PASA’s Entrepreneur of the Year on Collaboration, Innovation & Success

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Matt Keegan, Managing Director MeFleet won PASA’s 2016 Procurement Entrepreneur of the Year 2016.

Founded by Matt one year ago, MeFleet is an organisation that delivers fleet benefits to anyone that owns a vehicle. He previously worked in a number of industries:

  • FMCG – Indirect Procurement Manager for Goodman Fielder
  • Airline – Procurement Principal for Qantas A-380 aircraft project
  • Gambling/Entertainment – Head of Procurement for Tabcorp (Star City and Jupiters casinos and NSW/Victorian TABs)
  • Mining – Heavy mining equipment and energy procurement
  • Fleet – Head of Supply Chain for FleetPartners (50,000+ vehicles).

In November 2015, Matt decided to challenge how the fleet industry works. MeFleet was created to deliver big business buying power to anyone with a car across Australia. Matt looked at penetration of fleet management and found:

  • 10% of Australian cars are part of a fleet program; and
  • less than 5% of any given Australian workforce uses novated leasing.

Matt and MeFleet are focused on “the other 14,000,000 vehicles” whose owners receive limited benefits when running their vehicles. MeFleet is looking to completely change how the fleet industry provides services with its value proposition that saves money for ANYONE with a car!

In his work within the fleet industry, Matt formed positive relationships with many fleet suppliers and gradually formed the view that there was an opportunity to do things better.

Matt realised that a smaller, technology driven company could integrate an offering that de-mystified fleet benefits and made them far more accessible. His idea revolved around:

  • direct contact between customers and suppliers (ie. removing overhead from fleet companies)
  • delivering transparent benefits (ie. no smoke and mirrors)
  • using technology to deliver a self-service platform
  • expanding the scope to anyone with a car – no matter whether it was old or new, financed or owned.

Here, he shares some insights with PASA:

On winning the PASA Award… A lot of people commented at my apparent shock at winning the award! Let me tell you, after spending almost a year with my head down, working largely on my own to bring MeFleet to life, the PASA award was my first significant external validation that I had indeed created something special. Having confidence in yourself is one thing, but being recognised by others really does help from time to time! Family and friends have reacted with great enthusiasm and encouragement. Quite a few have joined MeFleet in support – and also to save themselves some money on running their personal car!

 On entrepreneurial procurement… This isn’t just about being entrepreneurial – it’s about applying a corporate context over the top of procurement people and how they go about their roles. Four tips to get you thinking:

  • Take a holistic view – ensure you’re taking all factors into consideration. This is incredibly hard to do when you work in a corporate environment where you simply don’t know everything about what’s going on. Develop relationships with stakeholders so you get to know the business better. Tapping into your supplier network for innovation that’s happening outside your company is a great way to open up your own thinking and to introduce new ideas to your stakeholders. Suppliers are a great source of innovation.
  • Be prepared to take risks – put your opinions out there for others to critique – don’t be afraid to challenge other people and to have them challenge you. We all get better at asking the right questions over time. Be appropriate, but fearless of organisational hierarchy while always staying considerate of others position and knowledge.
  • Take ownership – think about things from the perspective of the CEO.
  • Hold others to account – if your business stakeholders aren’t thinking and acting like they should be, call it out (in a constructive way) and work on changing behaviours over time.

On his wide-ranging experience… Working across a number of industries has helped me to become more confident at problem solving. Most procurement jobs are pretty transferable as long as you are able to sell yourself and your skill set. While having a vision of what you would like to achieve is critical, having the skill and perseverance to actually pull it off is what differentiates people.

On changing the way the fleet industry works… The fleet industry hasn’t changed much over time. Fleet companies tend to focus on large corporate customers and fleets of leased vehicles that get tendered for replacement every few years. MeFleet basically views all cars as being the same – no matter its age, whether it’s owned or leased, even whether it’s a single car or part of a corporate fleet of 100 cars. I decided not to try and compete with the leasing companies and fight over the corporate fleet market. Instead, I developed a completely different business model for individuals and small business (which represent a much larger group of vehicles – but are harder to reach!). It’s a model that also works for larger businesses too!

On MeFleet’s vision for 2017… MeFleet wants to build the largest fleet in Australia. In 2017, our objective is to reach 20,000 vehicles (which is around 10% of the end-target). Building brand recognition and trust will be important this year.

On networking… Networking is absolutely critical to the success of any service business. Whether it be acquiring clients, staff, or suppliers, without positive and enduring relationships, very little can get done in the business world.

On collaboration within procurement… Collaboration within a company is necessary so that you have the support needed to proceed with projects and to overcome the usual execution challenges that typically require excellent stakeholder management. Collaboration with suppliers is essential for good market research and innovation as well as the usual execution challenges. What I think is interesting, but rarely seen, is collaboration between procurement organisations (either between non-related companies or supplier/customer teams). There’s a lot of untapped opportunity in the area of procurement teams working together across organisations.

On being an innovator… Don’t be afraid to challenge the status quo – we can never avoid risk, but it’s how we manage that risk which is ultimately important. Try and strike a balance between being critical and creative. Take time to explore ideas with people – as many people as you can find. Don’t give up – there’s always a way to make something happen if you believe in what you’re doing.

Matt’s personal note: I’d like to thank the procurement community by offering a free month to try MeFleet out. Simply enter “PASA” as the Referrer Code when you register at www.mefleet.com.au

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Procurement and Supply Australasia (PASA) is the leading provider of information and education to procurement and supply professionals throughout Australia and New Zealand. PASA supports the largest community of engaged procurement stakeholders in the region, through its renowned series of events, publications, awards, plus various community and network building activities. PASA is a trading name of BTTB Marketing, for many years recognised as the leading producer of conferences and events for the procurement profession in Australia and New Zealand. Whether producing under the BTTB, CIPSA Conferences or now PASA brands over the last ten years, our events have consistently led the market in terms of both educational and networking opportunities.

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