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The fleet sector has recently been joined by a new think tank and product incubator named Ebbon Innovation (EI) with the aim of developing innovative new products and solutions to tackle issues facing the fleet community.

EI is set to be focused on conducting research, experimentation and innovation in the fleet market, seeking to address the next real-world problems and turn them into open-market solutions.

One such area of interest that the company has already begun to research is where state-of-the-art machine learning techniques could be applied within the wider industry. This includes looking at what start-ups are working on in other sectors and evaluating how such capabilities could be applied to the automotive space.

Charles Isles (pictured above), product manager at EI, explained: “The EI team consists of a group of individuals with years of experience in the automotive and software market both in the UK and international markets.”

With technology solutions provider Ebbon Group at the helm, EI has benefitted from its own seed capital investment, enabling the unit to draw on the expertise of the business and developments teams across the wider Group.

Sarah Alexander, chief product officer at EI, added: “The new unit will not be selling consultancy. Our remit is to develop commercially viable products that allow users to tackle a specific set of problems and issues. Behind the scenes we will have a validation process in place that assesses whether a product or solution might be commercially viable and successful going forward.

“We are interested in having conversations with people, be they existing clients or not, regarding problems they can't readily find a solution to, or processes they can't make fit, with a degree of open-mindedness.”

Isles continued: “While we’re developing an idea into a product, we’ll keep our committed customers very close to the design process, so that the first public version of the product delivers.”

With 15 years of experience delivering hosted, web-based technology solutions to the global fleet community, Ebbon Group has grown its international presence to include the Netherlands, France, Czech Republic, Poland and Germany.

Owned by a private equity group, the Group is primarily focused on connecting and automating the fleet community with an increasing range of platforms.

Auto Trader partnership

Earlier this year, Auto Trader announced a new strategic partnership that would see all vehicle collections and deliveries on its Vehicle Moves platform to be handled through Ebbon-Dacs’ electronic solution, moDel.

Auto Trader’s Vehicle Moves platform was formed to provide an online marketplace for retail dealers on which to place their logistics requirements. According to Auto Trader, jobs are bid on by a network of over 300 trusted suppliers, with around 600 vehicle transporters and some 1,600 drivers.

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Ed Hummel (pictured above), business development director at Auto Trader, said: “We are looking forward to further extending the reach of our vehicle movement platform into the fleet market from its current level of penetration. And we see Ebbon-Dacs as the perfect partner to facilitate that, especially through their market-leading Leaselink e-procurement platform which connects leasing companies with dealers and manufacturers.”

This new partnership means that the 300 logistics companies currently accessing vehicle movements through the Vehicle Moves platform will now use moDel to record all vehicle deliveries and collections.

Ebbon Group’s moDel solution benefitted from a record year in 2019 with 343,711 vehicle movements conducted via the software, marking a 21% increase on the previous year and more than double the number delivered in 2017.

Under the new strategic partnership, logistics companies will primarily be using moDel-VM, the standalone version of moDel, which was originally designed to allow companies which were not users of Ebbon-Dacs’ Leaselink e-procurement platform to benefit from its use.
Michael Terry, head of commercial at Ebbon-Dacs, added: “We see this partnership as an opportunity to increase our presence in the retail space and to facilitate increasing numbers of deliveries for automotive retailers.”