– By Caroline Falls –
In Europe at the start of 2020, the biggest buzz word in fleet circles was mobility. “Transformation from Fleet to Mobility Management,” was the title of the keynote address at an international fleet meeting scheduled to take place at the Geneva International Motor Show.
The show was cancelled due to the advent of the coronavirus, but Fleet Auto News got hold of the paper prepared for the event, which outlines how one major global company made the journey.
Philips, the Dutch conglomerate, known around the world for energy and health equipment and services, has a global fleet of some 12,000 vehicles. Pim de Weerd, manager of mobility, has driven the transformation from fleet to mobility management at Philips.
In a nutshell, de Weerd, said his aim was to provide mobility solutions for various employee needs that are sustainable and cost effective. The transformation involves enabling employees to travel using a variety of modes — car, sharing, public transport, bike, ride hailing etcetera.
The move to using a wider variety of transport options rather than company-owned vehicles, reflects Philips’ commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Philips’ CEO Frans van Houten, has said the company aligns with the UN goals because of benefits to society, and because it believes they are a driver for economic growth.
Why transform from fleet to mobility management? De Weerd’s key points in answer to this question were: the workforce of the future has different needs; there are options for more sustainable business travel using zero emission transport modes; you can drive innovation with new mobility solutions; you can simplify travel administration; and, you can reduce the total cost of mobility.
How to do it has been a learning curve for de Weerd and that’s why it’s great that he is willing to share his lessons.
De Weerd, who has been with Philips since 2007, said his initial enthusiasm for transforming the organisation’s management of its ground transport and travel had him espousing the benefits and virtues of changing habits — say getting an executive to ride in a train rather than a plane — without properly listening to the end users, or stakeholders in the organisation.
“The key priority in making the transition from fleet to mobility management is stakeholder management—getting all stakeholders aligned on the common objectives,” de Weerd told an Uber-hosted event in Amsterdam in February. “Do not sell it as a solution to your internal stakeholders. First, listen to their concerns and priorities. When I started I was very focused on my pitch for moving towards mobility management. That did not work. You have to invest significant time in the relationships with your key stakeholders to become their trusted advisor.”
De Weerd said apart from getting stakeholders on board by listening to their concerns and finding a solution that serves common goals, one needs to team up with internal and external organisations to sponsor projects and run pilot programs.
After surveying all employees in The Netherlands, where Philips is based, five mobility personas were created — including short-track commuters, long-track commuters, mobile workers, occasional travellers. and perk users. The new harmonised mobility policy included stimulating bike use for short-track commuters, to transferring all so-called perk users to electric vehicles from traditional internal combustion engine vehicles.
The new mobility solution is managed using an app and a mobility card which accesses a full range of transport options, compared with the former expense-based administration system that had less options for users.
— Caroline Falls is a freelance journalist writing for Australian and international business publications.