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Cleanliness of the supply chain in vehicle movement is becoming important, in more ways than one

Electric vehicles have introduced a new sphere of complication to vehicle movement, with stark pros and cons to the two methods of driving or trucking the ever-increasing numbers of EVs when they need to be delivered, reassigned or relocated.

“The major dilemma for people is whether to drive or transport, particularly with major leasing companies that may need to rethink the mileage boundaries for when they truck rather than drive,” says Engineius’s Calum Slowther.

“EV drivers generally take an electric vehicle for environmental or cost reasons, and if they’ve got an environmental conscience then a vehicle arriving on the back of a diesel truck isn’t giving a very good first impression.” He says the younger generation in particular are very in tune with the environmental cause, and will be conscious of the delivery method deployed.

But on the flip-side, driving electric vehicles to their destination is also problematic. As well as depots needing to have the correct level of infrastructure to charge every EV they are then having to move, the current charging network has a degree of unpredictability that makes longer-distance deliveries in particular more difficult to complete on schedule.

“You can’t deliver at 9am 150 miles away, especially if you have to deliver it with a high state of charge,” Slowther continues. “There is a shift in mentality, so the window for delivery has got to be wider.”

Companies can also benefit in some cases from being open about the level of charge they commit to providing, as committing to signing over a car with a high level of charge can lead to drivers diverting off-route to find faster chargers, or being immobile while they wait for the final 20% of a recharge that takes the longest time to complete.

“We tell customers to set the percentage for delivery at 40% or 50% rather than 80%. It’s normal to deliver a car with a quarter of a tank of fuel, so why try and charge an EV to 80% or 100%?” Slowther asks. “People only mind if you have made a commitment to them; it’s all about communication.”

DELIVERING ON ALL LEVELS

The drive to be clean is a key focus for fleets, but in the vehicle movement supply chain, that takes on more than one meaning, with eco-friendliness joined by a cleanliness in terms of suppliers being free from issues around compliance and anything that might cast shadow on a company’s corporate social responsibility status.

“We think people increasingly care about how movements are being carried out, and increasingly care about the whole supply chain and have a duty of care,” says Calum Slowther, commercial director at vehicle movement expert Engineius.

“From an environmental standpoint, the onus is on the biggest companies to set out the standards that suppliers have go to conform to – vehicle movement is a very fragmented market and a local guy with a couple of trucks isn’t going to have an environmental policy.”

Cleanliness from a compliance point of view is equally important, with companies needing to ensure that their suppliers are sufficiently checked and vetted.

“Electric vehicles are heavier to transport, so it’s important to make sure that the supply chain is both capable of and experienced in transporting electric vehicles,” adds Slowther.

MOVING SPEECH

Engineius commercial director Calum Slowther gives his thoughts on a modern route through fleet logistics

 1. Looking to the future.

Calum Slother Engenious

Calum Slowther, Commercial Director, Engineius

Fleet managers are thinking about how to future-proof their fleet strategy, seeking to set up an operation that is cleaner and more flexible.

2. Trail of transparency

Being clear and visible, and having a clear audit trail about what has happened and when is increasingly appreciated. Customers are definitely willing to pay a little bit more, versus the casual way things were done in years gone by.

3. Consistency and control

Something we hear from customers over and over again is that they need vehicle delivery to be consistent; there’s no point 85% of your deliveries being flashy all-encompassing experiences if there are problems with the other 15%. Customers need a feeling of having consistency and control.

4. Handover hint

How does a business handle a handover? Some of the most innovative OEMs with the most complex vehicles are doing introductions and handovers online, rather than leave it just to the driver’s knowledge.

5. End-customer agility is important

The traditional route to market is a long-term commitment with conditions around scale and volume, but with the market changing and a lot going on, our view is that businesses need to stay a bit more agile than that and be open to a shift between channels as the market shifts – traditional sale, digital and direct to end customers.