By Tod Trousdell, Fleet Marketing Consultant and Partner/RobertsTrousdell Communications
November 15, 2023
Biggest Ever One-on-One VIP Event for Work Fleets
The Work Fleet Forum, a live event unlike any other in our field, just concluded its tenth annual program, its first Forum in Las Vegas, with a record number of fleet leaders and suppliers. The Work Fleet Forum is an invitation-only, intimate-scale event where fleet managers get to talk candidly, network with each other, and request one-on-one meetings with suppliers to speed and simplify their sourcing process.
This year’s Forum kicked off with a delegate dinner that included fleet leaders from AT&T, Quanta, LG&E, Schindler Elevator and more. Hosted by longtime attendee and Platinum Sponsor FLD Remarketing, the group headed to downtown Fremont Street, the “original Las Vegas,” for a dinner that was opened with Forum Chair Scott Goldman thanking FLD President Gary Mott for FLD’s longtime support of the event.
The next morning, delegates got a behind-the-scenes guided tour of the Vegas Loop, the underground tunnels built by Elon Musk’s company to shuttle visitors around the city in subterranean Tesla cars. Attendees posed for photos with the actual diamond-faced tunnel boring cutter head that dug the tubes beneath Las Vegas, and learned from Loop employees how the system works.
Ranger Design sponsored a breakfast keynote titled “The Data That Reveals the Future of Fleet.” Senior Analyst Jason Allen of Utilimarc, a leading fleet data compiler and analysis firm, presented highlights of the fleet data collected from hundreds of utility and field fleets, and offered several tangible cost-saving tips revealed by that data. Among them, he showed how putting newer vehicles into lower-distance service, and assigning older vehicles to more rugged duty, can reduce the overall cost-per-mile for a fleet, compared with putting the newest trucks into the hardest routes. He also demonstrated the savings achieved using engine oil analysis to sample and determine actual oil condition. Merely following oil vendors’ recommendations often results in more oil changes (and more time off the road) than needed, Allen showed.
“Make Fleet Safety Real: Combining the Power of People and Technology” was the lunch keynote address, hosted by the Forum’s other Platinum Sponsor, Mobileye. Carl Fodor, Director of Safety for Compass Group North America, a corporate food service operator with over 10,000 vehicles, delivered the address. He described how Compass rebounded from two serious vehicle incidents in one year with top management showing a new commitment to safety. His most successful safety tool, he said, was the installation of AI-powered collision avoidance systems from Mobileye. The aftermarket system dramatically reduced crashes and injuries at Compass, Fodor said, and is now used across Compass’ vans, box trucks, and cars.
Besides education and networking, the Work Fleet Forum is unique in how it allows fleet managers to source their product and service needs in one visit. Instead of an expo, buyers can do deep-dives with suppliers in private, mutually-arranged meetings, without distractions. The Forum uses a “Match.com” type of system to bring fleet managers in front of the vendors they want to see, and allows them to see more of what they want, as well as discovering new solutions. Through small-group demos in quiet rooms, and one-on-one sit-downs, both fleet buyers and their suppliers save time and hassle by engaging with each other in a productive, relaxed setting.
Ron Harris, President of Mobile Installation Technologies, said, “This was by far the most effective use of our marketing funds of any event we’ve been to in 25 years!” He added, “All I heard were glowing reviews from both delegates and vendors.” Surveys bore that out, as the event netted a “Would Recommend to Others” score that is twice the industry average.
As usual, this year’s event also featured an outdoor vehicle demo of actual trucks and equipment. But the shiny metal of the truck displays was softened by vehicle relocater HopDrive. HopDrive, who tout their speedy service with a logo featuring a rabbit, hosted the Pet A Bunny Station, where Forum guests could hold and bond with some live rabbits. The adorable furry friends nibbled at carrots from the bed of a rabbit-scale diecast pickup truck between visits. Dinners included a night at the Palms’ rooftop ballroom, with a spectacular view of all of Las Vegas, and a retractable roof that opens to the sky.
The big night was a visit to the brand-new Las Vegas Sphere for an immersive 360-degree film experience. Fleet Complete hosted the virtual journey around the world on a state-of-the-art digital theatre screen that wraps the interior of the 360-foot tall Sphere.
Fortunato Gulino, Head of Fleet for NY’s Con Edison, says Work Fleet Forum is his favorite event of the year. “The format (for Work Fleet Forum) is by far the most productive of any event I attend all year,” said Gulino. “I can’t think of any other event where I learn about the products I need in such a short amount of time – there’s really no other event like it.”
Vendors praised it, too. Bill Bishop, SVP of Sales and Marketing at FLD, said the Forum gives them the best opportunity anywhere for guaranteed interactions with qualified buyers, and it has brought them some of their best accounts in the years they’ve been coming.
My own thoughts? Perhaps more than anything, I was impressed with the interactive nature of Work Fleet Forum and the camaraderie that blossomed between fleet leaders and service providers. The feel was more like a summer camp than trade show, with attendees eagerly exchanging ideas and apparently making connections that many told me have lasted for years.
It was also obvious that event creator Scott Goldman was genuinely engaged with the group and enthusiastic about pleasing everyone there. He set up a welcoming environment that made the success possible. Everyone found value in the comfort of The Forum, something they simply don’t get from other industry events and tradeshows.
The Forum organizers, Eaton Hall Exhibitions, had a smash event, and have decided to return to Las Vegas next year, back at the Palms Las Vegas, November 12-14, 2024. More details are at www.WorkFleetForum.com or (800) 746-9646 ext. 102.