2017 Annual Conference – Day 1 Summary

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

After a spectacular Welcome Reception, sponsored by Renault the evening before, delegates were ready for the day ahead. Delegates received a warm welcome by senior management of the conference host, UNGSC.

THE 15th Annual Fleet Forum Conference opened with a strong message to delegates: Change is the New Stability. Kevin Furniss, 2017 Annual Conference Keynote Speaker, kicked-off the conference by outlining the need to engage, build relations, inspire, lead people and place them at the center stage. Kevin, who is APM Terminals’ Vice President for Health, Safety, Security and Environmental Sustainability, made it very clear that the only way to survive is to embrace the changing world and adapt one’s style.

Picking up on Kevin’s message, delegates then broke out into smaller groups to discuss strategies to best prepare their organisations for success. During this time, delegates examined how demonstrating leadership, linking fleet management metrics to organisational objectives, implementing recognition schemes, and clear and constant 2-way communication can increase buy-in and create catalysts of organisational change. It became clear that every fleet manager must design and incorporate change management mechanisms before rolling out any fleet management strategy.

After lunch, Jonathan Baker, Global Fleet Manager Marie Stopes International, shared his personal experiences of the evolution and growth of MSI’s fleet operations. He reminded delegates that developing policies, procedures and structures at head office did not drive their Global Fleet Project. Engaging people – from the Board, to country managers, programme staff, fleet officers, and drivers – will drive fleet management improvements. Such an approach requires a fleet manager to be vulnerable, guide people, connect with them, build structures together, and feel confident and capable.

Conference delegates then split into smaller groups to participate in two of four break-out sessions. Throughout the afternoon, delegates examined a series of concepts: from knowledge centres to road safety benchmarking, driver competency frameworks and alternative vehicle sourcing methods. Each of these four concepts were aimed at connecting organisations with transparent practices, sharing intellectual resources, and building a learning culture. In an interactive setting, delegates enthusiastically debated and discussed the validity of the concepts – and provided input to transform these concepts into practical instruments that can be used across the sector.

Rounding up the day, James Martin, Officer-in-Charge of Central Maintenance and Repair Section of UNGSC, elaborated on a centralised approach to fleet maintenance operations. This included their waste management and environmental initiatives. Not only did James present the strengths of the current set-up, he also highlighted the areas UNGSC is examining to further embed sustainability in their operations.