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A Strong Support Network

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Mike Camnetar is NAFA's Board President and Fleet Services Manager for General Mills. Photo NAFA

NAFA continues to help its members and the fleet management industry navigate through challenging times. 

I’ve been actively involved with NAFA for over 20 years and feel very honoured to be named president of the association in 2023. When coming into a new role, there are both expectations and objectives. For me, a key goal is to ensure that NAFA is essential to every fleet professional. No matter which industry you work in, associations play a large and influential role, often enabling you to achieve goals faster and more effectively.

Critical role

And that’s arguably never been truer than today. The fleet management sector, like many others, faces a range of challenges and fleet managers are often trying to manage vehicle procurement, use, maintenance, and disposal amid an economic and operating environment that’s constantly changing. That’s where education and professional development can really play a critical role and it’s something that myself and the management team here at NAFA are very passionate about. 

Sometimes, there’s a tendency to treat people differently depending on which aspect of the fleet management sector they’re involved in. Coming from somebody who has worked both as a fleet manager and for a fleet management organization, I’ve had the opportunity to see perspectives from both sides of the fence and ultimately, we’re all fleet professionals, regardless of the roles we perform. 

I think it’s important to consider that it takes contributions from all of us—no matter our job functions—to ensure the success of this industry. Therefore, how we classify people within the fleet management industry, how we interact with each other, plus the tools and solutions we provide all influence the outcome. We have a lot of truly talented individuals working behind the scenes here at NAFA and it is our goal to continue to look for the most effective ways to support our members and the industry, so we can continue to tackle some of the rapid changes and challenges facing our sector.

EV concerns

Speaking of those, a big one is the current focus on vehicle electrification. There are so many questions around this topic and many fleet managers are trying to grasp what it means and how or even if they should electrify their fleets. Governments have given us a very short time frame with which to increase adoption and we’re hearing a lot of concerns about how this will drive up the cost of vehicle operation and procurement. 

In some regions of North America, such as California, public fleet managers are already facing major budget shortfalls and those fleets simply don’t have the required funding to replace their existing assets with EVs. 

Even when it comes to managing traditional internal combustion engine vehicle assets, many fleets are currently finding themselves operating in a very challenging environment. 

Asset and financial management are a core part of our CAFM Program, and we’ve found that those managers that really understand it, tend to perform very well, in both good times and bad. 

More important than ever

In a market with lower vehicle rebates and higher prices from OEMs, plus higher financing and maintenance costs driven by inflation—good asset and financial management skills are more important than ever—particularly, when (as we’re seeing today), used vehicle prices are starting to decline, making it harder for fleets to make money on the resale market to offset higher purchase and operating costs.  

While it is difficult to tell how the current operating environment will evolve, as an industry, we can take steps to ensure we’re prepared for the challenges ahead. That’s why at NAFA, our focus is to continue providing and growing support, information, training, and certification programs. By doing so, we can help ensure our members and the fleet management sector continue to thrive, no matter what lies in store. 

 

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