We recently conducted an interview with the largest fleet management company here in Vancouver, Ecoservice Group. In this 10 question interview, the co-founder Samson Mui gives us detailed insight into the fleet management/in-field operator and carsharing operator relationship, as well as why having proper fleet management solutions is so important for a successful shared mobility experience. Ecoservice is also a partner of ours, and we recently talked about their shared mobility technology in this blog post.
Fleet Management Interview with Samson mui, founder of Ecoservice
1. Can you explain the inspiration to build a company such as EcoService?
Samson: Our mission is to enable the best shared mobility experience through our Technology and Fleet Management solutions. The way people are “moving” is changing rapidly every year and we’re really excited to be the ones making it happen.
2. How does EcoService help carsharing and ride-hailing companies?
Samson: We provide essential solutions so that our customers can focus on what they do best – building their brand & customer base.
We work behind the scenes to make sure cars are well maintained and in the right locations. For ridehailing we provide high quality drivers and infrastructure to support your program.
3. When it comes to operation management for carsharing, what are some of the key tasks a Fleet team should do?
Samson: We perform tasks like cleaning, refueling and relocating, and more complicated tasks such as technical troubleshooting and tire changes. We also coordinate fleet maintenance projects that happen regularly.
With so many “boots on the ground” we are able to provide field-level insights.
4. What kind of challenges does a Fleet Manager incur?
Samson: Keeping a well maintained fleet and ensuring vehicles are in the optimal locations.
A well maintained fleet means that cars are serviced on a timely basis, they have the right permits to operate, they are clean and ultimately are ready for rent.
Second to that is location – vehicles in the right place at the right time though this is very much a cost-benefit exercise.
5. What kind of challenges does an Infield Operator face?
Samson: Prioritizing many different tasks, but more importantly doing it as efficiently as possible. As you can imagine, at any given point in time there may be tens or hundreds of different tasks you can tackle – but which one makes the most sense to do next?
To tackle this we created EcoDispatch, a smart dispatch app, that tells our Infield team what to do next using an algorithm developed through our years of hands-on experience.
6. What typically happens if Fleet Management doesn’t exist or is not run properly? How does this affect the member’s experience with the service?
Samson: Poor fleet management has a direct negative impact on revenue and member experience.
Every minute a vehicle is not available is an opportunity cost. Fleet Management requires a high level of coordination – if tasks are not prioritized correctly, it could mean that a customers will not be able to use vehicles when they want to.
Moreover, poorly maintained cars would result in more customer complaints and lower customer NPS.
7. When a client is launching services for the first time, have you noticed if there are any common challenges that clients typically overlook when it comes to Fleet management?
Samson: I’ve noticed that communication levels change post launch. Everyone gets busy trying to operate the business and manage events that happen. But continuing to maintain high level of communication with your partners is critical. There’s a lot of moving pieces in this business already and not keeping your partners informed will hinder your ability to operate efficiently.
Another common challenge is adapting / developing the local knowledge needed to be successful that that specific city. Each city has its own quirks so you’ll need to be flexible and adjust as needed.
8. Is there any importance in standardizing the approach to completing tasks?
Samson: To us it’s critical to providing Quality & Consistent results. It’s not just about doing the task, it is making sure that its done right each time and as expected by the customers. Keeping in mind that you need to have the flexibility to adjust as client needs change.
9. Can you recount a memorable story of how a Fleet member helped out a member/client?
Samson: It was a summer or two ago on a long weekend. The car share (our customer) was quite new to the city so a lot of limits of the technology were still being tested. In this case, a member decided to take a vehicle on a road trip – more specifically a ferry ride to the island.
Little did anyone know, this brought the vehicle outside the range of where the telematic devices worked. So once the member got to their destination they couldn’t start the vehicle again.
Once we were notified about the situation we sent our team members with a physical key to restart and move the vehicle.
Happy to report that we were able to quickly address the situation – the member was happy with the level of support, our customer was happy and our team members got a road & ferry trip out of this.
10. For companies who are looking to launch a carshare service for the first time, do you have any advice you would like to share with them?
Samson: Make sure you’re working with the right partners – be it technology, fleet management, customer support or back office. The pace of change in the mobility industry is very rapid. Car shares is still a small fraction of the over all vehicle/transportation industry and as a result is constantly changing. You need to have nimble partners that can adapt to your needs as they change.
These insights from the largest fleet management company on the West Coast tells us a lot about the operational needs of shared mobility operations. Are you launching your car sharing or ride-hailing service? You can gain access to a wide array of insights you’ll need in our Playbook.