Paul Verkinderen, Chevin Fleet Solutions: Fleet solutions increasingly in demand in MEA
Fleet management is rapidly expanding and maturing in both the Middle East and Africa, says Paul Verkinderen. As VP for Europe and Africa at Chevin Fleet Solutions, he is a privileged witness to the upswing in the Fleet business in both regions.
In Africa, it is not unusual to find governments with large vehicle fleets, of anywhere up to 10,000 units. “Increasingly, those governments are looking for solutions to help manage those fleets and their equipment”, according to Verkinderen. As for large corporate fleets in Africa, especially in the construction and transportation business: those are generally aiming to improve their performance in more specific areas, such as workshop management, fuel control or the integration or analysis of telematics data.
In the Middle East, large corporations are already focused on fleet management – but their solutions could often be more automated or comprehensive. “That is why we have recently increased our focus on supplying our enterprise-level fleet management software, FleetWave, in the region”, says Verkinderen. Chevin recently took on a new distributor for their software across the Middle East, and expect further expansion in the region.
For Fleet Management is expanding, in both Africa and the Middle East. Vehicle fleets in these regions are often dispersed over a wide geographic area. Having the right tools to manage them can make a big difference – and internet connection is less and less of a problem.
For example, fleets in Africa often rely heavily on telematics to understand and manage their vehicles. But in other aspects, the continent still lags significantly behind: “In terms of financing, most vehicles in Africa are purchased outright. Leasing still is a small industry, Some countries are more advanced – especially South Africa”.
Integrating the Middle East and Africa into an international policy and fleet programme presents international fleet managers with some typical problems, Paul Verkinderen knows. “Perhaps the most difficult part for companies in these regions is getting hold of complete and accurate vehicle information. You are likely to find outdated systems, with poor-quality information. Another challenge: vehicle types that are so different that it is often difficult to integrate them into current car policies”.
Maintenance and tire costs can also be a big issue, as road infrastructure may not be as good compared to other regions, and weather conditions can be challenging for the vehicles. Another specific issue, especially in Africa: the problem of fuel theft. “And although some multinationals in particular try to change it, often there is less safety management and less driver training available in Africa”.
Fuel management in the Middle East needs to be considered on a country-by-country basis, says Paul Verkinderen: “In Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, fuel savings are less of a consideration because fuel is cheaper. But fuel is an important consideration in Jordan and Lebanon, for example”.
Chevin Fleet Solutions is a leading global provider of fleet management software solutions, with offices in the U.S., Australia and Europe (UK, Belgium, France and Germany). The company works with distributors in East Africa, South Africa and the Middle East. Standout features of Chevin web-based solutions include hierarchical filters and multi-currency and multilingual support – with an Arabic-language interface for the FleetWave system being launched this spring. | 05/04/2017 | Frank Jacobs