Canadian fleet professionals reflect on the benefits of attending this year’s Institute & Expo.
No matter what answers or solutions fleet managers and other fleet industry stakeholders are looking for, they are sure to benefit from participating in the many training opportunities available at NAFA’s Institute & Expo (I&E).
This annual event offers an unparalleled opportunity to acquire new knowledge and forge relationships that are sure to help both individuals and organizations progress.
OpenFleet Business Development Manager Eric Garzon attended his first-ever NAFA I&E this year. He represents a company that helps organizations implement internal car-sharing processes, which allow them to lease vehicles when not in use. His goal at this event was to learn more about the fleet industry in general, take advantage of networking opportunities, gain insight as to industry dynamics by identifying the major companies and their needs, and observe how suppliers and other partners integrate into their business models.
Although airline issues prevented him from covering all the bases he initially set out to cover, he nonetheless feels that he met his overall objective. As the company he represents uses new technology to create “virtual keys” for vehicles identified for car-sharing opportunities, he also found value in learning the various rules and regulations governing these activities.
For now, Garzon and OpenFleet are all about growth. Two or three Quebec-based customers are already sharing vehicles from their fleets. “The concept is starting to gain traction,” he said. “We know that many fleets don’t use all of the units at their disposal on a daily basis. If we implement this solution correctly, we can reduce the total number of vehicles by approximately 30% without impacting users.”
Increased knowledge base
For Énergir retiree and Certified Automotive Fleet Manager (CAFM) Roger Constantin, who offers consulting services through his company, Services Conseils RC, this wasn’t the first NAFA I&E he attended. He participated in an advanced fleet management training session. “In addition to the learning aspect, we can discover what others are implementing or have tried to implement, which can help validate our own approach,” he said.
He pointed out that NAFA has created various virtual communities (e-community) to help facilitate exchanges between fleet directors evolving in similar environments, such as government, the public sector, and other similar fleets.
Subaru Canada was once again represented at this I&E, with both a company booth and representatives on the exhibition floor. “We share a space with our Subaru of America colleagues,” said Fleet Manager for Canada, Naomi Kislanski. “This offers an opportunity to interact with clients while paying close attention to the requirements they express, which also happen to apply to our vehicles.”
She brought up the fact that the NAFA event has been condensed into a three-day format, which makes for extremely relevant but busy days. The overall message she took away from the 2019 edition is to “let technology work for us, without apprehension, as it makes our lives easier.”
As for Luc Grenier, Fleet and Electric Vehicle Manager at Mitsubishi Canada, visibility was achieved by sponsoring the Canadian segment. “This year marks the fourth time that we’ve supported this activity and the reception which follows,” he pointed out. “We like the concept of having Canadians getting together in a friendly and intimate setting to get an update on the latest legislation and other important issues impacting their decisions.”