Thinking along as a sparring partner

Working with the right partners who can think strategically along with your company is worth its weight in gold. That’s what Rob Custers, Supply Chain Manager at Siemens, says about TraXall Belgium. We are happy to let him talk about mobility, strategy and innovation.

Rob Custers has been working at Siemens since 1990. He started there as an communication manager and quickly progressed to corporate communications where, among other things, he was responsible for the activities report, audio-visual productions, corporate design and media planning. During that period, he had a great deal of contact with suppliers and this is how he ended up in the world of purchasing. Since 2005, in addition to purchasing marketing products and services, he has been responsible for everything relating to fleet management. This includes not only the purchasing, but also the entire operational management of the fleet together with his colleague Stephane, development of the car policy in collaboration with HR and partnerships and contracts with suppliers. 

Looking for a suitable partner
“Before we started working with TraXall, we had already built up a database internally,” says Rob. “It contained a number of vehicle and driver files that we could link together, but there was no car configurator. With this method of working, we had to compare a great many quotations manually. This was very labour intensive and at the same time the driver had a limited choice. We wanted to tackle those two issues. We wanted to offer the driver more choice, but at the same time we no longer wanted to compare all kinds of quotes manually. We also lacked good reporting. These were the most important elements for us when we went looking for a suitable partner.”

And they found it at TraXall. Rob: “TraXall has made it possible for Siemens to put in place strong employer branding, and we can offer our drivers not only a wider choice of cars, but also cars that are better tailored to their needs and meet our three priorities: safety, durability and comfort.”

A dedicated team that knows our company through and through
“One of the strengths of TraXall is the dedicated team. That is very important for us. We have had the pleasure of working with the same key account manager, Frank Engelen, for 11 years now. That has been a huge advantage. He knows our company through and through, in fact just as well as I do. He has experienced the evolution from one monolithic company to different parts of the Siemens Group. He knows the complexity. And that means that with just a few words we can communicate very quickly and exchange ideas. That is a huge advantage.”

Thinking strategically about fleet and mobility
“TraXall is a sparring partner for me,” Rob continues. “I have my say and they immediately start looking at how they can translate it, implement it and align it with our processes. Together with TraXall, we built the profiler and car configurator. The thing is, we no longer assume that every driver will choose a diesel. There are many alternatives on the market: plug-in hybrids, full hybrids, full electric and so on. Siemens wants to be a frontrunner in the transition to an emission-free company fleet. That is why it is important to find out who the driver is and which cars he or she can choose from and which car we advise him or her to take. With the profiler, we ask the driver a few questions, the answers to which we combine with data that we already have, such as the distance between home and work. On that basis, the driver receives the best advice tailored to his or her situation.”

TraXall and Siemens: innovative together
“What I really appreciate,” stresses Rob, “is that TraXall is innovative, just like Siemens. This means that, just like us, they do not wait for market developments, then do a copy-paste and implement what everyone else is doing. Or wait until something becomes compulsory. No, we want to take the lead and come to the market with new things. One example is multi-bidding. Thanks to TraXall, Siemens was among the first in Belgium to carry out a price comparison systematically for each vehicle ordered with at least three leasing companies in an almost fully automated manner. We still see today, even more than before, that prices can vary enormously. It is clear that you can only enjoy the best deals if you constantly compare the prices for each car. And you can only do that with an automated multi-bidding system such as TraXall’s.”

Optimising processes and systems
“We notice that other suppliers in the market often act like a buying centre that wants to demonstrate added value through discounts. But that is an aspect that we as a company prefer to keep under control ourselves,” Rob clarifies. “For us, it is more important that TraXall, as our fleet manager, thinks along with us and converts our strategy as effectively as possible into processes and systems. For us, that is where the added value really lies.”

“It is also true that at a certain point, if you compare prices over many years, you reach the bottom with your suppliers. However, there is still a great deal of potential depending on how you approach things. And you do that by looking critically at your processes. Because they are never definitive. Processes must always evolve with the ever-changing market. This also means that you have to adopt a flexible attitude, because tomorrow things can be different. And TraXall certainly responds well to that.”

Simulation and scenario building
Siemens and TraXall set priorities together. “More specifically, we are working on simulations and scenario building. At the moment, the situation is such that what we are implementing today can be different tomorrow. In the run-up to 2026, the environment is very dynamic, for example more electric vehicles will be driven. We already need to be able to simulate many parameters and make projections now. We can then use these to adjust our car policy, simulate changes and make forecasts before we make any decisions.” 

From fleet manager to mobility manager
“We also need to go beyond the traditional approach,” says Rob, “where you have a vehicle file in the system, on the one hand, and a driver, on the other. In the future, a driver will not only be linked to a car. With all the mobility alternatives available today, a driver also has access to a great many other assets such as a Cambio subscription, a shared bicycle, a leased bicycle or a public transport subscription. Furthermore, we must also not forget the charging infrastructure at the employee’s home. The whole package also needs to be managed. And we see that more and more with TraXall.”

Expertise and know-how
“We can no longer do without a partner such as TraXall,” Rob concludes. “Moreover, we do not want to build up these resources internally at Siemens because we cannot possibly gather that know-how from a rapidly changing market. TraXall is much better placed to build up that expertise and share it with its customers. In that sense, we see TraXall’s role as an intermediary becoming even more important.”

Are you curious about how TraXall can take your company to the next level as a mobility partner in an innovative manner? If so, book a consultation with Farrah Pedrido, Sales Manager at TraXall Belgium.

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