The Car and Truck Fleet and Leasing Management Magazine

‘Act Global – Think Local’

July 2002, by Ed Bobit - Also by this author

The new electronic interdependence recreates the world in the image of a global village.-Marshall Herbert McLuhan


Americans are benevolent ignorant about Canada, while Canadians are malevolently well informed about the United States.-J Bartlet Brebner


It is a peculiar Canadian trait to be able to spot an inequity better at a distance especially if facing south, than close up.-George Bain


Now there's a relatively new expression picked up during the last year for me. Oh, any number of people have been working diligently to make headway in this area for a half dozen years, I know.

The results are now becoming evident with combined efforts by the manufacturers and the corporate fleet managers.

The three "domestic" factories have especially zeroed in with an international focus.  Some have established a separate department, each has strong financial ties with "foreign" vehicle production companies who serve the market in some way.

Originally, the mantra seemed to say to the fleet manager "We'll help but there's no more discounts that we can afford."  Well, the factories found them and each hopes to double their global partners in the next few years. It's been interesting to watch.

So, when Scott Darling, BP Oil's fleet management services manager, invited me to join him and his global fleet manager group for annual meeting, I rapidly accepted. It was a new exposure for me and was an added education for me. Fortunately, while being held in beautiful downtown Stuttgart, Germany, (not exactly Burbank), the language was English, which was a salvation in itself.

It was amazing for a global novice like myself to learn the different objectives and procedures other (other than U.S) fleet managers held dear. They were literally from all over the world; i.e. Turkey, South Africa, U.K., Australia and so on.

All had different kinds of vehicle brands and reasons for them; serving "upstream" (in the oil fields) versus "downstream" (after refining) and differing policies to match their own cultures.

Scott has done a great job from an international corporate standpoint by not establishing or dictating the same policies for each other country. They all showed a willingness to act together to attain whatever advantages a joint effort could result.

I wasn't sure how my small presentation on my favorite topic (depreciation) would work but it apparently had some application for every member of the group.

So, if you happen to have a company operating vehicles in three or more countries, consider yourself "global" and work on how to integrate to some advantage.

Somewhat on the "international" scene are few comments and/or analysis form NAFA's annual FMI in Toronto considered by many to be quite successful.

I don't discard many statistics that may have use so I took some time to compare pre-registration listings from '01in San Francisco to '02 in Canada. Interesting results although I should point out that they receive any number of registrants at the door in addition.

If my recollection is accurate I believe that in '00 NAFA had just over a thousand 'fleet manager types' pre-registered for Nashville. Last year in S.F I counted 843.

For Toronto, my very unofficial count was 529 made up of 351 "commercial" accounts and 178 from the "utility/governmental" sector. Another 110 were "vendor/supplier" types.

I give the very strong Ontario Chapter full credit as well as other Canadians as my analysis shows 133 from Canada of the 529 total or 25 percent of the total (interestingly, however, more Canadians attended FMIs in San Francisco and Nashville than attended Toronto this year).

As exhibitors ourselves (as well as attending the fine seminars), we echoed what many related and that confirmed another good meeting. However as the percentage of Canadian NAFA members declines, it may be a while before another FMI is held in Canada.


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