October 2, 2018

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Editor's Analysis & Top Industry News

AFLA in Orlando: Networking (and Fun) in the Sun

Greetings from Orlando, where we are in the midst of yet another fantastic AFLA conference. The event kicked off with a WIFM (Women in Fleet Management) breakfast and networking event, with over 150 attendees (the biggest WIFM event so far!) where Dr. Bridget Cooper offered some insightful tips on how to manage stress, build upon passion and connection, and generally find calm in the storm.

This year AFLA Conference had 524 attendees overall, 108 of whom are fleet managers (that’s a 20% growth in fleet managers since last year). The event is at the JW Marriott Orlando Grand Lakes – which is a stunning facility with lakes, kayaking, golf, etc. – and everyone seems to love it!

There are just a few too many conference highlights to mention here, but chief among them were the announcement of AFLA’s new Mini-MBA program, and some great sessions on hot fleet topics (like information security, for example). It’s been a great experience!

Ted Roberts

Thought Leadership

Customer Driven — Engage your organization to create customer loyalty, trust, and superior service

Disruptive Leadership — Master the principles of disruptive leadership

Fleet Asset Management – Best practices for work truck management

Fleet Marketing – Guiding principles for fleet providers to improve marketing and increase sales

Fleet Spectator A 360 view of the fleet industry

Globally Speaking — Perspectives on the multinational fleet

In the Public Interest — Successfully managing the government fleet

On Fleet Driver Management Solutions to improve your fleet’s accident rate and cut costs on collision repairs

Safety & Risk — Impactful driver safety and risk management tools and techniques

Talent Management — Smart guidelines to help you manage the talent in your workplace

Think, Execute, Win!Leadership tips from NBA Star and motivational speaker Walter Bond

VIDEO: CEI Aims to Stay at the Forefront in a Changing Industry

There’s no question that megatrends like connected vehicles and mobility are going to change the landscape of the fleet industry – and CEI is positioning itself to remain at the forefront.

VIDEO: The Best Data Possible

 An Unrelenting Focus on Technology, Telematics and Data

Donlen has an unrelenting focus on getting the best data possible – via powerful technology and strong telematics programs.

VIDEO: Planning for the Future

 The Incredible Importance of Fleet Succession Planning

Although it’s great to see a number of new people entering the fleet industry, most companies and organizations are not doing enough in the way of fleet succession planning – and that poses potential risks.

The Fleet Spot

Element Fleet Announces Plan to Enhance its Customers’ Experience, Strengthen the Balance Sheet

Element Fleet Management Corp. today announced a customer-centric plan to meaningfully improve financial performance, strengthen and de-risk the Company’s balance sheet, and position the business for growth.

“We have embarked on a transformational reset of Element’s business, with a renewed focus on our customers and on improving productivity,” said Jay Forbes, Element’s Chief Executive Officer. “Element has crafted a clearly defined plan to deliver superior customer service, generate meaningfully improved profitability and solidify our financial position.


Driving Dynamics Rolls Out New Behind-the-Wheel Training Services Brand

Driving Dynamics Inc., a provider of driver and safety training for fleet-based organizations throughout North America today introduced DriverAdvantage, a new family brand for the company’s light-to-medium duty behind-the-wheel training services.

The purpose of the rebranding is to help its customers have a better awareness of available services and a clearer understanding of how the company’s behind-the-wheel training programs can work together to address various fleet needs. The name chosen for the brand is deeply rooted in the company’s three decades of history.


Candice Groth Named Director of Purchasing at Merchants Fleet Management

Merchants Fleet Management is pleased to announce that Candice Groth has joined their team as its Director of Purchasing.

“Candice brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to Merchants Fleet Management,” said Vice President of Fleet Operations Adam Secore. “Her expertise in new vehicle ordering, supply chain management and operations will be a great addition to the company.”


6 Tips to Keep Your Fleet in Top Shape

By Bill Jones, Managed Maintenance, Element Fleet Management

Keeping your vehicles and drivers safe, productive and on the road is essential to achieving your organization’s sales and service goals

So, what can you do to keep your fleet in top shape?

READ MORE to learn the 6 tips that will help you keep your fleet in top shape!

Fleet Marketing

Once you know your demographic, you can shape your message and medium so they resonate very specifically with the target audience

By Ed Pierce, Fleet Industry Marketer

In my last two ‘Call to Action’ columns, I began a series of tips from an article by Anna Kucirkova of Connex Direct Marketing entitled “Four Key Steps Toward Successful Marketing Communication.” It is a great read with plenty of ideas for fleet industry firms interested in better marketing. Here is the next installment of her story with my own complementary points.

Now it’s time to create a message that will resonate with your key demographics. What REALLY pains them? What are some of their daily challenges, and how can you alleviate those challenges? What kind of humor and tone do they respond to? What is relevant to them?



Fleet Spectator

Dramatic reduction in accidents, reduced fuel consumption, increase in productivity

By Mark Boada, Executive Editor

Ask Rhett Wheeler, operations risk manager who doubles as the fleet manager for Bill Howe Plumbing, Inc. in San Diego, what kind of return the company has enjoyed from its investment in telematics and he’ll tell you this: “We haven’t calculated the precise numbers, but with our accident reduction, fuel savings and improvement in productivity, it’s got to be 100 to one.”



The Perfect Internal Combustion Engine?

By Andrew Boada, Editor at Large

Unlike virtually all of its competitors, rather than putting its focus transitioning to BEVs, Mazda is bucking the trend as it seeks to build the perfect internal combustion engine.

These days, everyone knows that internal combustion engines are a dying technology and soon, we’ll all be driving electric vehicles. The rush by almost all the major OEMs to introduce an ever-widening selection of EVs seems to confirm the popular wisdom. One of them, however, Japanese OEM Mazda, strongly believes that what everyone knows probably isn’t so. Rather than joining the rush to introduce EVs of their own, instead – for now at least – they’re doubling down on the internal combustion engine.

What are Mazda’s leaders thinking? Are they committing Mazda to a serious strategic blunder?


Fleet Trends & Issues

The Growing Risk of Cyber Threats to Government Fleets

By Robert Martinez, Deputy Commissioner, New York City Police Department

If you are one of those people who, to protect yourself against hackers and cyber thieves, removes your hard drive and smashes it with a hammer when discarding your old computer, you will want to read this.

Today, every public leader must contend with the critical role technology plays in the structure and operation of government and the need to maintain the highest levels of cybersecurity.

This is especially true for government fleets and fleet vehicle connections to government data banks and computer networks. Vehicles today have more memory and computer capability than an F-14 fighter jet. All this memory and even a driver’s control of a vehicle can be just one hacker away from a big problem for fleet managers, both government and private alike.


Lyft Hopes You’ll Ditch Your Car, and Get Paid for it, or Never Buy One at All


Lyft announced that it would expand its “Ditch Your Car Challenge,” an attempt to both promote its services—the company makes the whole idea of not owning a car a little easier, goes the argument—and to continue to cast itself as a traffic-busting, city-friendly transportation option.

The challenge works like this: Roughly 2,000 participants from 35 cities (including Miami, New York, Pittsburgh, and Salt Lake City, along with Charlotte, North Carolina, and Nashville, Tennessee) will apply to be randomly chosen to pledge to ditch their cars for a month. In exchange for their fidelity, they’ll receive $300 in Lyft Shared credits, a one-month Zipcar car-share membership and $100 drive credit, $105 in public transit fares, and $45 to go toward a bike-share option. (These figures might vary slightly by market.) The catch: Participants have to actually own a car to ditch.

Read the article at Wired.

Automakers Deliver Message to Trump – We Told You So

The Detroit News

Ford Motor Co. CEO Jim Hackett reminded the White House that levies on steel and aluminum “took about $1 billion in profit from us.” Rival automakers used a Senate hearing to warn that extending the tariffs to foreign-made vehicles could cost jobs and drive consumer prices higher.

Ford’s executive chairman, Bill Ford Jr., used Thursday’s 100-year birthday celebration of the iconic Rouge complex in Dearborn to sharpen the point: “Our business runs a lot better when we have clarity,” he told a media scrum Thursday. “Our lead times are long, our capital intensity is such that our business is at its best when we have certainty.”

Read the article at The Detroit News.

Some States and Cities May Get Rid of Red-Light and Speed Cameras


Several states have moved to get rid of red-light cameras or diminish their use in local communities as complaints pour in from drivers who think the cameras are there to reap revenue rather than prevent accidents.

The insurance industry group, the IIHS, cites its own research. “A 2011 IIHS study of large cities with longstanding red light cameras found that cameras reduced the fatal red light running crash rate by 24 percent and the rate of all types of fatal crashes at signalized intersections by 17 percent,” it said in a report.

Read the article at MSN.

Rebranding NAFTA


U.S. and Canadian negotiators worked around the clock this weekend to secure an agreement just before a Sunday midnight deadline, allowing leaders from those nations and Mexico to sign the accord by late November. The 24-year-old Nafta will now be superseded by the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA, covering a region that trades more than $1 trillion annually.

The new trade pact offers Canada and Mexico some cover from the Trump administration’s threat to impose duties on car imports for national security reasons. Canadian auto exports up to 2.6 million units won’t be impacted by any U.S. tariffs on foreign cars. Mexico got the same threshold level, though neither country exports that many cars to the U.S.

Read the article at Bloomberg.


Your Last Car?

The Daily Beast

If you bought a car in the last few years, there’s a decent chance you won’t buy another one. In a decade—maybe less—you may subscribe to a car service the way you subscribe today to Netflix or Blue Apron.

When you need to go to Whole Foods, you send for a car on your iPhone or tell Alexa to send you one. Or you’ll order Whole Foods online, and an autonomous car will bring the groceries to you.

Americans only use their vehicles about 5 percent of the time, which is poor use of capital. When you’re not driving it, you’re parking it. And 80 percent of the trips we make are 1- and 2-person trips, so we could tailor shared-use vehicles for those kinds of trips.

Read the article at The Daily Beast.


VW Teams Up with Stanford

The Detroit Bureau

Volkswagen has teamed up with Stanford University to develop a process to manufacture the fuel cells that can power vehicles in the future by reducing the amount of platinum used.

Fuel-cell technology is regarded as a serious alternative to battery-electric technology, but it has always come with a comparatively high cost.

“This technology opens up enormous possibilities for cost reduction, as the amount of precious metal used is minimized. At the same time, service life and catalyst performance are increased,” said Stanford Professor Friedrich Prinz. “In addition to the fuel cell, atomic layer deposition also offers a whole range of other applications requiring high-performance materials, such as next-generation lithium-ion batteries.”

Read the article at The Detroit Bureau.

Fleet Management Resources
AFLA – Automotive Fleet & Leasing Association
Providing the advanced forum for corporate fleet professionals to network with industry leaders.
The CEI Group Inc.
CEI is North America’s largest provider of fully integrated fleet accident management, driver safety and risk management services.
NAFA Fleet Management Association
NAFA is the association for the diverse vehicle fleet management profession regardless of organizational type, geographic location, or fleet composition.
Offering a nationwide vehicle delivery and relocation service; serving the corporate and commercial fleet industry.
Since 1965, Donlen has been the fleet management industry’s leading provider of comprehensive, integrated financing and asset management solutions — and that spirit of innovation continues today.
PARS' mission is to provide you with high-quality service at competitive prices for all of your transportation needs.
Driven fleet professionals. Driving results.
Driving Dynamics
Driving Dynamics was established to help corporate fleet drivers develop expert, safe driving skills using proven, advanced driving techniques.
Wheels, Inc.
First in fleet for 79 years. Wheels helps you build tomorrow’s fleet today.

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