Customer testimonials

ST Engineering iDirect and Alphabet: on the same page

posted on 12/10/2023
testimonial st engineering

At Alphabet, we work with companies from all sorts of industries. Our client ST Engineering iDirect, for instance, is a global player in satellite communication tech.  

We’ve been ST Engineering iDirect’s mobility partner for some time now. Last year, they decided to keep us on for the foreseeable future. No better reason to catch up with Thomas Vandamme, HR Business Partner and Fleet Manager at ST Engineering iDirect. 

A renewed partnership 

“I’ve been working at ST Engineering for about a year and a half now. But I know that our partnership with Alphabet has been going on for much longer than that. Last year, we decided to prolong our partnership after a re-evaluation. 

The goal of our re-evaluation was to examine our own needs and Alphabet’s offer. We also sat down with other leasing companies, just so we would be able to compare things properly. But in the end, we did end up sticking with Alphabet. Because we already knew Alphabet, but also because we’re genuinely satisfied. Our partnership works.  

We have contacts who know our company. We meet with our account manager and file manager regularly to go over things. And that’s nice, that you get to work with the same people who know how everything goes.” 

All-inclusive leasing 

“We rely on pretty much all of Alphabet’s services, from operational leasing to short-term renting and bike leasing. Short-term renting is something we mainly do for our temporary cars or when someone gets into an accident and needs a different car temporarily.  

We lease around 170-ish cars and 40-some bikes from Alphabet for our fleet. The cars are practically all hybrids or full-electric. We have a handful of cars with combustion engines, but those kinds of cars aren’t an option for employers anymore. With time, they’ll completely disappear from our fleet. 

The option to “at least” drive a hybrid is something we thought through thoroughly. This is partly because we obviously want to electrify our fleet and because the management costs and, for example, the benefit in kind are much lower for hybrids and electric cars. So, financially and fiscally it’s also more interesting.” 

A uniquely integrated (mobility) budget 

“We don’t use the classic mobility budget. Instead, we have a special system within our organisation. 

We calculate our budgets beforehand and include those in our employees’ gross salaries. The budgets are directly linked to the leasing prices, so the higher the leasing price of a car, the more gross pay has to be ceded. That’s why many of our people, even in higher ranks, pick a smaller or less expensive car. Everyone gets to make their own choice.  

With Alphabet, our employees can select almost any brand or type of car. Sporty cars or cars with a flashy colour are technically no exception. And yet, our people usually request a car that’s more neutral. Mainly so the cars are easy to pass on to the next person. 

If anyone wants a car that’s “difficult” to pass to someone else, we make sure that car is less interesting. But if someone really wants a pink minivan, they can (laughs).” 

Easier for drivers and managers 

“After our re-evaluation and our choice to stick with Alphabet, our partnership has only grown. For example, our drivers now use Fleet Agent to configure and order their cars. That makes things easier for them, but also us. 

In Fleet Agent, every important financial and fiscal parameter is displayed, including the impact on the individual gross salary. This way, our drivers know exactly how big of a chunk will be taken from their gross pay before they select a car. It makes things more transparent. Our people can control everything independently, meaning they can’t get unpleasant surprises. Like having to cough up more gross pay than they initially thought.”  

Additionally, using Fleet Agent saves us a lot of work. We don’t need to be the middleman to check or place every order. Whoever’s allowed to order a new car, can do so with Fleet Agent." 

What does the future look like? 

“One of our goals is to continue electrifying our fleet. To achieve that goal, we’re looking into regulations, but we’re also listening to our employees. Some people aren’t ready to make the move to electric driving, for instance. So, they’ll keep their hybrids and they’ll be able to order hybrids in the future. 

In addition, we’re also working on making our infrastructure greener. We have charging points for cars and bikes, but not nearly enough. So, we’ll look into expanding our charging solutions with Alphabet’s help. 

In a final instance, the complete situation is the most important to us when it comes to the future. Our cars, bikes... everything needs to run smoothly. Our mobility solutions don’t need to be the most interesting ones fiscally and ecologically. They also need to be useful for our employees. That’s what we’re working towards. So, we will continue to look for optimisation opportunities with Alphabet.”  

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