Automotive Fleet

JAN 2014

Magazine for the car and truck fleet and leasing industry

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expect that to continue. However, the tools and technologies we have to accomplish that continue to improve. Tere is such an enormous proliferation of technologies in everything, from telematics to mobile to materials to powertrains. Our industry will become increasingly driven by technology and our ability to understand and harness it. Our clients are continually expecting us to do more for them and for us to provide them with the tools to allow them to be more productive and more strategic. Many of them are taking on additional responsibilities and need to outsource more administrative tasks. Tey are getting involved in logistics, safety, budgeting and accounting, sourcing, DOT compliance, and other areas. As the vehicle becomes more connected and integrated with the job, I believe the feet manager role will continue to become more complex and strategic. Finally, while our industry has come a long way in managing vehicles, we believe there are still a lot of possibilities to expand how we manage drivers and driver behavior. Wheels has been actively implementing tools to help our clients better communicate with and educate their drivers, understand their behaviors and how those efect feet costs and compliance, and help motivate those drivers to take appropriate action. Our early results with our Driver Outreach and ChangeDriver programs have been very exciting. AF: What impact will the upcoming CAFE requirements have on the feet management industry? D. FRANK: On the positive side, the CAFE requirements should have many of their intended efects. Fleets should see a growing selection of more fuel-efcient vehicles and alternate-fuel sources, reducing the cost of fuel and lowering carbon emissions. We have already seen a dramatic improvement in the last several years, particularly for sedans. Of course, the CAFE standards will also create some challenges as well. Some of the technologies required to improve fuel economy further will have tradeofs. Clearly some of them, including lighter materials, such as carbon fber, have a signifcantly higher cost. Other trade-ofs may include reducing the size of the vehicles, removing features, such as spare tires, which add signifcant cost and weight, and reducing power, as we've seen in the move from six-to four-cylinder vehicles. 34 AUTOMOTIVE FLEET I JANUARY 2014 Te OEMs have been incredibly innovative in designing more fuel-efcient vehicles. At the end of the day, there is no requirement to buy the vehicles they make and they will need to design vehicles that both meet the CAFE standards while still meeting the cost and performance requirements of consumers and feet customers. Nevertheless, we may be faced with more difcult choices than we have in the past. OEMs may need to manage pricing to discourage use of less fuel-efcient vehicles, even though certain feet applications will continue to require larger and more powerful vehicles. Fleet managers may need to be more selective in how they deploy vehicles and develop their selectors. For example, four wheel or all-wheel-drive vehicles may only be made available to drivers in regions with a certain amount of snowfall. Fleets where some drivers, but not all, need cargo space for equipment, tools, or samples may want to provide larger vehicles only to those drivers who need them. We've seen other feets go so far as to change their service delivery model entirely so that sales or service reps no longer have to carry these materials. Instead, they dedicate specifc vehicles just for delivery and reduce the number of larger vehicles required. Fleet managers may need to get more involved in the logistics of how the sales or service is delivered in their organization, just as their roles may have expanded to include procurement, safety, or other responsibilities. Wheels will continue to work with our clients to assess the practicality of these new vehicle choices and alternate fuels, the safety and performance of smaller vehicles, and get more involved in strategic issues such as job and territory design. We will probably all need to be open to analyzing a broader set of vehicle options and more diverse selectors. EMPLOYEE REFLECTIONS "Wheels is focused on providing premier customer service to all our clients and vendors, while also focusing on making it a great place to work for their employees." — Mary Lou Schoneberger, 32 years Supervisor, Driver Services AF: With the dramatic advancements in technology, which technologies do you feel will have the greatest impact on the future of feet management? D. FRANK: It's probably one we haven't even thought of yet! Technology is evolving extremely quickly around us and Wheels is continually exploring new ideas we can bring to our clients. Clearly, telematics ofer an enormous number of possibilities that many feets have yet to enjoy. As the cost continues to come down, more of these features will become economically viable. Whether it is routing and dispatch, vehicle diagnostics, safety monitoring, odometer reporting, DOT compliance, inventory tracking, or a whole host of other features, we will continue to see their acceptance spread. Some of the manufacturers are moving to make the vehicle more of an "app" platform, just as the smartphone makers have, and this is likely to unleash a whole new round of possibilities. I believe we will continue to see advancements in payment technologies. We are already seeing transponders used for tolling, parking, and variable-priced HOV lane payments. Credit cards are likely to ultimately move to pay by phone, RFID, or other mobile systems, creating better driver convenience and fraud resistance. On the fip side, governments are using technology to fnd ever more ways to charge us as they look for enhanced enforcement and increased revenues. Red-light and speeding cameras, electronic tolling, and other electronic enforcement continues to proliferate. We are seeing expanded use of toll lanes that are variable priced based on traffc volume. More municipalities are accepting online payment for registration and violations. Te pressure for governments to cut costs, improve enforcement, and generate more revenue will likely continue to push innovations in these areas. Perhaps the area that is seeing the most innovation is safety technologies. Lane departure warnings, blind-spot detection, frontal crash avoidance, greater use of air bags, stronger and lighter materials, backup cameras, telematics, and electronic stability control — the list is extensive. Despite all that, we still see more than 30,000 people killed on our roads each year and hundreds of thousands injured. Long term, we are starting to see some of the technologies

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