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David Brennan's blog: Investing in technology to improve productivity

Date: 15 June 2018

As a nation we are well known for our industrious spirit. The new industrial revolution in which we find ourselves will push for scaleups and businesses to have access to the best talent and tools and Britain will be looking to lead the charge post-Brexit. However, despite improving confidence, British businesses still seem to be lagging behind our European counterparts when it comes to productivity levels.  

Productivity, which measures output per hour, output per job and output per worker for the whole economy, grew in the UK by 0.9% and 0.7% in the final two quarters of 2017, but recent reports suggest it would take five days for British workers to get as much done as French or Germans achieve in just four.

A key component of this is the willingness to invest in new technology, which helps to keep businesses mobile.

Digitise to minimise

Digital transformation within an organisation not only leads to greater efficiencies regarding time saved, but by proxy results in lower running costs. With the mobility market on the cusp of a new era of disruptive technology - from electric to autonomous vehicles - businesses of all sizes must choose to stick or twist; invest in tech or risk being left behind.

Automate processes

Key to this is automation. In the seminal days of running a fleet, mobility managers would be required to pore over a bucketload of paperwork just to ensure vehicles were compliant.

But technology has eliminated the need for this kind of data entry to be carried out manually. Although all Nexus accounts have dedicated account managers and customer service teams, our rental software IRIS confirms 90% of bookings with no human interaction. This is evidently a much more streamlined way of doing things for both supplier and end-user. For example, our technology was recently used to reallocate management resource within one client's organisation, saving them around £50,000 per year.    

Data is the new currency

Data is big business and big data even more so. Companies should not be afraid of harnessing data to streamline processes, reducing waste and cutting expenditure. For example, a business with a large fleet of vehicles may not be using them efficiently, or even at all. Rather than investing in depreciating assets for your mobility needs, it may be more effective to look to solutions such as rental during peak periods, so you only pay for the vehicles when you need them.

In the last couple of months, we've launched a new and improved Management Information suite to allow our customers to automatically identify cost inefficiencies in the rental booking process, advising fleet managers of where money could be saved.

It is this technology that has helped our clients cut their rental spend by up to 20% over the last few years - a figure we aim to better as future software updates, including IRIS V5 this summer, are rolled out.

A means to an end?

A healthy business is ultimately about the bottom line and it's clear technology can be used to improve this. Technology has always been at the heart of everything we do at Nexus and it has allowed us to evolve from a corporate rental provider to a mobility consultancy. Clients value our expertise because by helping to cut costs, we enable businesses to improve their productivity levels and this benefits the bottom line. This type of consultancy sees us forge trusting relationships, leading to longer-term business interaction. 

When it comes to access to mobility, whether it's investing in a specialist supplier to manage your fleet, buying in software, or developing it in-house, fleet managers and decision makers should be looking at technology now, to achieve cost savings in future. Doing so will not only help in the battle to identify inefficiencies and improve productivity, but it will keep your business moving in the long-term.        

David Brennan is CEO at Nexus Vehicle Rental