Reflections on the Motor, Transport and Asset Finance Summer Conference Season
As the autumn and winter conference season appears on the horizon, I find myself reflecting on the many spring and early summer conferences I attended; the presentations I’ve witnessed, and conversations with delegates and vendors I’ve had. The events attended include those organised by the FLA, IAFN, Blockchain and TaaS2019.
Throughout the events, a consistent theme was that many companies are being forced to recognise tech, and are observing market disruption within the asset finance and transportation industries. As a consequence of that, there were discussions around the ramifications of these circumstances to the big players within these industries. This notion is then accompanied by predictions around what the amount of revenue/spend will be in the next 5 – 10 years, with some experts speculating that it will grow into the $billions. However, these figures estimated by the leading consultancies and accounting firms come with caveats, and assume the investment is actually spent now and that adoption of the tech/product/innovation will continue to grow at an unprecedented rate.
In my opinion, not all of the predictions will be realised, particularly regarding the public take up of low emission electric vehicles (EV). Most of the retail users (both public and fleet) have yet to be convinced over issues such as EV distance anxiety, and charging infrastructure existing where and when it is needed. On top of all of that, there is still scepticism over the time it takes to fully re-charge these vehicles.
Additionally, substantial local authority, government funding and joint transportation programmes would be needed to coordinate and benefit from competing providers of Mobility-as-a-Service offerings to result in easier customer journeys. The tax revenues to pay for the public funding would be required both now and for the next 10 years, during a time when vehicle excise duty (road tax) and petrol/diesel tax revenues are also planned to reduce as more people are both encouraged and expected to switch to EVs.
Transport services (both public and private) must be easy to access, and consider people with mobility challenges. They must also consider those without mobile banking or smart mobile devices in general such as the unemployed, elderly, blind or deaf; it is imperative that transport is for all.
Changing the business model
The good news is that innovation is still rife, and those wishing to secure both their own and their customers’ futures are looking for new technology, processes and sales channels to evolve their operating models.
A great example of recognising the need for a collaborative approach was explained by Alan Smith of Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council at the TaaS2019 conference. In the Mobility 22 programme, Alan was explaining the challenges of delivering sustainable connectivity, to maximise connectivity with the HS2 interchange. This would be done with the aim to reduce traffic congestion and encouraging more walking and cycling, whilst simultaneously increasing occupancy per vehicle journey.
Also at TaaS, Rahima Yakoob of Daimler AG explained the changing role of the OEM in the Automotive Supply Chain, as they recognise the need to bring together suppliers, service providers and retailers to meet changing end-customer ownership traits, mobility-on-demand and vehicle needs. As Rahima explained, all of this needs to happen within newly forming operating models, brought to market by the business and tech disruptors. These changes also need to be achieved at the same time as bringing Connected, Autonomous, Shared and Electric vehicles to market.
When changing a business model, there is clearly a balance of keeping the ship moving whilst changing its engine, and wholesale changes cannot be achieved overnight. Such a transformative programme needs a collaborative team approach between business operations, IT departments and suppliers.
Collaboration is key
The overarching conclusion to get an end-customer journey transformed into an omni-channel and digital experience, underpinned by an efficient process and IT eco system, is to simply collaborate. That means actively collaborating between business units, with partners who can ‘join the dots’ and make processes and systems truly integrated.