What fleet are we talking about?
At R.A.S Intérim, vehicles were bought from car dealerships and financed in Lease with Option to Buy over 3 years.
For Philagro, vehicles were mostly on Medium Term Rental (MTL) or Long-Term Rental (LTL) to avoid most of the workload related to management and sale. The leasing company ordered the vehicles and took care of the insurance, claims, registrations, and everything else related to the vehicle. While it simplified management for Philagro, it came with a cost.
The limits of fleet management in Excel
Nicolas Deshaires explains:
“A year ago, we were using an Excel spreadsheet to manage a fleet comprising of 175 vehicles. With all the unpredictable elements that come with our line of work, we struggled to keep track of vehicle assignment, fuel cards, fines, expense claims, and basically all the data associated with renting a vehicle.
We did some research online, consulted with one of Notilus’ competition, which proposed a tool that was both outdated and out of our budget constraints. In the end, Notilus’ offer, a co-designed solution, pleased us the most.
The lack of visibility over our growing fleet ultimately pushed us to take the next step. After all, Excel spreadsheets can only do so much in business discussions. What we needed was a simple and effective tool.”
“Excel had its limitations. We would end up leaving out certain information because it got too complex to manage, given the number of lines, and limiting: we felt as if we were working on a raw database” adds Farida SAMAOUI.
“To find a solution, we went to benchmark partners with an activity related to ours. One thing leading to another, our company’s IT department steered us toward Notilus because we were already working with them on another software.
We wanted to manage fines more easily and quickly, gain more visibility into our contracts, and negotiate amendments without difficulties. And track mileage, as well. In short, we wanted a tool that was both adapted to our needs and simple to control“.
Why did you choose the Notilus solution to manage your fleet?
Farida SAMAOUI explains:
“Some suppliers had a good command of the core business, others offered to sell licenses, and some offered an outdated tool. Notilus was transparent in explaining that their tool was still under construction and required our involvement in its design.
We decided to bet on an enriching experience, knowing that it would take time and that issues would unavoidably occur along the way. But the end product would be in line with our needs. Throughout the project, we were kept apprised of version changes, new features, or improvements via a newsletter. This made for a smoother process.”
Nicolas DESHAIRES found the co-construction experience very enjoyable:
“This allowed us to start with something very open and proactive. We could quickly see the result of our time investment, which sparked us to continuously revise our way of working. We played a very active role in the development of the solution and were involved in many exchanges with Notilus’ teams. The roadmap was clear throughout the process.”
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A tedious but necessary preparation
Farida SAMAOUI recalls:
“We had to collect data we didn’t have. Because our car fleet was small, we didn’t feel the need to extensively document it when we started. For instance, we didn’t record contract numbers or endorsements, didn’t have a view of the vehicles on the road, their exact models, the claims, etc. There was a lot of human error as well. Thanks to the continuous support of Notilus, we were determined to be rigorous this time, throughout the long and laborious phase of data collection, at the beginning of the project. We had to ask HR for support because we did not have access to some data, including permits and employee numbers, on our Excel spreadsheet. We also called the legal department for the RGPD part. Thankfully IT was spared.”
For Nicolas DESHAIRES, data collection was carried out by the General Services department and was spread over almost a full month. A few errors were detected and eliminated along the way, so they could build from a sound base.
Radical but desired changes
The change was quite radical from an operational point of view.
At Philagro, it was eagerly awaited:
“We knew the fleet management tool was -and still is- under construction, but we didn’t experience the transition negatively.”
According to Nicolas DESHAIRES, it was quite fun at R.A.S Intérim:
“We were guided through the development of a tool that was pleasant to set up and use. It is constantly evolving and we are involved in this process. We proposed the project to management, emphasizing the time-consuming and complex nature of fleet management. In the end, we have seen considerable time savings, possibly cutting in half the time spent on fleet management.”
The experience was similar at Philagro, where the General Services department is made up of multi-skilled positions that handle various tasks. The car fleet was growing regularly in France, not to mention abroad and they needed, at least in France for the time being, an efficient and sustainable solution to manage contracts and amendments. The project was submitted to the management, which fully supported it.
A process in two stages
R.A.S Intérim has gone through two stages:
“For a while, we continued to work with both Excel and the solution, before gradually discarding the old tool.”
Same thing at Philagro for a few months:
“We had to be careful to save the right data. Once the solution was implemented, we had to adopt good reflexes on Notilus YourWay. The tool is very intuitive and scalable, with easy access to information, nothing like the hidden or overgrown columns of Excel. In addition to the support team, we can open tickets and have access to online tutorial help”.
A change in the relationship with other services
Farida SAMAOUI explains:
“We have become more involved in our relationship with HR. Before, each time a new employee joined the company, data was updated as he or she went along. Now, all the information, about a new driver, for example, is entered in one go, without having to go through dozens of email exchanges.”
At R.A.S Intérim, relations with the management have become more fluid:
“Management relies more on us to present reports on the global fleet or subsidiaries. We can now respond quickly and simply as historization gives us a complete view of each vehicle and driver. The tool has been opened to some members of the management and we’ll eventually present it to the accounting department.”
Centralized information and changes in the relationship with the driver and providers
Farida SAMAOUI now can easily analyze amendments proposed relative to her mileage limits.
Nicolas DESHAIRES explains that he has centralized all the supplier information about the vehicle, such as dealer, financing banks, fuel card, maintenance, insurance, etc.
They both found that the solution has saved them time and eased access to centralized documents.
Electronic Document Management (EDM) has made it possible to collect a lot of documents: each vehicle file is associated with a vehicle registration document, contracts, invoices, maintenance plan, claims, etc.
R.A.S Intérim is currently integrating everything related to mileage statements and uses emails to keep drivers updated. For now, drivers at Philagro have found the tool to be transparent, which wasn’t the case before, as they had their share of lost or missing documentation. Today everything is scanned by the solution and centralized.
Farida SAMAOUI recognizes some tensions with the renters:
“We have better control over our fleet and can detect previously invisible information. There is a world of difference between recording mileage data in Excel and visualizing it in curves. Thanks to the software’s projections, its access to contracts and amendments, and immediate identification of potential losses, we are now empowered in our negotiations with the leasing company for amendments that are more in line with our needs. On the other side of the table, they are having a little trouble adapting to this new situation.”
Nowadays Nicolas DESHAIRES manages his employees’ fines with just a few clicks:
“We have a direct connector to ANTAI which allows us to quickly report a driver. The time required to process a driver’s case has been reduced by several hours. Drivers are the first to be surprised by our speed of processing. This will raise their awareness.
Farida SAMAOUI also highlights the solution’s computational speed:
“We no longer need to send multiple emails to drivers telling them to follow through the ANTAI procedure. Unreceived tickets are a thing of the past. Every day, we reap the benefits of our moving from Excel to a dedicated solution. Although the transition cannot be improvised and requires work upstream, daily tasks are streamlined afterwards, as the software improves and users are better informed.”
Louis RAVEL explains that Notilus works with enterprises in telematics, as well as rental and oil companies.
“In the future, we will move on to behavioural, consumption, and maintenance analysis. In addition, YourWay allows comparisons of services between rental companies.
Some tips on managing a fleet project
Mélodie ARENOU, Automotive Fleet Manager at Fiducial, also recounts her experience:
“I used to manage fleets of several thousand vehicles and for about fifteen years we relied on software. We would implement a lot of connectors with HR, accounting, and legal information systems, for contracts and regulatory follow-up with rental companies, oil companies, etc. Digital solutions can also help carry out budgetary forecasts, set contract deadlines, define business seasonality, or issue warnings to reckless drivers, as well as manage different types of equipment. They offer a comprehensive view of the fleet, its costs, and its employees.
Thank you for reading the written transcript of our workshop, and our sincere thanks to all the speakers:
- Nicolas DESHAIRES – General resources manager – R.A.S Intérim
- Farida SAMAOUI – Fleet manager – Philagro
- Louis RAVEL – Fleet management expert – Notilus
- Mélodie ARENOU – Head of the Automotive Fleet – Fiducial
Our solution is dedicated to the moblity management. In addition to the expense reports management you can plan, book and track your business trips. It is also possible to manage your car fleet.