Under the Microscope: We talk to Martin Evans, Jaama's managing director
24 October 2018
Author: Rachel Boagey
Fleet management software company Jaama is focused on the next industry changes that could affect its customers. Rachel Boagey investigates.
It is widely recognised that to become an expert you must specialise, and fleet, leasing and hire management software, and driver risk services company Jaama has made this its mantra.
Privately owned by directors who have spent their entire working lives in the fleet and leasing industry, with more than 110 years of experience between them, everything there is to know about vehicle and asset management technology lies behind Jaama's doors in Tamworth, Staffordshire.
One of these directors is Martin Evans, who tells us, "By developing a range of practical solutions to the problems facing fleet operators, we have a unique combination of experience, skills and technology."
A sign of the company's rapid expansion since it started up in 2004 is that Jaama used to rent its office space until just over five years ago, when it bought its own building for its staff. "We were thinking we can buy this one and it will be home but then we had to buy another one, so planned to move from here to there, but then realised we actually needed both," Evans says.
To maintain the success it has been seeing in recent years, Evans explains the company recognises that unless it is continually evolving with its products it's going to fall behind. One of the things Jaama prides itself on is fleet management software and driver risk management services to help its customers to meet their driver health and safety responsibilities under occupational road safety regulations.
Key2 is the product name for Jaama's fleet management software that underpins its success. "We have customers who signed up for Key2 in 2004 and they're operating fundamentally on the same system as a customer who signs up today, as Key2 is constantly updated to stay up to date with legislative, compliance and industry developments. That's obviously good news for all customers as they're never using obsolete software with old functionality," Evans adds.
The system can even keep up to date with current industry concerns such as WLTP as it is constantly evolving and updating, and although every Key2 customer has a standard product, there are additional modules that customers can choose, tailoring the system to each one's individual requirements.
"We're constantly on our toes waiting for the next tax regime change in order to be instantly compliant."
"From the start, we configure Key2 with the required modules and then whether they're a 50-vehicle fleet or one with over 20,000 vehicles, it's the same product but tailored to that particular client," he continues. "If they're a company just looking after cars and allocations, they may not have as many modules as a company that runs a complex fleet and wants us to do everything to do with a complete business solution; for instance, some companies can use it just to check their drivers' licences while others can allow us to operate the whole fleet life cycle. Think of it as a sort of pick and mix solution."
What Key2 also allows all companies to do is to look at all of its operating expenses and vehicle management, and drill down on those high areas of spend, and see what's increasing and what needs more attention. "If a company had a particular type of vehicle that was using more fuel than another type of vehicle, an exception report could be produced which highlights anomalies," Evans continues. "For instance, a car could be getting serviced more frequently than others or often going in for recalls, so it enables fleet managers to easily use the information in their procurement strategies for new vehicles."
Waves of change
Something that has stood out for Jaama as an area of focus over the past ten years is the awareness of corporate manslaughter around the driver. "A lot of our customers and prospects are going to best-of-breed suppliers for accident management and leasing, which is great from a cost perspective but the downside is that it's fragmented. We're able to bring all that information together to provide a more holistic view," Evans explains.
"We focus on getting that accident data and anything else such as worn out tyres, and turning it into a report for the fleet manager in a form of meaningful data. It can be emailed to them or viewed in real time on the system dashboard at any time," he says.
Then there's Jaama's smartphone app, which provides benefits for fleet managers and drivers. 'MyVehicle App' will synchronise with Key2, auto-triggering processes such as service, maintenance and repair procedures.
"The development of the app is part of our annual investment of more than £2 million in new features and Key2 enhancements. In an age of ever-increasing mobility and connectivity, the app was designed following extensive customer, technological and usability research," Evans adds.
"Fleet management software is an exceptionally fast-moving world and it is essential that continual investment is made to constantly make new functionality available to reflect the new ways of fleet operator and driver working.
"Auto-triggering of processes relating to daily odometer readings, daily checks and incident information, saves time and increases efficiency by streamlining operations, which minimises off-road times and reduces costs."
Evans is head of business development at Jaama, and explains that the app can be used on Apple and Android devices, and in effect enables drivers of vehicles to record their own walk-around checks. "As you would do in the morning - check the tyres are not flat and the fluids are at the correct levels - but with our app you can take pictures and key in information of anything that's wrong, and that information can be passed straight into Key2 and onto your fleet manager," he says.
No more unnecessary paperwork
The app is good for noting exceptional circumstances such as a defects or accidents. "Around 15 years ago, people were trying to chase pieces of paper around everywhere but now drivers of vehicles can perform this day walk-around checks of their vehicles and action can be taken immediately without the unnecessary paperwork. We're moving the fleet department and people responsible from active to proactive, and it's a really interesting shift.
"Although fleet departments may have a reduced team, their responsibilities are increasing as is their duty of care, so that's driving the tools and technology that we're creating, and helping them to meet those standards," Evans continues.
A big focus of Jaama is on customer service and experience, and the company prides itself on being different. "This is reflected in every aspect of our organisation," says Evans. "Drawing on our past experience of supplying award-winning fleet management software, consultancy advice and training services to thousands of customers around the world enables us to impress our customers today with value, quality and a personal service."
Jaama pays attention to the overall customer journey and constantly surveys its customers on those areas, recently reaching a 94% satisfaction rate. "The feedback we've been getting has been phenomenal and the areas where it can be improved are where we invest more heavily."
To add to the significant growth the company has witnessed over the past few years, we posed the question of what growth can be expected in the next few.
"We first started out as Jaama while we were gaining momentum and products and since then there have been exponential changes throughout the company. What we want to do is to push boundaries constantly and we have to be agile too. Legislation can change quickly as can market trends, which we have seen very recently with WLTP and different powertrains making their way onto the fleet," says Evans.
The company aims to continue to be agile enough to adapt to keep its customers up to date and satisfied with the service provided. "We're constantly on our toes waiting for the next tax regime change in order to be instantly compliant. It's a challenge but it makes us stand out as a leader in our field. We will continue to ensure that all of our revenue and income is pushed back into the business, so who knows where we might be in another four years' time," concludes Evans.