OPEX for Shared Mobility

Norwegens größtes Carsharing Bilkollektivet

Bilkollektivet: Insights from Norway’s largest Sharing Provider

October 28, 2021 | Reading time: 5 min

In an interview, Bilkollektivet’s CEO Morten Munch-Olsen and Marketing Manager Haakon Hals offered us interesting insights into their understanding and implementation of Operational Excellence. Bilkollektivet is not only Norway’s largest but also the only profitable carsharing provider. This success is very well connected to the way operations are run internally - and most likely to the company’s highly user-centric and long-term approach.

At Bilkollektivet, how do you define Operational Excellence?

To us, Operational Excellence is executing the business strategy more consistently and reliably than the competition, with lower operational risk, lower operating costs and increased revenues relative to the competitor.

It does therefore play a role in different business areas: From general operations to cost management, user experience, the user journey and communication.

Learn From Experts of the Shared Mobility Industry

Are you interested in how Operational Excellence is understood and lived elsewhere? As part of the MOQO Summit 2021, we surveyed speakers and workshop leaders about Operational Excellence in their companies. You can find the results here.

OPEX Best Practice

What are the main goals that you pursue by striving for Operational Excellence and optimized workflows?

We want to achieve profitability and sustainable growth. This includes three important factors. First, the pricing has to be acceptable for the customer and the cost needs to be below the price. Second, our service is attractive so that the churn is low and we have more customers signing up. Third, utilization and contribution margin (per car, model, station and fleet level) are high enough to sustain income and profitability but low enough so that customers can find a car when needed.

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How do you put this into practice? How do you structure your team in regards to optimizing processes and do you use any specific tools or management approaches?

In regards to our team structure, we have a management team consisting of our Chief Executive Officer, a Financial Officer, an Operational Manager and a Marketing and Communications Manager. The Operational Manager is responsible for all operating processes. His team includes administrative as well as field workers.

To reach process optimization especially in our operations, we adopt a Lean Philosophy and focus on automatization. We work with the PDCA-Cycle and use Business Intelligence to make sure we have the needed statistics to base our decisions on.

Can you give us further insight into how exactly you monitor your process performance and measure the level of your Operational Excellence?

Pivotal for our monitoring are our Management Team meetings on a weekly basis. There, we review our KPIs and depending on these we make decisions and plan the upcoming steps or changes.

The KPIs we look at are the following:

  • Economic (revenue, cost, result, contribution margin per car model and station)
  • Operational (volume (bookings/km, hrs), utilization, support statistics, feedback from app
  • User churn, new and terminated memberships
  • User satisfaction

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

In order to evaluate the success or failure of a company over time, the regular measurement of sensibly selected key figures (indicators) can be helpful.

These then help to identify the need for action, to act accordingly and to assess the effect of measures taken in retrospect.

KPI Tracking
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To measure user satisfaction you need to know about your customers’ needs and how well you meet them. How do you learn about this?

We regularly conduct surveys, work with focus groups and use general feedback that we receive through our user forum, the customer service, Social Media and the app stores. Also, our other KPIs allow us some behavioral observations to rate the overall satisfaction.

Let’s speak openly: In which areas do you still notice avoidable or reducible work? Where can your Operational Excellence still be optimized?

There are mainly three areas where we can still further improve our processes. One is Operations, especially in regards to fleet management, the topic of winter and summer tires and integration of a Power Business Intelligence tool for better monitoring of our KPIs. Another area is Accounting, there we need to improve our processes for fee handling and implement more automatization. In Marketing we need to focus more on conversion tracking. We should implement a better monitoring process in relation to signups, marketing campaigns etc.

To sum things up, which do you consider the biggest key factors for Operational Excellence as a shared mobility provider?

The pursuit of Operational Excellence should orbit around the following factors:

  1. Usability in terms of car, booking, app and payment.
  2. Convenience regarding the location of a station and the availability of cars.
  3. Systems and technology should be scaled for sustainable growth. Maximize automation and minimize manual operations. Also, keep an eye on and adjust to ongoing developments with market and technological trends and establish an efficient fleet management.
  4. Flexibility - keep decision chains short and allow quick adjustments to changing demand or market conditions.
  5. Cost management regarding administrative costs, carfleet costs including damage, maintenance and returns.
  6. User focus: Bilkollektivet is organized as a member-owned co-op, in essence making the user both the shareholder and end consumer. As opposed to commercial operators, this requires an even more user centric approach to all decision making, but with a broad, long-term perspective.

OPEX Facts by Bilkollektivet

System for Operational Excellence at Bilkollektivet

Is there anything you would like to add?

Yes, we want to highlight the importance of Corporate Social Responsibility. In this day and age, this factor cannot be overlooked and the environmental effect is one of the core components making carsharing an attractive and future-proof mobility solution. When you as a sharing provider continuously improve your processes to offer a better service, you are not only striving for your own success but also for a more sustainable mobility future.

Bilkollektivet has stated as its purpose in its Articles of Association that “Bilkollektivet shall offer smart, environmentally friendly, and nonprofit sharing of vehicles that fully replaces the user’s need for owning a private car. Bilkollektivet shall by this contribute to a greener and better environment with fewer cars and less unnecessary driving”. Scientific research (TØI) has estimated that one shared station-based car replaces approximately 10 privately owned cars. This reduction in environmental footprint has a measurable effect and is one of the key factors valued by both users and regulatory institutions.

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About Bilkollektivet

Bilkollektivet was founded 25 years ago in Oslo and is now Norway's largest car-sharing provider. For about three years, Bilkollektivet has been the only Norwegian provider to operate profitably. Another distinctive aspect is that the organization is based on a cooperative ideal. Members become shareholders themselves when they join the cooperative, pay a monthly fee and, in addition, only the fees per booked trip. Fuel or loads and tolls are included. All profits are used to expand the vehicle fleet or to offer members even more benefits. As a non-profit car sharing service, Bilkollektivet strives to contribute to shaping the sustainable future of mobility and to provide a real alternative to owning a car.

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