Merchants Fleet CEO Brendan Keegan delivers a seminar at TechCrunch Mobility Sessions in San Jose in July.
 - Photo by Chris Brown.

Merchants Fleet CEO Brendan Keegan delivers a seminar at TechCrunch Mobility Sessions in San Jose in July.

Photo by Chris Brown.

We asked sponsors for the 2019 Fleet Forward Conference four questions regarding their mobility strategies as they relate to commercial, corporate, and government fleets. Merchants Fleet weighs in:

1-What message would you like to impart to our Fleet Forward audience of commercial, corporate, and government fleet managers? 

There are two ways to look at mobility—the futuristic perspective, which focuses on rapid industry changes and big picture thinking, and the practical application of mobility solutions today. As fleet managers, it’s important to consider both. 

While the more futuristic applications of mobility and automotive technologies often receive a lot of attention, there are already many applications that fleets can take advantage of today to reduce costs and increase efficiencies. Mobility is a prime example where options like vehicle pooling, short-term rentals, and vehicle sharing are available to fleets now and can help them prepare for further mobility-as-a-service applications as they develop in the future. 

Fleet professionals should seek out a fleet management provider that is proactive in piloting forward-thinking solutions, but also finds solutions that are applicable today to drive savings, support seasonality, and tailor services to the unique needs of your fleet. 

2-Tell us about your company as it relates to mobility: connectivity, autonomous technology, shared mobility, or electrification.

Merchants Fleet sees itself as a facilitator and aggregator of a growing mobility ecosystem. This ecosystem is made up a wide variety of technology and product providers that include connected vehicles, autonomy, shared mobility platforms, OEMs, maintenance providers, telematics options, and more. 

As this ecosystem continues to grow, fleets will need insights into what options are available and which products, technologies, and services make sense for their unique use case. Fleet management companies are in a powerful position to be able to pilot and vet these programs. At Merchants, we consider it our role to be single point provider for the client, so they achieve the best combination of solutions that work for them.

3-What is your specific value proposition or message to commercial, corporate, and government fleets as it relates to mobility? 

Mobility solutions are all about delivering the most efficient transportation, when it is needed and for exactly how long it is needed. To accomplish this, a fleet company’s mobility offerings need to be efficient, flexible, timeless, and boundary-less. 

Merchants Fleet mobility options are designed to be efficient so you can save time and utilize your resources to their utmost potential. Every fleet is unique, so we are flexible and offer customizable solutions. Mobility needs to be timeless, so our solutions can be used as short as a few months, or we can structure a long-term rental or lease plan. Finally, it’s our goal to deliver your vehicle wherever you need it, quickly.

For example, seasonal industries such as hospitality, construction, delivery and courier services, and many others experience natural fluctuations in their business. These fleets may discover that a portion of their vehicles sit idle for weeks during slow seasons, and then they struggle to find additional vehicles during peak seasons.

Merchants Fleet’s mobility solutions allow for shorter rental terms and flexibility so they can have vehicles when and where they need them without incurring the costs of having a larger fleet. Another example is challenges with order to delivery times. Many companies support their fleets with daily rentals while their new vehicles are being built. Merchants has mobility options that would allow them to secure additional vehicles quickly at a rate that is lower than a daily rental.

4-How do you see your part of the industry developing in the near future, and your business specifically?

As fleets are increasingly impacted by the mobility forces of multi-modal transportation, connectivity, intelligence, and efficiency, fleet managers are going to have an increasing amount of technology options and data to manage. With multi-modal transportation, fleets will have to accommodate increasingly diverse assets and journey types so they use the right vehicle, at the right time, for the right application. 

This could be electrical vehicles, scooters, or one day even drones and aerial vehicles. Connectivity will open massive opportunities for additional data points that can be used to inform better decision-making. Connectivity will facilitate increasingly intelligent technology, so fleet managers will have more automated ways to reduce fraud, improve safety, and drive efficiencies. Ultimately, with the rise of efficiency, fleets can use new technologies to reduce cost of operation and fuel consumption. 

To manage all of these changes, however, fleet professionals need a partner to connect them to solutions and guide them through their options. The role of Merchants Fleet is to aggregate suppliers, platforms, and partners to support companies that have fleets of vehicles. We act as their connection point to a broader mobility ecosystem.