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SPOTLIGHT: Craig Pullen, business analyst, Airmax Remote

Craig Pullen, business analyst, Airmax Remote

Since 2004, Airmax Remote has been providing telematics technology to the fleet industry. The company specialises in providing integrated, telematics services to Corporate Fleets and White Label Solutions to the Leasing and Contract Hire Sectors. The Great British Fleet Event spoke to Craig Pullen, business analyst at Airmax Remote.

Pullen has spent his life in the fleet and leasing sector, he says, having gotten involved as a result of a college work placement. He commented, “The sadly departed, and much missed Sarah Ali gave me my first break, offering me a vehicle purchasing job when I finished my studies. I accepted, and I’ve been involved in the fleet world ever since.” Since then, he’s worked for leasing companies of varying stripes; from large to mid-size and a start-up.

Pullen’s car history also belongs in fleet, with the first car he drove regularly being his mother’s Austin Maestro 1.3 City X, in silver, followed by his own first car; a Mk2 Ford Fiesta 1.0 Popular Plus in blue. British classics feature high on Pullen’s car history, including stints in MGBs, a Triumph TR7 and an MG-F, though German rivals crept into the mix too, with a couple of Audi 80 Coupés and a Volkswagen Scirocco.

And, like the motortrade, the Germanic theme has endured the test of time with Pullen currently running a Volkswagen Golf R-Line 1.5 TFSI 150 Evo. “I’ve always chosen Audi A4’s or Volkswagen Golf. The Volkswagen Golf is all the car that anyone needs,” he concludes.

However, that doesn’t stop him from dreaming about one day owning a – very British – Jaguar E-Type V12 convertible, in BRG with cream leather and knock-on wire wheels. Pullen affirms, “For me, the E-Type is the ultimate expression of automotive design. From every angle, it’s perfect, and has never been bettered.”

Serving as entertainment while on the road, Pullen is an avid listener of BBC 6 music, which he says provides a great blend of credible new music and classics from all genres. However, as a self-confessed news junkie he often switches over to BBC Radio 4, although 4 Extra serves as comedic relief. In a similar vein, Pullen adds, “Podcasts; Athletico Mince, Bob Mortimer’s show, always makes me laugh, but I have also found myself listening to a few serial killer shows; ‘My Favourite Murder’ being one. I’m a huge Steve Coogan fan; the Alan Partridge audiobooks; Nomad and I, Partridge are works of utterly sublime comic genius. Keith Richard’s autobiography is incredible too; highly recommended.”

What is Airmax Remote’s focus for 2019?

The company focus for 2019 is one of constant improvement, and adding value as part of our core proposition. Our competitors are not standing still, and neither are we. We’re introducing several digital transformation initiatives, and working on a delivery roadmap to enhance our products and services. The driver behind this is to further improve the customer experience and make us more efficient.

How much have you found the fleet sector is changing?

The landscape has changed at a pace previously unseen. It’s almost unrecognisable from the fleet sector of 10 years ago. Driving is not viewed in the same way as it once was. People reaching driving age now aren’t as desperate as I was to take to the road, and if they do, the car ownership model is not fit for their purpose. That generation have access to several Mobility as a Service (MaaS) options, utilising block chain concepts.

What’s keeping today’s fleet manager awake at night?

Many issues are keeping fleet managers awake. Duty of Care, electrification, automation, driving data, clean air zones, GDPR and fuel prices. The fleet manager of today needs to be well informed, able to access data on demand and react quickly to prevailing market conditions. This was still the case five years ago, but even more so today.

How do you see that continuing to change over the next 5-10 years?

The car ownership model and MaaS will change the role significantly. There will always be a requirement for a fleet manager, but their traditional duties of maintenance management, procurement and disposal will change, if not disappear completely. Their responsibilities will lie in the implementation of fleet policy, assessing their drivers’ needs, frequently reviewing their policies to ensure that the transport solution is fit for purpose, compliant, good value and environmentally sustainable.

What sort of challenges and opportunities could this present?

The new breed of fleet manager will need to be tech-savvy and not resistant to change. The challenge will be keeping abreast of new technologies and training people accordingly. Fleet managers and their companies should prepare for this by staying closely linked with an appropriate trade body; e.g., BVRLA, RHA, SMMT, etc. It’s by doing this that their voice can be heard, influencing future policy and being prepared for its implementation.