Every year, NAFA hosts an event for professionals in fleet management to access the information, tools, and networking opportunities they need to continue being successful and to increase their industry knowledge. This year’s event was no different—those from all areas of the industry had a great time networking (we know we did!) and learning about some of the new and upcoming technologies in the industry. It’s always good to see new products, meet new vendors, and generally get a glimpse of what’s going on in the industry.
Here are some of our key takeaways from attending this year’s NAFA event:
1. Laughing at work increases productivity!
For starters, the event kicked off with a fantastic keynote presentation by Jody Urquhart, motivational speaker and author of All Work & No Say. Here, we learned that it’s okay to laugh at work, and that doing so actually increases productivity. Jody is known for delivering motivational speeches that are not only funny, but also help people derive more meaning and satisfaction from their work—she definitely didn’t fall short on inspiring the fleet managers present in the room.
2. Effective fleet management comprises 5 key elements:
One great educational takeaway for fleet managers was around the topic of how to effectively manage a fleet. The five most important elements were outlined as follows:
- Policy: Having a robust policy in place serves as the foundation for everything fleet related. This typically covers:
- Who’s entitled to a company’s vehicle, and what their needs are
- The vehicle models that meet the needs of the business
- What’s important for your business—having a wide variety of vehicles available or a reduction in costs?
- Safety: Driver training, risk assessment, and violation management were the main topics discussed here – which are all critical to managing a fleet effectively. The session on safety wasn’t approached from a technology perspective (like telematics, for example), but rather from a driver perspective and how fleet managers can make a fleet safer. This includes checking the risk assessment on a regular basis, which means examining the risks involved with driver activity and the potential harm of those risks (while identifying some key precautions for those involved). In addition, manufacturers had the chance to highlight some of their safety features for accident avoidance, such as lane departure warnings, blind spot detection, and more.
- Fuel program: Since fuel expenses generally take up a large portion of a company’s overall fleet spend, simplifying fuel expense management is an important exercise. Often, fleet managers use a fleet fuel card program that allows drivers to easily keep track of their fuel expenses.
- Maintenance program: To effectively manage a fleet, a good maintenance program has to be put in place—one that is designed to help save money overall and keep drivers on the road.
- Data: “You can't manage what you can't measure” is something that was heard here for managing a fleet effectively. Data and intuitive reports are two key elements to unlocking a fleet program that’s well managed. It’s about seeing what needs to be seen and understanding what needs to be known in order to learn how a particular fleet is performing, and to improve its performance in turn.
To effectively manage a fleet, you have to have the right partner who can expertly take care of these activities, so be sure to partner up wisely.
3. Keeping an eye out on mobility and how it can impact the industry
NAFA is the kind of event that’s great either for building relationships or renewing them with vendors and manufacturers. One of the topics manufacturers had the opportunity to address was mobility, and how it will potentially alter the fleet management industry. This article, for instance, sheds some light on how the idea of Mobility as a Service (MaaS) will dominate the industry in the future, with a projected exponential revenue growth to $250 billion by 2022 and $1 trillion by 2030. These numbers really do speak to the advancements in technology down the road, and this was the trendy topic at NAFA this year, especially as companies and the marketplace generally shift from the idea of having dedicated fleets to a more solid MaaS approach.
Overall, the biggest win for us was networking and meeting with peers and customers, and we’re excited to attend NAFA 2019 to see what’s in store for the future of fleet management!