Jorg Loffler, CEO Fleet Logistics: Transforming the organisation to serve our customers better
In August 2016, Dr. Jörg Löffler was appointed CEO at TÜV SÜD subsidiary Fleet Logistics Group. His mission statement then was: furthering internationalisation and expanding business operations to include new services.
After your first 100 days as CEO, you spoke of 3 main objectives for 2017 and the following years.
“Well it was a year of turnaround, with a new CEO in the person of myself, and it was a successful turnaround. We achieved our financial expectations, and now we have a lot to do in preparing our company for the future. There is market development, and then there is our own processes and organisation. We have not completed this yet, but we have fulfilled major milestones.”
When do you think the restructuring will be complete, and what still needs to be done?
“By the middle of this year it will be complete. In terms of process, our organisation was too local, too country-oriented, while our customers are becoming more international and even global. So, they are looking for one global partner capable of addressing their global fleet requirements. We need better cooperation in this direction. We will change to have more standardised processes among all our countries.”
Does this mean you currently have different processes in different countries?
“They are of course very similar at the basic levels, but in the details, and for historical reasons, we see a lot of differences. There are always likely to be some local differences, but in general we need a lot more standardisation. We have to and will increase our quality levels and our speed of response, and we will accelerate the exchange of resources between countries.”
You have, I believe, two different IT systems – how will this change?
“We will have just one, and it will be the one we use internationally. So, the one we are currently using in Germany will be adapted. But it is not a matter of just taking one of the systems totally, it will involve taking the best parts of each and combining them. But the international IT system will be the backbone of our new system.”
Tell us a little bit about what will be optimised.
“The level of optimisation will increase, and the level of products and services based on IT platforms is being systematically rationalised, and will be increased too.”
You also wish to standardise business processes… does this mean a leaner organisation?
“Yes of course, and it should be possible to group some activities together into hubs, and this will increase both efficiency and quality. By doing everything individually in each country, we are running a risk of mistakes and increasing the learning curve.”
Might you therefore close specific activities in specific countries?
“No, the objective is not to close activities, but to bundle some of the back office activities, those not in front of the customer, into one location. An individual country will group together certain activities for other countries, in order to reach a critical volume. This is important for financial and human resources reasons.”
Which are the most important regions of the world in which Fleet Logistics will have activities in the future?
“Europe is and will stay very important for us, because we have operations in all European countries, we have a solid customer base, and so we will further strengthen our European activities and capabilities. And although we don’t want to close any European office, we may bundle certain activities for four or five countries into a more cost competitive country. We have already started with an invoice control centre in the Czech Republic.”
And after Europe…?
“Latin America and Asia are regions where we are very much starting, so at the moment we want to focus our efforts on Europe, achieve efficiencies here. However, as our global customers want the global service I mentioned before, we will of course serve them in all regions, but via one dedicated sales person, generally operating centrally from the place where the contract is acquired. These international key account managers are usually in Europe, but if we have customers who have their headquarters in another region such as South East Asia, we will provide an international key account manager for them there.
But it is true to say that a lot of conglomerates have headquarters in Europe or the USA. We don’t yet really have a local infrastructure in the USA, but we tend to create a presence by cooperating with selected partners. This will evolve as critical mass evolves. It is a very different market to Europe, but one with a fleet management model in which we can enter and play an added value role.
Looking at Europe, is there still a bright future for a company like Fleet Logistics in fleet management?
“The size of the company car fleet in Europe is calculated at around 19 million. We are currently serving something like 180,000 contracts… So there is huge potential, and all the more so as companies are beginning to look at their fleets differently. Fleets may show up on balance sheets, so with such a changing landscape, I really see an increasing demand for independent fleet management expertise. If the new leasing rules (IFRS 16) lead to a shift back towards ownership of vehicles rather than leasing, this will increase demand for our services too. Customers will want more transparency, and will be looking for more international added value from a global partner.”
| 27/06/2017 | Steven Schoefs