Fleet managers who get assigned to international markets quickly learn just how differently each country can operate.
So many things can vary, including road size, availability of refuelling stations, access to repairs and maintenance, laws and regulations, traffic density, accessways … the list goes on.
On a recent episode of The Fleet podcast, host Albert Chou spoke with Raj Bajaj, Vice President, Webfleet Solutions International / Bridgestone Mobility Solutions, a Bridgestone company. Webfleet Solutions is a leading telematics service provider in Europe and one of the biggest worldwide. The company is on a mission to make it easier to operate a fleet anywhere in the world, no matter the local differences.
“All fleet managers need to know and implement solutions within their organisation which makes their operations more efficient,” Bajaj told The Fleet. “Efficient in terms of how they conduct their business, how they optimise fuel, how they optimise driver behaviour, how they optimise safety, and also how they're able to best optimise their operations for their customers. Our value really comes by helping the fleet managers or the companies (gather) those actionable data insights (they) need to run and operate their businesses in the best possible way.”
Today, Webfleet Solutions operates in more than 26 countries. That means Bajaj and his team must combine highly sophisticated, localised data with an intimate knowledge of how each country operates.
“We have to operate ‘glocal,’ which means getting (fleets) the global best product but localise to what the requirements are in that particular market,” Bajaj said. “For example, today, the requirements in Asia-Pacific or in Latin America or in Europe, they may be all in the growth path from a technology point of view, but when you go to the verticals, there may be different nuances of what is actually required in different geographies.”
Webfleet Solutions combines detailed data with an understanding of each market’s needs, empowering them to gather key insights and make better recommendations on how to operate each fleet more efficiently, no matter where it is.
Bajaj also shared some of the key differences he sees between regions, such as how electric vehicles (EVs) are used in Europe compared with the United States.
A recent Webfleet Solutions study on Europe’s potential for fleet electrification found that more than 60% of commercial vehicles in Europe could be replaced by EVs. Bajaj noted that daily driving distances in Europe are short enough that most drivers have no problem staying within an EV’s battery capacity during the day.
“Because of this distance and the availability of more charging infrastructure, EVs have taken up faster in Europe,” Bajaj said. “Of course, the numbers would differ in the U.S. market because at this point the distances are often much bigger and the EV options in the industry, especially in the long-haul industry, are still limited because the US may not yet have [as well developed] charging infrastructure.”
Despite the differences, Bajaj is confident that with changing policies, increasing infrastructure, and improving technology, it won’t be long before EVs start breaking into the U.S. market in a more scalable way.
Tune into Bajaj’s episode of The Fleet to hear more about how fleet management differs around the world, including maintenance preparation and safety cultures. You can listen here or wherever you get your podcasts.