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SPOTLIGHT: Richard Evans, head of business development, Jaama

This week’s Great British Fleet Event spotlight focuses on Jaama’s head of business development, Richard Evans, who talked to us about the company’s exciting Maintenance Exchange solution for fleets, as well as offering his perception of the past and future of fleet.

How did you get into the fleet sector?

After leaving college, I was offered two jobs in a short space of time… one was a bar on a greek party island, and another was working for a fleet management software company in Birmingham… The rest is history. Who needs sun, sea and souvlaki anyway!?

What is your current role and what are your responsibilities?

Head of business development, which means every day is different. My week generally consists of nurturing and guiding a great team of people and engaging with clients looking for innovative technology solutions. There is still nothing better than signing a new client after months, sometimes years of effort – seeing the way in which we can help improve their operation through our Key2 software suite is still so satisfying after 8 years.

What do you think has been the most influential fleet car ever?

This is still yet to come – a pure EV with 400+ mile range will take this title. For now, a 1980’s BMW 3 Series “e30” will have to do. The first ever premium fleet car (despite BMW claiming they didn’t make fleet cars at the time)!

What one fleet industry-relevant thing would you change if you were able to go back in time?

Government taxation. Freight, logistics, transport and fleet do so much for our economy and to keep our country moving – yet countless governments choose to come up with new tariffs, taxes and supplements and don’t reinvest anywhere near enough back into the transport infrastructure.

What is your company’s focus for 2019?

To further improve our customers’ experience and to launch new products and services that support that aim.

What’s in the pipeline for your company in the future?

We’re always launching new modules & solutions. The biggest one on the horizon at the moment is Maintenance Exchange – which is designed to seamlessly connect commercial fleets to their maintenance supply chain: A one stop shop for booking, job approval onto invoicing and receiving compliance documentation.

What are the key trends to look out for in fleet?

Unfortunately, it’s a politics game – so at the moment your guess is as good as mine. Whatever happens with Brexit, taxation policy and government direction on emissions will dictate what we should look out for in the coming months and years.

Given the current uncertainty from government, what can fleets do to mitigate this?

Invest in a robust fleet management system of course! You can only base future fleet investment strategy on your own business intelligence to manage costs, ensure compliance and improve efficiency. 

In the short 5-10 year term, what do you see changing in the fleet world?

As “Generation Z” reach the age of being able to drive and buy a car, they probably won’t bother, and it certainly won’t be powered by an ICE! This will undoubtedly have an effect on new and used car ownership: manufacturer production, residual values and drive on-demand autonomous vehicles that require innovative funding solutions. One thing is for sure, we’re set to see unprecedented changes like we’ve not seen before… in my humble opinion, only the most innovative will survive.

Imagine it’s 2040: how do you see the fleet world?

In the same way that software and tech has become a “service”, fleet will be the same. Autonomous vehicle for that business meeting, sir? Would you like ‘next hour’ delivery by drone instead of a Sprinter or Transit dropping off the [wife’s] latest parcel, sir? Your vehicle needs a service today sir… download complete. Have a great day. Hopefully I’ll have my free bus pass by then, oh, wait…

What are your thoughts on electrification, an opportunity or a red herring?

Opportunity. As long as the rest of the world follows suit, and embraces clean energy production. There is simply no point in manufacturing ULEV & EVs if the plants producing them aren’t powered by renewable energy.