Jaime Bringas envisions the day when fleet managers in Mexico – and ultimately all South America – are recognized as professionals, providing a critical – and costly – corporate service.
“In Mexico, most fleet managers are considered simply ‘the guy with the car keys,’ not the person directly responsible for the second-highest company expense,” explains Bringas, “We need to change the mindset in Mexican companies.”
Turning that dream into a path to reality earned Bringas the 2022 Global Fleet Visionary Award, presented at the recent Global Fleet Conference in Miami, Florida. Bringas is the co-founder and president of AMAFA (el Asociación Mexicana de Administradores de Flotilla Automotriz), the Mexican equivalent of NAFA (the National Association of Fleet Administrators). He is also a primary force behind AMAFA’s first-ever certification program for the fleet market in Mexico.
Currently EHS and fleet manager for Phillip Morris International, Mexico, Bringas holds a degree in business administration and also has worked in fleet for communications and pharmaceutical companies.
A Chat Among Friends
In Mexico, fleet managers traditionally learn on the job with little or no connection to others in the industry.
What began as chat between Bringas and two friends discussing common fleet challenges became an informal forum, then evolved into a WhatsApp group, sharing information, best practices, and benchmarks.
Finally, in just seven years, those best-practice exchanges between friends and colleagues have grown into a full-fledged industry association with more than 150 members collectively managing more than 50,000 vehicles.
Open to all fleet professionals in Mexico, AMAFA provides members a valuable networking platform and a resource to improve skills and enhance industry knowledge.
The group recently held its inaugural “AMAFA Day,” featuring seminars covering a wide range of fleet topics, including data management, regulations and laws, and safety, as well as a best practices presentation by Heineken.
Held in a museum on the campus of Mexico University, the day-long event also offered a personal empowerment seminar, the first of four planned self-improvement sessions.
“You can have the expertise, but if you don’t believe in yourself, how can you propose new ideas and initiatives to your management?” says Bringas.
A Significant Opportunity: Certification
Set to launch this fall, AMAFA’s new fleet certification program is a significant opportunity for Mexican fleet managers to elevate the professionalism of their field.
In what some call an “historic” occasion for fleet in Mexico, AMAFA partnered with AMAVe, the Mexican Association of Vehicle Leasing Companies, to provide subject-matter expertise for the courses.
Leasing companies are eager partners in the program, says Bringas. One benefit, he points out, is that certification courses will enable “all members of the fleet industry to share the same language, standards, and expertise.”
Structured in three levels, the program will offer a 15-module fleet essentials course followed by a “deep-dive” specialization course. The third level focuses on professional development skills. Ultimately, says Bringas, AMAFA may offer the certification courses with some accommodations to fleet management in other South American countries.
Envisioning a better future invites acceptance of change, something Bringas believes essential to advance fleet in Mexico. “Are we merely the guys with the key cards or are we integral partners in bringing value to the company?”
“Imagine if we all go on doing the same thing – you remain in the same place, the same role, and the same time for a long time.”