Gerald McCaffrey, Citroën's National Fleet Manager, tells Teletrac about the changing landscape that car manufacturers face in the next few years as driver specifications become more integral to the marketplace. While the needs of fleet managers and drivers may vary, one factor in particular is crucial to both parties: getting the job done efficiently.
Q: Please speak a bit about your role at Citroën.
A: My official title is National Fleet Operations Manager and I have a team of seven Area Fleet Managers, they are effectively our corporate sales team. They visit fleets of 50+ vehicles —that's cars and vans and they look after existing accounts and they also hunt for new businesses. We have some fleets that outright purchase their vans and/or cars and some will lease them, Public Sector fleets tend to differ from corporate fleets in their purchasing/leasing habits.
Q: How are fleet manufacturers reacting to the adoption of GPS fleet tracking technology?
A: There’s evidence to suggest technology is playing an increasingly important part of how companies run their fleets. Larger van fleets can see the benefits of having on-board technology to track how their assets are being used and monitor driver behaviour. On the car side, the C1 Connexion for example, shows how the car provides an even better retail consumer offer. In addition, it can drive efficiency and savings for the drivers in that environment.
Q: Do you find that GPS tracking technology has been useful for drivers?
For the vans, drivers really enjoy the SmartNav facility. The two things that they tend to like most about Smartnav are full post code entry [zip code address],some factory fit systems don’t offer that. In addition, the dynamic traffic updates offer are a big driver benefit in terms of avoiding traffic congestion. If the customer wishes to closely manage their fleet driver’s behaviour, it’s helpful if they upgrade to Fleet Director. It’s an advantage to have the hardware fitted to the standard and therefore it is a lower cost to potentially upgrade.
Q: In general, what features are drivers looking for in vehicles?
A: I would say van drivers are enjoying creature comforts, such as the specifications that they enjoy in their cars. There is more recognition now that a van driver spends the majority of his working day in his van. There is becoming more demand for features that accommodate the driver during their working day in the van such as navigation, Bluetooth and air conditioning.