12 January 2023
Business Car chats with Beverley Wise, Webfleet regional director, Bridgestone Mobility Solutions, following their win at the 2022 Business Car Awards.
Wise tells us that the pandemic led to an acceleration of new working models, with organisations embracing new technologies like never before. She says: “From a tech adoption perspective, digital transformation continues apace, tempered only by prevailing cost pressures and business liquidity. The returns on investment for innovation are large but, amidst this new time-pressured business landscape, as a company we have had to become more creative and arresting in how we engage and inspire fleet prospects and make the business case for Webfleet.
“The increase in the number of video conference meetings has, in many cases, acted as a forced pilot to boost productivity and improve channels of communication. It has enabled many organisations to become more focused on the delivery of new projects, including the rollout of telematics platforms.
“Elsewhere, for other businesses, the chip shortage and supply chain challenges has had the reverse effect, with a lack of vehicle availability and protracted lead times resulting in uncertainty and delay.
“A lot of decision makers who have been looking ahead to a different fleet structure, with vehicles being added to fleet in 12-18 months’ time, have revealed a reluctance to roll out new hardware until the new vehicles have been delivered.”
The light commercial vehicle (LCV) market is expected to be a notable growth area over the next 12 months for Webfleet, Wise tells us. She says: “Although UK van registrations have been shackled by supply shortages and tough operating conditions of late, this market is expected to rally in 2023, according to industry analysts.
“Furthermore, as the importance of sustainability and the decarbonisation of the last mile continues to be a focus, for businesses both large and small, their need for technologies that can help to reduce their carbon footprint becomes even more pressing. This includes support for eLCV adoption and their cost-efficient operation, as the clock ticks on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans.
“With increasing demands on fleet staffing resources, businesses are also looking for ways to better streamline service provision from suppliers. In recognition of this, Bridgestone recently launched its Fleetcare and Fleetcare Go plans, which help businesses consolidate products and services to reduce their total cost of ownership, while enhancing safety and sustainability, in the most cost-effective way possible. The integration of tyres, maintenance and connected vehicle insights offers a convenient, modular solution that allow businesses to address their fleet needs from a single mobility partner.
“We expect the value of these plans to become increasingly manifest, with accelerated fleet take-up during 2023 and beyond.”
Webfleet has always sought to invest in R&D to remain ahead of the curve and our commitment to continual innovation has continued apace, irrespective of the pandemic lockdowns Wise told us. She says: “We look to anticipate market need, and plan ahead, not just for the immediate future, but for the next three or four years.
“We have, however, cemented the importance we place on developments delivering meaningful progress for customers – practical developments that help deliver safer, more efficient, and more sustainable business performance. Our process for engaging with the industry has evolved and we’ve established a ‘customer panel’ to help ensure the voice of fleets is heard in our development process.
“ODS (Oxford Direct Services), for example, is now helping shape the evolution of the Webfleet EV management solution, as it seeks to maximise its potential across its range of vehicles, from those used for civil engineering to waste collection and street cleaning.”
Wise goes on to explain that the market can expect further developments from them in EV management, alongside cold chain and advanced solutions that will help raise the bar yet further in business workflow efficiency, dynamic scheduling, and the enhancement of the working life of drivers in the field.
She says: “As we look to the future, the synergies between Webfleet and the wider Bridgestone business are set to increase to give our customers wider ‘one-stop’ access to fleet services and insights, from tyres and advanced tyre solutions that help maximise performance and minimise wear and tear to connected vehicle insights.
“Glance further to the horizon and our vehicle data will increasingly marry with artificial intelligence, automating fleet and operational decisions and making management and maintenance systems ever more predictive and preventive. Our vehicle data is also set to play a burgeoning role in the evolution of smart cities.”
The speed at which Webfleet is anticipating market needs and adapting its solution to meet a rapidly changing environment is seeing software innovations like no other, is what Wise believes makes Webfleet stand out against the opposition. All of which directly address the prevailing, real-world challenges of fleets.
She says: “Moreover, a one-size-fits-all approach to fleet management is rarely appropriate, with the unique challenges faced by diverse types and sizes of fleet, alongside differences in regulatory requirements, meaning that telematics needs to offer far-reaching functionality and extensive reporting. Webfleet’s capabilities, underpinned by its platform approach, again make it stand out in the market, offering fleets the flexibility to customise and expand the solution to meet their specific business requirements.
“The company has fostered a business model that sees its network of local reseller partners work closely with fleet customers to support them on a very practical basis.
“The Webfleet platform and associated hardware is also future-proof. Consequently, it does not prohibit the evolution of the software. All development updates are delivered free to customers as part of their on-going subscription, without additional costs or hardware requirements.”
On top of the fact that Wise think’s It’s great to receive recognition by the industry, following Webfleet’s recent “Best Telematics Product” win, but also believes it is testimony to their unwavering commitment to innovation and its efforts to align advanced functionality with an exceptional end-user experience.
She says: “Complacency is never an option for us and we will continue to explore new business opportunities, new markets and opportunities to collaborate with partners to deliver an unrivalled, all-encompassing, solution for customers.”
Call 0208 822 3605 or visit www.webfleet.com