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SPOTLIGHT: Jonathan Holland, managing director, ADESA UK

The Great British Fleet Event gets the lowdown from Jonathan Holland, MD at ADESA UK, about the fleet industry, his desire for a Shelby Cobra despite having ordered a plug-in hybrid BMW and what ADESA is up to in the coming years.

Having been in the fleet industry for more than 35 years, Holland says he was involved in one of the first ever dedicated ‘fleet’ sales. By trade, his accountancy background has put him in good stead for his role at ADESA, he says.

In terms of automotive, Holland’s humble beginnings started with his first car; a 1973 M-reg Mini 850cc in burgundy red, which he says was great fun despite getting wet feet periodically.And, despite having just placed an order for a plug-in hybrid BMW X5 45e, which he says offers great Benefit-in-Kind (BiK) perks, what he really lusts after is an original 1964 Shelby AC Cobra.

Holland enjoys listening to Paul Oakenfold and Don Diablo podcasts when driving and says he couldn’t live without the Viewranger app – which is a great tool to ensure he never gets lost when hiking with his wife and dogs. Holland added, “It’s a modern-day version of on OS map, which I always loved using before smartphones even existed.”

How much have you found the fleet sector is changing? And what are the biggest trends driving that change? How have you responded to them?

Environmental and cost considerations have always been important in the fleet sector, but legislative changes are increasingly bringing these aspects together. The proposal of the government to bring forward the banning of internal combustion cars to 2035 will impact decisions made today.

While these decisions will address environmental issues, the challenge facing fleets is to control the higher costs associated with going electric.

What’s keeping today’s fleet manager awake at night – what solutions are they looking for now that they weren’t five years ago?

Fleet managers are kept awake thinking about how to reduce their drivers’ pain points at the same time as maximising their net returns. Fleet managers need faster and smarter ways of managing their defleet process.

The difference between now and five years ago is the way the rate of change, across all these challenges, has accelerated. This means fleet managers are increasingly looking at ways to future proof the decisions they make today.

How do you see that continuing to change over the next five or ten years? How do you think will the role of fleet managers, and the vehicles and tools at their disposal, might differ from today?

Fleet management has remained fundamentally unchanged for many years, but now fleet managers are faced with the need to embrace new technology and to make it work on a cost basis for the company and on a practical basis for employees. Going electric is seemingly unescapable at this juncture and it may be that not everyone will be as up to the task, so fleet managers will be looking at alternative forms of mobility. This may be in greater use of public transport, car sharing or short-term rental solutions.

As far as tools are concerned, fleet managers will need to embrace the latest technology, including Artificial Intelligence, to keep ahead of the game, alleviate operational pressure and plan with confidence.

What sort of challenges and opportunities could this present? And how should fleets prepare for this?

Fleet managers will increasingly need to look beyond the traditional provision of company vehicles to the provision of cost effective and environmentally-friendly solutions. Fleets are already on this journey, but the process is likely to accelerate as more practical and cost-efficient alternative solutions become available through the use of technology.

We know that the EV market’s dependency on battery technology development is a huge factor, and the interim is more a challenge than the result. With such vast strides being made, the strategy for disposing of early EVs will be an important battlefield for fleet managers in the coming years.

What would you like to see change in that time – in terms of attitudes, legislation, incentives perhaps – to help the sector move forwards?

I would like to see greater awareness of the cost savings which can be achieved by fleets in the remarketing process. It’s time to consider the true cost of vehicle remarketing – fleets need to factor in the Total Cost of Disposal to their Total Cost of Ownership calculations.

Remarketing tends to be the forgotten part of the fleet management equation with fleets often relying on the traditional process. The industry is due for a shakeup. Greater cost and time efficiencies can and will be achieved through online remarketing. By reducing days to sell, logistical and inspection costs, values can be truly maximised, risks can be mitigated and carbon footprints can be reduced.

What is your company’s focus for 2020? Are you expanding, launching new products or changing your operation? And what’s that in response to? 

Our focus for 2020 is to upheave the traditional routes to market and show our customers a faster, smarter and easier way to get the best out their stock when de-fleeting.

At the heart of this is our online auction platform ADESA UPSTREAM and our AI powered driver self-inspection tool ADESA IVI – two of our solutions that can take a vehicle from inspection to sale in a single day.

By reducing days to sell and countless vehicle movements we are keeping our customers Total Cost of Disposal as low as possible as well as removing a number of driver pain points from the vehicle inspection process. We know that changing industry attitudes and habits isn’t an easy undertaking – but that just makes us all the more determined.

Written by Jonathan Musk

Jonathan turned to motoring journalism in 2013 having founded, edited and produced Autovolt - one of the UK's leading electric car publications. He has also written and produced books on both Ferrari and Hispano-Suiza, while working as an international graphic designer for the past 15 years. As the automotive industry moves towards electrification, Jonathan brings a near-unrivalled knowledge of EVs and hybrids to Fleet World Group.

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