Professionalism of fleet managers key to organisational success

Getting the right people on the bus, a reference to Jim Collins’ book Good to Great, is a relevant way to describe the key challenge facing the fleet management sector, said Paul Jansen, Fleet Forum Executive Director. It’s also one of the key takeaways from the recent 2015 Annual Fleet Forum Conference, which took place from 3-4 June in Rome, Italy.

“The professionalism of fleet managers is a key determinant of organisational success. That is an indisputable fact today, and it’s a message that was loud and clear during our recent two-day conference, which included fleet experts from around the globe and from every sector,” said Jansen.

More than 110 participants from 68 organisations and 34 countries attended the annual conference, which was hosted at the Rome-based headquarters of the United Nations World Food Programme. Attendees included aid and development organisations, the corporate sector, the United Nations, academia, suppliers and governmental donors.

The critical need to collaborate together on solutions was another key takeaway from the meeting. Organisations and suppliers, for example, can exponentially increase their knowledge by working together and sharing feedback on current practices, challenges and future needs, added Jansen.

Knowledge is key

Knowledge is always critical to success. That truth is as relevant for fleet management experts as it is for anyone else. Several resounding key messages emerged from the Fleet Forum conference:

Know where you are:

Accurate, relevant data is critical for an organisation to adequately assess its current status. Collecting data and translating it into information to manage your organisation is key to knowing where you are today. Comparing your organisation with others by participating in benchmarking exercises can also be a useful barometer.

Know where you want to go:

Assessing current trends and determining your strategy for the coming years in light of those trends that are relevant for your organisation is important to staying ahead of the curve and not being left behind. Anticipate the impact of current trends on your organisation and on your fleet management. Look at the growth that other organisations have realised in order to determine realistic strategic goals for your organisation. Staying focused on where you want to go will help you get there faster and more successfully.

Know how to get there:

Determining the tangible steps that you will need to take over time in order to realise your strategic objectives is critical. It’s also equally as important to identify the relevant measurements needed to continuously monitor your progress. Be prepared to make important decisions on topics such as insourcing or outsourcing, use of vehicle telemetry, employee training and, perhaps most importantly, how to attract, develop and retain the right talent to help your organisation succeed.

What’s ahead

Fleet Forum plans to formulate more concrete ideas then follow-up with the Fleet Forum community in numerous areas, specifically:

Know where you are

  • Benchmark data: Fleet Forum will reactivate its Benchmark Assessment that provides an effective insight into an organisation’s overall performance on road safety, environmental impact, efficiency and effectiveness. Fleet Forum members will receive a personalised report with insight into their fleet management performance in relation to other members.
  • Collecting data: A discussion group is being started on the reporting and monitoring of fuel consumption to reduce overall fuel consumption.
  • Standards and KPIs: Fleet Forum will engage individual organisations in a discussion about the use of its humanitarian fleet management standards and KPI’s.

Know where you want to go

  • Best practices: Practices from other organisations will be shared on the Fleet Forum website, specifically a business case from Johnson & Johnson on implementing a road safety culture, and from Interactive Driving Systems on the use of in-vehicle telemetry.
  • Insights: A summary of key trends most likely to impact the fleet management sector, shared during the conference by Lars Gustavsson of World Vision International, will be available soon.
  • Cross-functional platform: Fleet Forum will develop a platform to facilitate discussions between organisations and suppliers on subjects such as vehicle tracking, fleet management systems, and feedback about usage and future needs.

Know how to get there

  • Blended learning: In the coming months, Fleet Forum and UNHCR will further pilot its blended learning application, which is a combination of e-learning and workshops for senior managers, fleet managers and drivers. Following the pilot, Fleet Forum will share the outcomes and materials with other organisations.
  • Driver Recognition: Fleet Forum will begin developing a Driver Recognition Programme in July, after which organisations will be asked to participate.
  • Professional development: Fleet Forum will discuss the opportunities to establish a project to further support the professionalisation of fleet managers worldwide.

Share experiences

  • Discussion platform: Fleet Forum developed a discussion platform some months ago on its Fleet Forum website. Soon, groups will be created and everyone will be invited to begin discussions. The Fleet Forum community will be asked for feedback to determine the key discussion topics.

Share resources

Our conference speakers have graciously offered to share some of their valuable resources:

Additionally, below are links to the conference presentations:

Plenary sessions:

Breakout sessions:

Other ideas?

If you have other ideas worth sharing, please send your feedback to paul.jansen@fleetforum.org