NAFA’s new president says he hopes to see his organization become the source for instruction and education for all things fleet.
NAFA’s new president, Bryan Flansburg, CAFM has seen many changes during his 21 years with this well-respected organization. Most recently, NAFA has made changes to its bylaws. The association has also introduced new testing methods for those reaching out for certification, and has introduced new certification programs. But as the world continues to change, so will NAFA.
“As an association, we need to stay in front of the changes that are going to happen in the automotive industry,” Flansburg says. “I really think we need to look at whether we’re going to continue to be managers of assets or whether we are going to manage the mobility of our companies.”
As we see the emergence of technologies like self-driving vehicles, Flansburg believes the role of the fleet manager will have to change in the near future. “We have to ask ourselves whether we will still have those assets that will need to be managed, or will we be using Uber, for example, to get our employees around?”
Then again, perhaps even more innovative technologies are currently in the pipeline services and products that we don’t know
about yet, but that will change the way we commute and travel in the future.
“Autonomous cars will be here soon,” Flansburg says. “They will now come to you and take you where you need to go. Or perhaps they will come to you and you’ll put an item in them, and they’ll take that item to where it needs to go. How is that going to change the industry? And with that, I think NAFA needs to take a step back and ask, ‘How are we going to grow with these kinds of changes?’”
Flansburg knows of at least one fleet manager who no longer manages physical assets the traditional way. Although this manager is part of an organization with fleets in other parts of the world, Flansburg says they opted not to have a fleet of vehicles in the United States. “Because American tax laws have gotten so difficult for his organization,” he explains, “they’ve decided to get rid of all their assets and have someone who reimburses people. So they’re managing a mobility program that gets their people to where they need to go.”
That kind of program might include Uber, or reimbursements, or public transportation, or electric bicycles, or any other non-traditional transportation method. “But how do we make sure that our members have the knowledge and the education they need to implement these kinds of programs?” Flansburg says. “That’s something we need to look at. I think globally we’re going to see these kinds of changes.”
Earlier this year, NAFA launched the Sustainable Fleet Certificate Program, which is designed to educate fleet professionals in proven methods to develop sustainable fleet initiatives. But that’s just one of a number of certificate programs the organization hopes to bring to fruition in the future.
“One of these would be D.O.T.,” Flansburg explains. “Since compliance is difficult to understand, we want to develop some kind of training program to educate our fleet managers to better understand the complicated rules and regulations of commercial motor vehicles.” NAFA is also considering a global certificate that would help fleet managers care for their responsibilities on an international level.
“Overall,” Flansburg says, “we want to become the education go-to for anything and everything that has to do with fleet.”