Major firms take holistic approach to future mobility

LARGE businesses in the UK are taking a forward facing approach to business travel which includes a holistic approach to mobility and the introduction of new vehicle technologies, including electric, according to independent research from the Corporate Vehicle Observatory (CVO) Barometer.


As a result, the role of the mobility manager is becoming a more popular one in theUKwith the modern fleet manager having a much broader role than just company vehicles, particularly in larger companies (100+ employees).


The report supported by vehicle leasing and fleet management company Arval, looked at the state of the market across 16 countries with more than 4,800 interviews conducted with fleet decision makers earlier this year.


It shows that amongst the largest and smallest businesses, the proportion of fleet professionals feeling that electric vehicles could play a role has grown. In fact 43% of the largest companies (1,000+ employees) currently see a role for electric vehicles on their fleet – a 12% growth versus the previous year – and 11% of small fleets (+5%).


Mike Waters, senior insight and consultancy manager at Arval, said: ‘With such a broad range of vehicle variants becoming available, it is no surprise that some companies are looking closely at the composition of their fleet. Of these new technologies, electric vehicles have a high profile and in certain circumstances will be an effective option.’


Taking a holistic view of business travel is a trend that is being seen amongst large businesses in theUK(100+ employees) with 28% of those companies incorporating a function that covers all types of employee business travel, and not just the vehicle fleet.


However, when it comes to this mobility approach, theUKstill lags behind other European countries where as many as 37% of larger companies have a distinct travel function.


While company vehicle management is a very focussed area, wider mobility is much broader and requires an encompassing knowledge of mobility options and their relative merits.


Waters added: ‘With a combination of costs pressures, changing taxation and a raft of new vehicle technologies it is sensible that companies are taking a forward-thinking approach to their vehicle fleet and employee travel requirements. This will allow them to make the best decisions for now and the future.


‘We still currently see the majority of companies outsourcing non-vehicle travel to specialist providers. However, this is potentially an interesting area for future development in the market that needs to be closely monitored going-forward.’


At around a third of larger companies, there is a function that manages travel as well as the vehicle fleet. That could encompass things like train travel, flights and taxis alongside the normal responsibilities of a fleet manager. While this trend is even stronger in other European countries surveyed than it is in theUK.


Waters said: ‘Traditionally the model within most large companies has been to employ a specialist fleet manager to manage all aspects of the vehicle fleet while outsourcing non-vehicle travel to specialist providers.


‘This may still be the case but it may also be that the fleet manager has taken responsibility for these supply arrangements. What is clear is that the role of the traditional fleet manager is changing, becoming broader and more complex.’


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