Today we’re hearing from Conrad Schlenkhoff, COO at Ben Fleet Services, one of our Wunder Marketplace partners. Conrad is responsible for the operations and product development at Ben. In this interview, he talks about their approach to MaaS services and what it means for them to be “hands-on”.
What is Ben’s impact in enabling Mobility-as-a-Service?
We are fighting for smarter mobility usage. Whenever I step out of my door I see endless lines of vehicles, especially cars, which are only used during a fraction of the day. We fight this low vehicle usage by enabling smart mobility for companies that are offering Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS). For example: We help carsharing and micromobility providers to reduce their fleet down-time and idle-time through our full range of hands-on services.
You mentioned hands-on services - do you mean literally hands-on?
Yes. For us “hands-on” is not a catch-phrase but an integral part of the service which we provide. We literally get our hands dirty. We do car cleanings, for instance, where we definitely get our hands dirty in order to provide a ready-to-use car to the MaaS customers.
Now that we have sorted that out - what kind of other services do you offer?
Our mission at Ben is “100% fleet readiness for consumers and customers” and we achieve this by offering a full range of services. In practice, it looks like this:
If you’re a carsharing company, then all of your cars have to be clean or else your customers won’t use them. Or if they do use them, it won’t be for long. Next, your cars have to be charged or fueled in order for a customer to get from A to B, and they have to be located at the right spot at the right time. Every once in a while your cars will be damaged, which makes damage documentation and smart repair necessary.
As you can see, there are a lot of services needed to keep a MaaS fleet running smoothly and most of those services have to be performed hands-on by individuals. That’s what we do.
Taking all those services into account: What are the main challenges you are facing?
As you can imagine, it is rather easy to perform a singular service such as damage documentation. However when you want to combine a lot of services and provide them not only to carsharing fleets, but also to e-scooters, mopeds and company fleets, the operational complexity is a big challenge.
This is due to several factors. As a service provider, you are in touch with different contact persons from various companies which makes the communication complex. Furthermore, you have to obey certain timings when it comes to the fulfillment of the services, and we are working in a very dynamic and ever-changing service landscape which can especially be seen in the rise of e-scooters over the last few years.
Another challenge is that the services that are being conducted are part of the blue collar service industry where price dumping and working with subcontractors is not uncommon. That is why it is important for us to treat our workforce in a fair and respectful way, meaning creating fair working conditions and paying a fair salary.
So how do you handle the fulfillment of all those services?
Not only do we want to deliver the highest quality, we also want to provide our customers with a tech-enabled service. We achieve this by using our own internal disposition software, with which we can dynamically assign our workforce and quickly onboard new customers. We are also able to integrate our services efficiently into the existing systems of our customers via an API and therefore automate processes, allowing us to answer the sometimes heterogeneous needs of mobility providers.
What’s your relationship to Wunder Mobility?
We are part of the wonderful Wunder Marketplace, which is an excellent platform to support companies in shaping the future of mobility.
Furthermore, we identified a mutual use case for our service offering in combination with the services of Wunder Mobility. Companies that want to build up their own MaaS fleet need technology on the one hand, which is provided by Wunder Mobility, and services to keep their MaaS fleet running on the other, which is what we provide. That is why we are collaborating on providing a holistic solution to MaaS providers and those who want to be MaaS providers.