If We Want Better Mobility, We Need Better Partnerships…and A Lot More of Them.
Why letting go of control will propel shared mobility forward.
In the wake of a global economic downturn, companies are announcing employee layoffs and market exits. Behind the scenes, something similar is happening - vendors are being laid off too. We are seeing this ‘pull yourself up by your own bootstraps' approach being taken more and more across the mobility industry, particularly in the shared mobility sector. Why are shared fleet operators choosing the lonely road and is it really in their best interest?
The quick answer is no and here’s why.
Breaking Down Misconceptions
What we’re seeing now in the shared mobility sector is a response to an economy that is expected to become extremely volatile and therefore, highly risky. When perceived risk is high, control measures such as layoffs, consolidations, and other downsizing initiatives get put into place in order to mitigate risk. The opposite is also true. When perceived risk is low, pressure loosens, decision-making democratizes, money flows more freely, and partnerships establish as a result. While control measures certainly have their place, it’s important to evaluate the motivation behind the measures, as misconceptions can steer companies and entire industries in the wrong direction.
If partnerships with vendors tend to flourish in low risk environments, it seems logical to assume that partnerships with vendors will most likely choke in high risk environments. However, this is a logical fallacy which has produced various misconceptions that we would like to break down in more detail.
Working with vendors is inefficient.
There’s a reason why B2B products exist - it’s because these products solve problems better than any in-house solutions their users have available. Inherent to a vendor's success is the promise that they can provide a product that adds value for their clients. Consequently, it would be counter-intuitive for vendors to run an inefficient business, much less sell an inefficient product, as it would risk their own company’s viability. Is there room for improvement? Always. However, if inefficiency is the premise on which you’re looking to remove the support of a vendor entirely, perhaps there’s something else going on.
We could do the same thing in-house.
You can do the same thing in-house, but it will cost you time and money.
If you choose to spread out the scope of in-house development across your existing team, you’ll lose time because no one has the full capacity to develop the in-house solution without putting their core responsibilities in serious jeopardy. This delay will cause disruption in workflows and create costly inefficiencies until the solution can be developed.
If you choose to hire a dedicated team, you’ll incur high overhead costs and you’ll also lose time as hiring doesn’t happen overnight. Once you’ve hired, you’ve got to account for development time as well - all the while your workflow also suffers from costly disruption and inefficiency.
In some cases, the risk of either scenario makes sense to take, but clearly shouldn’t be taken lightly. Even if it’s the right move, you’ll still lack the years of expertise that a vendor has gathered.
I want one vendor who does it all or else it's too complex and costly.
Oh the infamous one-stop shop solution. While on the surface this looks to be a very attractive proposition, does it really make sense?
As the saying goes, “a jack of all trades is master of none.” When working with only one vendor, what you gain in simplicity, you lose in precision. The question then becomes, which is easier to solve for, complexity or mastery? The answer is, of course, solve for complexity - there are thousands of tools out there to help do that. A network of master vendors is much more difficult to come by.
One way or another you will incur costs, whether it’s with one vendor or with multiple vendors. At the end of the day, the concern isn’t actually about cost because that can be negotiated (at least if a vendor really cares about helping your business). The concern is about the quality of services rendered. A jack of all trades will most likely be able to offer you some sort of lower price in exchange for high volume consumption of their service, but the quality of output will most likely also be much lower. You get what you pay for.
Relying on one vendor for every outsourced need can be risky. What if the vendor pivots their product, ups their pricing way above what you’re willing to pay, or conducts business in a way that could tarnish your reputation? Diversifying your network, in cases like these, makes a lot more sense if reducing risk is truly the goal.
Now is the Time to Establish Partnerships
Cutting vendors out of the shared mobility ecosystem as a way to mitigate risk doesn’t appear to be the best option for operators as they’re hardly avoiding risk in doing so. The risk just ends up looking a bit different.
The shared mobility industry needs collaboration now more than ever as cities like Paris are looking to boot out scooters due to safety concerns and car sharing companies are disappearing in favor of amalgamating with one another. So let’s switch things up this time around. Let’s not try to control, but instead choose to establish and/or lean into our partnerships in order to let mastery and precision become the backbone to stabilize the shared mobility ecosystem. This is how we make mobility better, how we give cities and the people living in them sustainable and more accessible mobility options.
Choosing Ubiq as Your Partner
Ubiq is making sustainable mobility profitable by closing the gap between supply and demand. Misalignments of vehicle supply and demand due to inefficient fleet operations are threatening the profitability of shared fleet operators. Currently, operators are missing out on anywhere from 60-80% of demand, but Ubiq is changing that. Our technology predicts mobility demand and recommends vehicle-specific opportunities to optimize availability and boost utilization. Optimization opportunities include:
Rebalancing – when and where to reposition vehicles
Charging – when and where to charge vehicles
Battery Swapping – when and where to swap vehicle batteries
We also operate StreetCrowd™. With StreetCrowd™, we are able to offer fleet operators a decentralized crowd-based service team to help them take advantage of our recommended opportunities in real-time. Our holistic approach enables us to not only automate fleet operations for our clients, but to increase their revenue by 20-50%.
Common misconceptions about our product:
The impact of our product is not measurable. We take our role as your mobility partner very seriously. This is why we have a team of data scientists dedicated to measuring and evaluating your fleet's performance from day one. Gained trips is one of our main KPI’s for evaluating our impact. Gained trips refers to the number of additional trips taken with each vehicle due to our optimization recommendations and execution service that would have otherwise not happened. Our work doesn’t stop there though. We also help our clients to measure specifically requested KPI’s in reference to our product. We want you to statistically see the increase in your fleet’s performance in a way that matters to you. We know our product produces significant results and have proven it time and time again.
We just mark hot and cold zones on a map. Our technology is made up of algorithms that not only predict mobility demand in real-time, but also cross-check every vehicle in your fleet against that demand in order to make real-time optimization recommendations. That means our hot and cold zones are dynamic, changing based on shifts in demand, and are never static.
StreetCrowd users aren't professional or reliable. You can see StreetCrowd users or StreetCrowders as your customers because they are. They just have the added bonus of earning money taking a ride with your fleet. This monetary benefit is also something that introduces more professionalism and reliability. However, we also require users to go through a series of quality assurance checks before they can start optimizing your fleet. For example, they must formally register with our client’s service as well as go through our own registration process. We also have an internal team of community managers who work with and steer the StreetCrowd community on a daily basis by answering questions, solving issues, regulating bonuses, etc. We have over 20,000 registered StreetCrowders across three continents serving our clients.
Interested in seeing where a partnership with us could take your company? Get in touch!
www.ubiq.ai *Based on Ubiq's data.