Zero emission vehicles: buyers are from Mars, sellers are from Venus

In zero-emission city logistics projects, conversations between buyers and suppliers of vehicles often get bogged down in Babylonian confusion. Vehicle procurement is no longer business-as-usual. But neither is the sales. There is a lack of knowledge on both sides of the table needed to make zero-emission city logistics affordable and reliably available.

From vehicle to zero-emission mobility services

For fleet managers, purchasing delivery vehicles was simple in the past. You made a choice for different types of vehicles and a small number of OEM brands. The fleet manager and the buyer together put pressure on the seller for a competitive monthly lease fee or kilometer price. The performance of the vehicles is known, the prices transparent. The market provided a level playing field for everyone. Buyers talk about a “straight rebuy”. For sellers, the simple game was: negotiate smartly.

This is not a ‘modified rebuy’

One of the major risks when purchasing zero-emission vehicles is that both parties will regard this as a “modified rebuy”. A situation in which a company finds itself when it has already purchased a certain product before but wishes to reorient itself or make some changes for the next purchase. There is a lot more to it when buying zero-emission vehicles.

The affordable, reliable and risk-free use of electric vehicles requires the choice of the right vehicle (often as part of a different logistics concept), additional services such as financing the battery, a smart charging infrastructure, the purchase of energy (or solar panels), on-site maintenance, planning systems that are connected with the vehicle exchanging data about the actual range and the guidance of the drivers. Drivers determine the success of the implementation of EV.

This is a ‘new task’

In terms of purchasing, buying e-mobility is a ‘new task’ with many uncertainties in the purchasing and sales process. Certainly, in the first years, the fleet managers will be faced with many surprises and adjustments. But it is also complicated for the sellers. If they revert to the old tricks, then the offer will not match expectations. The seller also needs internal support from colleagues to make a “customer intimate” proposal for zero-emission services that is profitable for all parties in the long run.

EV requires e-mobility services, blurring the boundary between a hard product and soft services. The individual customer is in control. This requires strong coordination of many processes and a high quality of the internal organization: order processing, installation, updates, training, invoicing, after-sales, and return procedures must be in perfect shape. Also with external parties such as lease companies, HR-trainers, TMS-providers, and energy suppliers. The hard technique is ready, now it is important to get the soft technique in order as well. Much can be learned from the lessons learned in other industries; the subscription economy.

Buyers are from Mars, sellers are from Venus

In preparing zero-emission mobility contracts, confusion will happen: buyers come from Mars, sellers come from Venus. During the first projects, companies get to know each other better and better. Going deep and doing it together, real-time monitoring and learning as much as possible, and making adjustments often. You can work it out.

Walther Ploos van Amstel.

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