When the future fleet arrives, will it be an improvement?
By Bernie Kavanagh
Sure, your vehicles might be autonomous, dutifully following all your rules on fueling, idling and safety without a coffee break. But what if they get hacked?
You like the lower emissions from your EV vehicles … even if you can’t figure out how much you’re spending on a charge, or how to do any of your usual fuel management reporting.
And of course we’ll all love swipeless, cardless payments — until we find out fraudsters have caught up with the innovation.
In the future fleet, your old woes may be gone but you might have some new ones — mostly linked to the security of your data — if we don’t do it right.
So, as we get ready to turn the page on 2018, WEX, and all suppliers to companies with mobility challenges, are notching up their development of high-tech ways to do old jobs more quickly and efficiently.
We are in the earliest innings of that game, and we mostly agree: The ways that people move goods and themselves from place to place is about to change — radically. So must fleets.
When that happens, the biggest challenges — and those that hold back market innovations — will be technical. How do you get autonomous vehicles to play nice with each other, never mind with human-operated vehicles and a 20th-century highway infrastructure?
It’s going to take time, but when you think about solving technical challenges, the answer is never in silos. It’s almost always through partnerships.
Imagine an OEM trying to develop an autonomous vehicle without the guidance of federal highway officials. Try creating a fleet card network without buy-in from the card readers. It’s partnerships that create the value and cross-functionality high-tech fleets will demand.
While the road to future fleet will be paved with partnerships, it will be dominated by data.
Just think about the data that flows from your fleet card into your accounting software: You have more information on the efficiency of your fleet now than you’ve ever had, and more benchmarks to measure it against. You have data on your operations, and how they are trending, driver by driver. You have so much more information to make better decisions.
But what if you can’t access it, or don’t have time to V-Lookup the PPG data from Driver 5 on your phone to make a year-over-year route cost comparison?
It’s one thing to collect data, it’s quite another to harness it in a way that’s easy and useful.
How does connected car happen? How pervasive will EV charging become? How do you prevent a connected car from being hacked? When will the card become the car?
By developing the industry’s first proprietary closed-loop fueling network, WEX is steeped in what it takes to develop next-generation products that deliver value to industry. Whether Fleet, Health or Travel, we develop secure, best-in-class products and services by listening to and partnering with the industry to do high-tech product development that drives modernization, efficiency and profitability for our customers.
Fleet managers looking to modernize over the coming years will have massive opportunity, as long as they look to suppliers that use partnerships and value data security as the twin hallmarks of the future fleet.
About Bernie Kavanagh
A 27-year fleet professional, Bernie Kavanagh currently serves as Senior Vice President and General Manager of Large Fleet at WEX Inc. He joined the company in 1996 and his career has been a steady progression of increased sales and marketing responsibility. Kavanagh serves on industry related boards and is a frequent speaker at payment industry conferences focusing on fuel trends and technology in the payment space. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the College of New Jersey and is an active member of NAFA, AFLA, NCSFA and AALA. Prior to joining WEX, Kavanagh held a number of roles with Enterprise Rent-A-Car and Enterprise Fleet Management.