Nadeem Raza MTC22

The Microlise Transport Conference returned to Coventry on May 18 2022 after a three-year gap due to the Covid pandemic and Microlise chief executive Nadeem Raza, pictured, said it was “fantastic to be back” with over 1,000 delegates in attendance.

“We have clearly hit the mark in terms of the subjects people are interested in,” he said. “There is a good buzz around the place and there are people here I haven’t seen face to face for three years.”

As well as workshops on innovation, skills and compliance, the main stage hosted by TV presenter Spencer Kelly featured presentations from transport minister Baroness Vere, the RHA, Microsoft, DVSA chief executive Loveday Ryder, senior traffic commissioner Richard Turfitt and an operator panel with Graham Lackey, CEO of Brit European, Lesley O’Brien OBE, director of Freightlink Europe and Matt Rhind, distribution director of Tesco.

In July 2021 Microlise listed on the AIM stock exchange to raise money to help fund its next phase of development, including launching new products and targeting smaller fleet operators. Raza said that despite the pandemic and conflict in Ukraine progress was on track.

“Even with all of the crises we have going on around us it is going really well,” he said. “In July we never predicted that inflation would be at this level, that fuel costs would be so high or that there would be war in Ukraine – there have been so many challenges but we have continued to deliver.

“We have supported our customers with new products and technologies and we intend to carry on doing that. We have not reduced our investment plans so we continue to broaden our product portfolio and deliver more services to our customers.”

Broadening range

In recent years Microlise has added cameras, route optimisation and tachograph analysis to its core telematics products, but Raza said there is still more to come.

“There are still gaps and when we talk to our customers they tell us ‘it would be great if you did this’,” he said. “Customers are looking for that all-round turnkey solution that covers all their operations in real time. It’s not just about products – we are also introducing new services.

“We recently launched Customer Success which is about helping customers use our products and technology better. While we can give companies our tools and software they sometimes face internal challenges in deploying them successfully. We have created a new team to help customers achieve the best value they can from our products and services.”


This support for hard-pressed operators to get the most from technology became even more important during the pandemic when many companies came under severe pressure to cope with increased volumes with fewer staff.

“It’s no wonder operators in the last nine months have been focused on solving the problems of today and tomorrow and trying to deliver the goods rather than thinking about what they need to do to be in a better place six months down the line,” said Raza. “There was so much firefighting on a day-to-day basis that sometimes they could lose sight of the longer term.

“Customers are now getting to the point where they are thinking more long term and this is the right time for us to help them achieve maximum value from our services.”

Smaller fleet successes

While Microlise has traditionally been strongest among larger fleet operators, it can now point to many smaller fleets running 20 to 30 vehicles that have had success with its products and services.

“These days these fleets have to do it,” said Raza. “If you aren’t investing in improved systems and making yourself more efficient then all the challenges in the world today will kill you. We are trying to help fleets of all sizes become more efficient.”

One of these challenges is how HGV operators are going to decarbonise their operations as the UK phases out of fossil fuels from 2035, and here too Microlise has developed products to help.

“We have always been investing in alternative fuel technologies,” said Raza. “We have supported electric vehicles for many years and have worked with large scale electric fleets in Europe. Whether it is LNG, CNG, hydrogen in fuel cells or combustion engines our technology is able to support all of those variations. We will see a mixture based on the different operations as no one single technology is going to get us through for the next 10 years.”

To help operators who already run mixed fleet with vehicles from different manufacturers, Microlise last year launched its Smart Gateway which takes data from different in-cab systems and provides it to the operator through a single portal.

“We are developing and evolving that further so we can take data from multiple vehicle manufacturers as well as other technologies onboard vehicles,” said Raza. “That will mean we can offer a complete view for a customer irrespective of what make of vehicle they have or what fuel it uses.

“We are very much in favour of being open with data as much as possible and I’m glad to see the vehicle manufacturers are now thinking along those lines rather than trying to capture the data and hide it away for their own use. It will take time to create all of those systems integrations, APIs and everything you need to make all of that data accessible, but that is absolutely the route we are going down.”

Recognising the vital role of drivers

Marek and HRH

Another key part of the Microlise Transport Conference was the presentation of the overall winner of the Driver of the Year Awards, Marek Mackiewicz of Great Bear, with his trophy by HRH The Princess Royal.

“Drivers are genuinely unsung heroes and they have carried on working over the last 18 months because they have had to,” said Raza. “The goods just wouldn’t get delivered if it wasn’t for the drivers doing their jobs day in, day out. The facilities they have aren’t great so it’s no wonder there’s a driver shortage.

“It’s a difficult job but I’m pleased to see that things are getting better and we are seeing more people coming into the industry. There is still long way to go but we wholeheartedly support the efforts everyone is making to improve careers for drivers.”