Ensuring Corporate Sustainability with Car Sharing Software

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Perhaps you have ever heard the expression “corporate resilience”. This is a company’s ability to stay afloat for an extended period, taking into account economic, environmental, and social factors. A business that is committed to corporate resilience aims to meet customer needs and provide conditions under which future generations will also meet their own needs.

Car sharing is no longer an exotic concept. It is a service that allows you to rent a car for a short period, paying only for the actual use of the vehicle. From a business perspective, a car sharing system is a complex process that requires careful planning. Specialised software can help ensure proper business management and corporate resilience.

The car sharing industry undergoes changes year after year and experiences accelerated development due to the emergence of new technologies. Car sharing software provides efficient fleet management, automates processes, and optimises resource utilisation. After reading the article, you will learn about the principles of corporate software, its advantages, and peculiarities.

How corporate car sharing software works

Corporate car sharing software performs a multitude of functions. To operate more efficiently, it is necessary to employ a system that carries out comprehensive functions. However, there are often several types of software:

  1. Fleet management system, which ensures effective control over vehicles, helps track available and reserved cars, manages transactions, and allocates vehicles wisely among clients.
  2. Booking system enables the automation of car reservations and invoicing, while keeping track of usage time. These systems can incorporate online payment features by integrating them with financial modules.
  3. Geolocation and monitoring system for tracking the location of rented cars. This system allows real-time monitoring of vehicle movement, so that timely measures can be taken in case of unforeseen situations, such as theft.
  4. Analytics and reporting system provides the ability to view the complete operational picture. It collects all information about company operations, reservation quantities, and booking frequency for each vehicle. As a result, a detailed report can be generated for the development of the company’s operational strategy.
  5. Maintenance and repair management systems. With the help of these systems, one can plan scheduled vehicle inspections, preventing breakdowns and downtime. By setting up special alerts, managers are always informed in advance about the next service date, allowing them to deactivate the vehicle from the booking list.

Using car sharing software means ensuring complete control over the business. This is achievable thanks to the presence of key functions:

  • Fleet management. This encompasses not only monitoring the availability of vehicles and tracking their locations but also distributing cars to various points in the city where demand exists.
  • Reservation. Through this function, customers can select a suitable vehicle and make a booking – all data is displayed in the personal account.
  • Billing. Depending on the brand and duration of vehicle usage, the software automatically calculates the service cost and displays it on the user’s screen. Integration of the car sharing software with banking modules enables customers to independently pay for rentals using a payment card.
  • Analytics. With this function, the business owner can always view the operational situation in real-time and respond to unexpected issues. Reports can be generated on-screen, eliminating the need to store tons of paperwork.
  • Maintenance management guarantees timely inspections, preventing vehicle breakdowns. During vehicle downtime, the company owner incurs financial losses and the company faces deficits.

An example of successful corporate car sharing software implementation is the German company car2go, which offers car sharing services in urban areas across Europe and North America. The car2go app was developed for multiple mobile platforms and languages. This means that customers could see new convenient features or expanded coverage for new cities each week. The company charged per-minute rates, offered discounts and promotions not only for daily but also for hourly customers, and the rates already included fuel, insurance, and parking in designated city zones. Additionally, the app could be used by both locals and tourists, who could provide a visa or residency permit as identification, along with a valid driver’s licence, of course. By 2017, car2go had 3.6 million registered customers..

Benefits of a Corporate Car Sharing software

Many car sharing business proprietors are interested in the benefit they will gain from employing a car sharing software. The advantages of such software can be enumerated at length. Firstly, with its assistance, numerous processes that were previously conducted manually can be automated. For instance, booking and invoicing, user registration and document verification, the technical condition of vehicles and all fluids. Automation provides the opportunity to reduce the number of errors. Secondly, a car sharing software enables the optimal allocation of vehicles among branches within the city or country. Depending on demand in various areas, the proprietor comprehends whether it would be more advantageous to relocate automobiles or acquire new ones for the fleet of a given branch.

A corporate car sharing software offers the user the opportunity to gain access to specific functions of your business by integrating with the website, while enabling you to effectively manage the company. This enhances customer satisfaction and streamlines the company’s operational processes. Through the software, you can establish reasonable tariffs for each car model. You can extend to your clients a loyalty software, implementing discounts on particular days of the week or holidays, thus attracting a greater number of users.

Another advantage of car sharing software is that you can choose between what the market offers or engage specialists to develop your own software. More often, the second option is chosen if additional features are needed, which are absent in standard software versions, or if your business has certain peculiarities. For instance, if you are planning to scale your company and are already using specific software solutions at the moment. Not all standard car sharing programs offer integration capabilities. In such cases, developing your own software will allow for a seamless integration of all systems without disrupting business operations. However, this will be considerably more expensive than a licence from external providers. Analyse your company’s operation, consider all pros and cons, in order to understand the benefits of developing your own car sharing software over ready-made solutions.

In June 2011, the car sharing service DriveNow was established. This was a joint venture between BMW Group and the car rental company Sixt SE. The service encountered a challenge when launching its business in San Francisco. The issue was that the free-floating car sharing service, which allowed vehicles to be picked up and dropped off anywhere, was in conflict with the city’s parking regulations. In San Francisco, parking spots were only provided to those car sharing programs that required customers to return their vehicles to the same location they were picked up from. The service could not obtain permission for parking and halted its operations in the city of San Francisco. This demonstrates the importance of car sharing companies collaborating with local authorities and carefully studying laws.

Later, the service was launched in other cities, where it utilised a special business management system. Through this system, DriveNow could offer service packages and, in addition to car sharing, provide users with a 5% discount on purchases at Billa retail stores. This approach enhances customer loyalty and encourages them to return to your company’s services.

Features of Corporate Car Sharing Software

When selecting software for corporate car sharing, the following features should be taken into consideration:

  • Online booking: flexible selection of car specifications and rental parameters, the ability to set rental time intervals;
  • GPS navigation: vehicle location monitoring, mileage tracking, speed, and other parameters that enable vehicle condition control;
  • Customer database: identity registration and verification, automatic transaction confirmation, and personal data storage;
  • Payment for services: calculation and invoicing for rentals, integration with various financial systems such as bank cards, e-wallets, cryptocurrency.
  • Fleet management: control of vehicle conditions, notifications about upcoming inspections and checks, the ability to add or remove cars from the reservation list.
  • Security: information encryption methods, user authentication, restrictions for app usage by registered and verified users only.
  • Reporting: collection of information on all software functions, the ability to generate reports for a specific period, analysis of transaction success data.

In addition to the main functions, corporate car sharing software sometimes offers the option to install a mobile application for users. With its help, clients can view available cars, make reservations, pay for the service conveniently, and receive notifications about discounts and promotions. Another feature that can be offered to customers is the delivery of cars to a specific location upon user request. This can be illustrated by the successful car sharing service YoYo in Turkey. The company has focused on developing a network of electric charging stations to transition the service to electric vehicles. By default, cars can be rented from designated parking spots. YoYo provides a Valet service – delivering the selected car to a special location. The client can leave the car anywhere except prohibited locations. If the client prefers not to pay for this service, they must return the car to the pickup location.

The Future of Corporate Car Sharing Software

Car sharing is developing quite rapidly. Each year brings new trends, and new developments are being implemented. One of the trends is the transition to electric cars and hybrid transportation. This allows for a reduction in the amount of exhaust gases and their negative impact on the environment. Some car sharing companies have started actively using pooling – sharing rides with other passengers. This provides the opportunity to reduce costs and make car sharing more economical. In some cities, self-parking and autonomous customer pickup are practised.

The integration of autonomous vehicles into the car sharing system introduces new possibilities. For instance, users can summon, unlock, and lock the car through an app, thus eliminating the need to wait for its delivery. Autonomous vehicles can operate for longer periods, and they do not require personnel for their operation. By utilising autonomous vehicles, the owner of a car sharing company can simplify their coordination and distribution across different parts of the city. All of this contributes to an increase in user trust. In an effort to streamline business operations, company owners will continue to utilise car sharing software, which means that the demand for software will only continue to grow. 

Conclusion

In the context of increasing urban density and parking issues, the demand for car sharing will rise, which means companies will need to employ specialised solutions to accommodate a high influx of clients. Corporate resilience can be ensured through high-quality software.

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