Fleet managers from some of the largest companies in the United States met in Tampa, FL last week for NAFA's 2nd Annual Mastering International Fleet Management Seminar. The three-day event (October 16-18) was developed by NAFA in cooperation with FleetVision and featured expert speakers who covered the major aspects of fleet operations in Europe, Asia, Australia, Central America, and South America. The seminar was sponsored by ARI, Athlon Car Lease International, eco frotas, Toyota, Phh Arval BNP Paribas Group, and Wheels. Automotive Digest and Fleet Europe were media sponsors.
Bart Vanham, publisher of the International Fleet Tax Guide and Partner at TCOPlus, led off the seminar with an in-depth examination of European taxes. Vanham explained that fleet managers need to be aware of the many and various taxes in each individual European country in order to accurately determine their Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). Many taxes in Europe are pegged to the vehicles' emissions output, meaning that a vehicle with lower emissions is taxed at a lower rate than one with higher emissions. In fact, as Vanham noted, there are many instances where the addition of taxes in to the TCO equation, otherwise known as TCO-Plus, often results in vehicles being less economical than originally thought.
"It may be as simple as moving your drivers from a six-cylinder BMW, for example, to a four-cylinder turbo-charge BMW, to achieve the balance between economic tax benefits for the company and driver satisfaction," Vanham explained.
The second day of the seminar offered fleet managers the opportunity for candid, off-the-record discussions and questions among the expert speakers and attendees. Topics included: understanding regional cultures, reviewing international fleet policies, gaining control of the international fleet operations, and developing a successful global strategy. Fred Turco, Senior Director, Global Fleet for Pfizer, spoke openly about his four-year effort to harmonize his company's fleet operations across the globe. In addition to talking about fleet, Turco -- while sitting in his office in New York -- demonstrated how fleet managers can use technology to meet virtually with their fleet counterparts around the globe.
On the third and final day of the seminar, representatives from EcoFrotas discussed many important topics including fuel choices, fueling sources, vehicle availability, and vehicle suitability with regards to various terrains; experts from Toyota gave insights into manufacturing developments around the globe and trends in vehicle technology that may reduce total cost of ownership; and representatives from Athlon Car Lease spoke authoritatively on the subject of mobility solutions that should be considered when reviewing company car policies in Europe. The conference concluded with two informative panel sessions: one featured expert suppliers from the OEM, fleet management company, and consultant arenas, while another brought key fleet managers together to share personal "war stories" and offer tips on how to become a successful international fleet manager.
"This highly successful conference is another example of NAFA's ongoing efforts to provide the high-quality education corporate fleet managers need for their changing workplace," said NAFA's Executive Director Phillip E. Russo, CAE. "As more and more fleets move beyond North American borders, NAFA will continue to be there for them, every step of the way."
About NAFA Fleet Management Association
NAFA (nafa.org) is the world's premier non-profit association for professionals who manage fleets of sedans, public safety vehicles, trucks, and buses of all types and sizes, and a wide range of military and off-road equipment for organizations across the globe. NAFA is the association for the diverse vehicle fleet management profession regardless of organizational type, geographic location or fleet composition. NAFA's Full and Associate Members are responsible for the specification, acquisition, maintenance and repair, fueling, risk management, and remarketing of more than 3.5 million vehicles including in excess of 1.1 million trucks of which 350 thousand are medium- and heavy-duty trucks.