ALD Automotive: Fleet management with a full range of support services
With a direct presence in 37 countries, fleet management company ALD Automotive is well placed to help multinationals that require vehicles across the world. Mike Masterson, CEO of ALD International, explains how the company can help corporates cut costs and reduce their carbon emissions.
For any corporate requiring vehicles, fleet management can be a difficult balancing act. It's not only a matter of leasing the appropriate cars, ensuring they're the most cost-effective and environmentally friendly options available; it's also about day-to-day maintenance: fuel management, driver coaching and in-vehicle telematics, to name but a few aspects.
While this can pose a challenge even for small companies, in the case of a large multinational, the complexity is of a different order of magnitude. Responsible for a vast quantity of vehicles, the finance director must work out how to optimise the global sourcing strategy and develop policies that work all around the world. But it can be hard to maintain consistency when so many factors differ from one country to the next. "One of our clients is an international pharmaceutical group, which had a lot of cars leased across the world in different ways but had little clear idea about what product they had and how that fleet was being managed or controlled," says Mike Masterson, CEO of ALD International, the holding of the ALD Automotive Group.
"We now provide services to this group in more than 20 countries. In some, the best solution for the customer has been a full service lease, and in other countries just a management contract. And we're able to report on the overall fleet, which optimises their cost."
ALD Automotive is ideally positioned to help companies manage their vehicles, whatever the scale of the task. As the operational leasing and fleet management division of Societe Generale, the company has a direct presence across 37 countries (including all the BRIC nations) and boasts the best coverage in its sector. With over 955,000 vehicle contracts worldwide, it can function as a strong strategic partner for businesses, providing funding and ancillary support services to corporate and consumer markets. ALD Automotive believes that operational full-service leasing relies on experience of local service staff in collaboration with local partners. It prefers to employ nationals rather than expatriates, and consequently benefits from an intimate knowledge of each market. At the same time, it maintains a central organisation and has commonality in its systems, with a shared CRM and data warehouse used across the entire group.
"Although you need to work with local suppliers, local customers and local drivers, it's supported by standard systems and product definition, which helps to sell the same product across a lot of different countries," Masterson says. The company therefore benefits from home-grown expertise and economies of scale. "Because we buy an enormous number of cars and an enormous number of tyres, we have a great capacity to buy all these things cheaper than a normal corporate can," explains Masterson. "So we're able to produce at a very low cost, and the management cost of providing these outsourced services is very low."
A comprehensive offering
While its core product is a full service lease, ALD Automotive also provides in-depth consultancy services, producing a car policy that the customer can define for all its drivers. It knows exactly which models of cars to advise, both in terms of cutting costs and mitigating environmental impact. As regards the latter, the company is committed to reducing its carbon footprint. Its CO2 emissions are dropping every year, as a result of an improvement in the selection of vehicles and mobility solutions offered.
The company also provides residual value risk - in other words, insulating the customer against the risk of used car prices going down. Other support services include TCO financial modelling, policy management, licence checking, driver profiling, driver coaching, accident management, daily rental, fuel management, telematics and a fuel deduction programme.
It's a comprehensive offering, and one that builds on a rich heritage in fleet management. Active since 1946, ALD Automotive is now the fastest growing full-service leasing company around.
"I think we can help facilitate the lowest cost solutions, in terms of total cost of ownership," says Masterson. "We have something strong to offer in full-service leasing, and have been rapidly growing on the back of this platform. We feel it's a solid model for the future."