Fleet management systems (FMS) have an established presence in France, Germany, UK, Italy and Benelux, with 70 percent of fleet managers claiming familiarity with FMS – 37 percent are already using them and 33 percent are testing them. In general, fleet owners display a positive attitude toward FMS, and 35 percent of respondents in a recent Frost & Sullivan survey consider it an absolute necessity.

Large fleets are keener to adopt these solutions than small and medium fleets, clearly indicating a lack of awareness on the benefits offered by FMS among the latter, according to the authors of the study.

Frost & Sullivan's new customer research study, “2012 European Fleet Managers' Willingness to Pay for FMS,” summarizes the findings of the survey of 155 decision-makers and key influencers for FMS in Europe. The research revealed that fleet managers are satisfied with the FMS currently offered. In fact, productivity and fleet security – two of the top three criteria used during purchase – exceed expectations. On the other hand, fleet managers are dissatisfied with the savings made on insurance premiums and the lack of new services.

"Presently, vehicle management as well as fleet security and control are the most widely-used services in Europe," said Frost & Sullivan Customer Research Consultant Agnieszka Wolf. "However, offering driver and order management services will help FMS vendors retain existing customers as 35 percent of respondents are looking to buy these solutions in the next 36 months."

Key points of interest (POI) in navigation systems include gas stations, repair stations, and speed restrictions. Respondents working in medium commercial vehicle (MCV) fleets were keen on all POI with particular interest in truck parking slots, road gradients, and restaurants.

Interestingly, respondents indicated that they would prefer dealing with one supplier per solution, with two out of three saying that they would choose brands offering prognostic technologies, which help predict the impending failure of a commercial vehicle.

No clear overall preference for a particular FMS vendor type was seen, although significant vendor preferences exist according to solution and country, according to the study’s authors. While respondents in Germany, Italy and UK are more aware of systems from truck original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), only Germany and UK favor truck OEMs for all solutions. Fleet managers in Italy, France and Benelux favor specialized third-party or logistics and supply chain providers. Among specialized FMS providers, TomTom and Transics received the highest ratings.

"The survey reveals that the key decision maker for FMS purchase in fleets is top management," said Wolf. "However, driver and trade unions appear to influence decisions in Italy and Benelux, especially in the case of large fleets with more than 100 vehicles."

In terms of payment, general willingness to spend on fleet telematics services is low, according to the study results. Fleet owners in France are most willing to pay for these services whereas those from Benelux are least inclined. Readiness to pay is also higher in MCV and heavy commercial vehicle fleets than light vehicle fleets. Profit-sharing business models too are gaining acceptance, particularly in France. In Benelux, the market is quite polarized and there is no clear penchant for profit sharing.