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What does the changing landscape mean for the procurement of alternative mobility?

As corporate mobility is being reinvented, the mobility supply landscape is changing rapidly too. Procurement professionals need to adjust their mobility sourcing strategy – but how? In this blog, Saskia Harreman, corporate mobility expert at Mobility Switch, emphasises the importance of taking a strategic approach to select the right vendors, and outlines four steps to help procurement professionals support their company’s shift to alternative mobility.

Corporate mobility is taking on a whole new meaning. Driven by the need to meet emissions targets and other sustainability goals, employers are increasingly moving away from the traditional company car. Instead, there is a growing demand for more environmentally friendly assets for work-related travel, such as electric cars, vans, bikes, or e-bikes. Meanwhile, some companies are extending their mobility policies to cover all employees – rather than just those who would have previously been eligible for a company vehicle – so they can commute more sustainably to and from the workplace. One way to facilitate this is through a mobility budget, which gives employees the freedom and flexibility to choose the most appropriate option for each leg of their journey, including public transport and shared micro-mobility services.

The complex and dynamic alternative mobility market

All these trends are creating a rapidly developing ‘alternative mobility’ market made up of an ever-growing number of mobility providers in all shapes and sizes. Some vendors are large leasing and rental companies expanding their product and service portfolio to offer a broader range of mobility choices and subscription-based/sharing services (‘Mobility as a Service’). At the other extreme, innovative start-ups are hitting the market with digital platforms integrating multiple services and functionalities to ensure a sublime user experience (mainly at a local or regional level).

This alternative mobility market is so complex and dynamic that it can be difficult for procurement specialists to identify the right solution for their organisation – but help is at hand! By following the four steps outlined below, procurement professionals can save significant time and money for their organisation and gain an edge in today’s competitive labour market by getting it ‘right the first time’ when selecting alternative corporate mobility partners.

Four steps to procuring alternative mobility

1. Inside view: To find what you want, you must first know what you currently have and need. Therefore, start by analysing your organisation’s existing mobility situation.

  • If you lack the necessary data, conduct an employee survey to uncover the mobility needs of your workforce.

  • Execute a workforce mobility analysis and understand their mobility patterns. Where are the home-work locations? When do they travel? How often do they work from home? And most interesting, what mobility alternatives do they have, such as active mobility, public transport, carpooling, working at a remote office or using the classic car for the commute?

  • Remember also to evaluate the processes and workflows within the HR or procurement department to ensure you can free up sufficient resources to conduct the necessary research and support your transition to alternative mobility.

2. Outside view: Take a deep dive into the supply side to understand what is out there based on the following three aspects:

  • Best practices: Conducting desk research (such as reading articles in trade journals or studying the Mobility Maturity Map), attending conferences and participating in webinars... these are all great ways of building your knowledge and discovering best practices by learning from experts and exchanging ideas with your peers.

  • Market insight: Once you have got to grips with the basics, it’s time to talk to some vendors. Approach your incumbent fleet suppliers, as well as start-ups and innovators, to ask which products and services they offer or are developing.

  • Legislation: The mobility market continues to be affected by legislation, such as the upcoming law in the Netherlands that will make it mandatory for companies with over 100 employees to report on the carbon emissions caused by employee commutes. Other national or international government initiatives are designed to stimulate the transition to alternative mobility, such as the ‘Deutschland Ticket’ offering cheap public transport in Germany. Keep a close eye on such developments to ensure you remain compliant but also to spot financial incentives or other potentially beneficial opportunities that could support your shift to more sustainable alternatives.

3. Request for Information (RFI): Based on what you have learned from your inside and outside views, make a longlist of potential suppliers and approach them with a Request for Information. This should be followed up by meetings with a shortlist of vendors to gain more insight into how their products and services could meet your needs in practice.

4. Pilot: When you have found a potentially suitable solution – such as for company bicycle leasing or a mobility budget – test it in practice by starting off with a pilot for a small user group. Ideally, you should approach this as a collaborative partnership with the vendor rather than a traditional customer/supplier relationship, so that both sides can benefit from the lessons learned from the experience and provide a stronger foundation for a future roll-out.

At Mobility Switch, we have the tools to analyse your employees' real-live mobility patterns and find realistic alternatives based on cost, time and emission reduction. We also have a broad experience in the mobility market in the Netherlands and internationally.

If you would like to discuss any of the topics covered in this blog or require help adapting your procurement strategy for alternative mobility, please get in touch with me HERE.

Images: Maud van Mulekom & Shutterstock

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