Alphabet: a cost-efficient corporate car sharing solution - Michelle Scobie

As market leader of provisions for the UK fleet industry, All Fleet Services has experienced numerous costly and inadequate business mobility solutions. Last year, the company turned to Alphabet's Corporate CarSharing scheme AlphaCity. We spoke with All Fleet's financial controller Michelle Scobie about what's changed since its on-the-go employees started using the solution.

The profitability of your business depends on reliable transportation of printed material. What sparked your interest in AlphaCity?

Michelle Scobie: We transport important documents between our headquarters in Gloucester and other locations throughout the UK on a regular basis. In the past, we've tried nearly every possible solution on the market - courier companies, pool cars, daily rental vehicles... none of them proved to be worth the money. Our employees even used their own private vehicles as a last resort. But, in every case, the associated costs, not just the financial ones, were far too high. When we heard about AlphaCity, it sounded precisely like the kind of innovative mobility solution our business was looking for.

What aspects of AlphaCity ultimately won you over?

Even though we had occasionally turned to couriers in the past, we strongly prefer personal deliveries. It's really the only way we can ensure that essential paperwork and documents get to the right person without damage or delay. Plus, our customers appreciate one of us making an appearance instead of a third party. After running the numbers, we concluded that procuring a car for each employee who is regularly on the road was simply not a financially smart decision. AlphaCity offered us a cost-efficient, hassle-free way to give our employees flexible access to a car whenever they needed it.

How many AlphaCity cars do you currently have and how many employees use the solution?

Let me start by saying that Alphabet was wonderful to work with in setting up AlphaCity for All Fleet; they listened to our needs and proposed a tailor-made solution that really fitted our requirements. Right now, we have one AlphaCity car and eight registered employees. It's a relief to know that we can easily increase the number of AlphaCity vehicles if we determine a growing demand in the future.

Can you highlight how Alphabet's Corporate CarSharing solution is different from pool cars you've used in the past?

Pool cars were especially time consuming to coordinate and manage, which meant higher administration costs and a lot of frustration. Keeping track of car keys also presented significant problems. Occasionally, our employees would have to drive their own cars, because the last person to use the pool car didn't return the keys before leaving for the day. Needless to say, AlphaCity's keyless approach has been a welcome addition.

Tell us more about how AlphaCity's booking procedure and keyless use work.

Let's take Kyla Spicer, one of our fleet administrators, as an example. Kyla's position requires biweekly business trips from our home office in Gloucester to Bristol, Berkshire and South Wales. When she needs a car, she simply reserves it online. On the booking platform, she can see directly when the car is available and when it's booked.

When it's time to set off on her journey, she unlocks the car by holding her personal AlphaCity membership card, with its special chip, up to the windscreen. Inside the car, she punches her PIN into the onboard keypad and she's ready to go. The trick is that, because she booked it online, only her card and PIN will unlock and start the car. As you can see, these clever little innovations definitely make corporate car sharing less of a hassle for employees and the management.

How about costs, is it expensive?

Quite the contrary. AlphaCity costs our company less than we had been paying for courier deliveries alone. Even for a small-to-medium-sized company like ours, AlphaCity is cost-efficient. Actually, the car's excellent fuel economy has dramatically reduced our fuel costs, and this aspect often leads us to choose the AlphaCity car over our less-economical fleet vehicles.

We also have a clear picture of the car's use: AlphaCity provides detailed reports based on reservation information and telematics data the car records, telling us who drove the car, when, for what purpose, the distance travelled and how much fuel was consumed.

What about maintenance and safety issues?

Alphabet is really professional and offers a full-spectrum service that has every aspect covered. Not only does it manage the booking portal, on-site valeting and maintenance of our AlphaCity car, it also facilitates a transparent duty of care. For example, identifying the responsible party in an accident was a big problem when employees used private cars for business purposes.