Shell recently launched its B2B Fleet Solutions portfolio in India, aimed at addressing the fleet management challenges faced by businesses and fleet operators across the country
Shell Fleet Solutions aim to reduce the total cost of ownership (TCO) for fleet owners, leveraging its portfolio of products and services, comprising Shell Fuels, Shell Fleet Prepaid programme, and Shell Telematics. Auto Tech Review met up with Parminder Kohli, General Manager, Marketing, Business Development & Operations, Shell (Above), and Sanjay Varkey, General Manager, Retail India & Oman, Shell (Below), to understand about the fleet business, among others.
Shell Fleet Solutions offer three-fold benefits and offerings. First, Shell Fuels, are formulated with an exclusive dual detergent technology called Dynaflex that comprises complex blends specially designed by Shell that enriches its new fuel formulations with powerful cleaning agents and provides an advantage over other fuels. The second offering is the Shell Fleet Prepaid programme that enables fleet owners to conduct transparent operations via extensive control over fuel spend, ease of operations, enhanced convenience,and superior security to prevent and detect fraud; thus, resulting in reduced total TCO. These fleet managers are provided with a prepaid card that can be utilised at Shell stations for fuel and other commodities, with the ability to fix various parameters on the usage of this card by the vehicle driver. The third offering is Shell Telematics that is AIS 140-compliant and provides enhanced control, safety and efficiency of fleet operations.
The telematics technology is evolving rapidly, especially in the way in which insurance companies are looking to leverage telematics, noted Kohli Shell is not developing the telematics technology itself, but is keen to partner with the best in the industry and integrate their solutions into the company’s overall mobility package. The focus is on integration since the ability and method in which these solutions are integrated is what generates the differentiation for Shell, observed Varkey.
The challenge with data is about the way in which it is packaged so that the customer does not drown in it. Telematics needs to offer insight-driven data that can be packaged for the customer in a simple-to-understand portal. The idea is to offer a simple visual tool that even a fleet manager, who is not very sophisticated and running a small fleet, can understand, noted Kohli. This is where Shell comes into play to provide a customer interface that integrates a lot of data sources.
INDIAN MARKET SCENARIO
The company is carrying out pilots of these fleet solutions as well as newer products with OEMs around the globe, including India. Shell is currently offering its solutions as an aftermarket product for the automotive market. However, India is an evolving space where the company is evaluating where OEMs would find best value for such fleet telematics solutions, noted Varkey. Shell’s global presence helps significantly in carrying out discussions to take local solutions internationally, or bringing globally-used solutions to India. India is a value-conscious market and everyone does the math to see the total TCO, be it fuels, lubricants, efficiency or convenience – every segment of the automotive industry sees value in the premium price of products, stated Varkey.
The company during the course of discussions with customers in India discovered that some of them have issues in paying an upfront cost for telematics installation. These customers prefer to make telematics part of a variable offer that does not involve an initial investment, for which Shell may offer plans like monthly charges or credit in the future, said Kohli. The idea is to make the company’s solutions fit for purpose, which will be developed based on customer feedback.
For the hardware involved in this telematics fleet solution, Shell is working closely with a local partner in India to make the solution work with the platform because there is data interchange and integration. The solution is not software that is agnostic to hardware because the hardware determines a lot of the functionality itself. However, the importance of developing the hardware to set standards is in delivering the quality of integration that the company wants, said Kohli.
The company’s Bengaluru-based Tech Centre India has played an important role in the deployment of Shell Fleet Solutions in India. The development work carried out was critical because the team at the Indian tech centre ensured the ability to integrate with all the partners involved in deploying this solution, observed Varkey. The team has met the user testing and various other requirements that enabled the use of telematics fleet solutions in India, which now enables Shell to leverage the strengths of this team for deployment of this and other solutions across the globe.
The development work carried out by the local team at the tech centre concerning integration is quite deep. It was not just integration from the hardware to the payment platform, but is all the way into site systems, which require round-the-clock performance capabilities, explained Kohli. This development team worked with multiple site locations to offer a solution that works seamlessly along with enhanced levels of security. This centre is being increasingly used for various other value propositions, especially since the company is developing other sophisticated B2B models.
The future of transportation, Kohli insists, will witness multiple fuel options that will offer fleet managers of the future more options about the choice of vehicle and the impacts it would have on total cost of ownership. Freight brokerage will become critical in the context of the future mobility ecosystem as it will enable highly-efficient functioning of transportation systems, he noted. Therefore, integrated solutions that offer just the right amount and specification of data for fleet managers will ensure efficient fleet mobility in future.
TEXT: Naveen Arul