I’ve enjoyed every minute of it so far. I think I’ve found my niche, so I’ll be raising my Old Fashioned to Skipper.
- Peaky Blinders or The Crown?
Not even a question! Peaky Blinders all the way!