As one of the world's biggest vehicle manufacturing groups, Ford Motor Company can offer services to multinational fleets on a global basis.
To learn more about Ford Motor Company's global initiatives and goals, along with details on its operations and the future of global fleet management, AF spoke with Doug Walczak, global business development director for Ford Motor Company.
Below are excerpts from AF's interview:
AF: What services and capabilities does Ford offer multinational companies with global fleet operations?
Walczak: In addition to having a full range of commercial vehicles and dealers around the world, we also offer Ford Telematics, our next-generation factory-fit commercial telematics platform that helps fleet managers run more efficient operations to better serve their customers.
Ford Telematics provides a broad scope of Cloud-based capabilities, including the ability to gather intelligence from the vehicle, monitor driver behavior and provide drivers with real-time support. It also gives fleets access to "actionable analytics," such as ready-to-use dashboards for fuel, driver behavior and operations, along with improved reports. Ford Telematics is now available in North America and Europe with more regional rollouts to come.
AF: What are the best practices implemented by a multinational company when exploring opportunities to aggregate its fleet buy with a combined multi-regional or global fleet purchase agreement?
Walczak: Best practices include defining a clear strategy for executing multiple regional agreements. This includes understanding the key differences between regions to avoid the one-size-fits all approach.
A common misperception is the one-size-fits-all approach to multi-regional or global agreements. Markets are unique and diverse around the globe and, therefore, require strategies to leverage the strengths and opportunities within each of the markets. Global benefits may not be achieved if execution of local practices are contrary to the global agreement.
Ford has a full range of commercial vehicles and dealers located in more than 180 markets around the world to help global fleet customers tailor their fleets to market operating conditions, so they can manage their business at peak efficiency.
AF: What are the best practices in developing a global RFP? Conversely, what are common mistakes to avoid when preparing a multi-regional or global RFP?
Walczak: Global agreements require coordination between central and local activities. This requires local purchase polices that reinforce the terms and conditions of the global agreement to allow the multinational to achieve the benefits negotiated by the central/global procurement team.
AF: What do you see as the key trends influencing global fleet purchasing today and in the future?
Walczak: We are looking at innovative ways to work with our fleet customers, such as through Ford Smart Mobility initiatives. For example, Ford and HP collaborated on a mobility project that tracked the driving habits of nearly 100 vehicles used nationwide by HP employees. By identifying patterns in thousands of trips, we are exploring new transportation models, such as swapping vehicles for task-based needs or using available idle fleet vehicles when arriving at the airport or company buildings.
AF: Can you describe Ford's sales and service organization within the North American Fleet, Lease, and Remarketing Operations (NAFLRO) that services global fleet clients and prospective clients?
Walczak: Ford is committed to serving the needs of our multinational customers and provides dedicated resources to support a 3-tier support strategy:
Local Account Manager – Local Ford point of contact to interface with local country fleet managers (local coordination of local country RFPs, fleet offers and agreements) to provide local account management in terms of addressing local fleet needs, communicating local product updates, providing local order status updates, and managing local concerns and issues.
Regional Account Manager – Regional Ford point of contact to interface with regional procurement managers and provide regional coordination of regional RFPs/IFAs (oversees the implementation of the regional IFA).
Global Account Manager – Central/global Ford point of contact to interface with central/global procurement managers and provide central/global coordination of global RFPs/IFAs. The global account managers oversee implementation of the global IFA.
AF: How many fleet customers does Ford have that qualify as multi-regional or global fleets?
Walczak: We have hundreds of regional/global multinational customers.
AF: If I am the fleet manager of an international fleet headquartered in Europe and I have global requirements, who do I speak with at Ford?
Walczak: We have a tremendous team in Europe to support the needs of our multinational customers. This includes both local country managers as well as our regional account managers.
AF: What do you feel is the future of global fleet management?
Walczak: Global fleet management is key to the success of multinational customers. This requires clear, well-defined strategies (both short-term and long-term) to maximize central procurement and local execution.
Looking to the future, we are expanding our business model to be both an auto and a mobility company. We are continuing to focus on and investing in our core business – designing, manufacturing, marketing, financing, and servicing terrific cars, SUVs, trucks, and electrified vehicles. At the same time, we are aggressively pursuing emerging opportunities through Ford Smart Mobility, which is our plan to be a leader in connectivity, mobility, autonomous vehicles, the customer experience, and data and analytics. These new services will help us provide our global customers with new products and services that will help them grow and operate their business more efficiently and effectively.