Automotive fleet managers have sought recognition of their professional status for a long time as evidenced by the founding of such organizations as National Association of Fleet Administrators, Inc. 25 years ago and the Automotive Fleet and Leasing Association somewhat later. More recently (1976) the NAFA Foundation was established to help achieve this goal by involving graduate schools of business in fleet management oriented research as a way to gain academic awareness of this component of management science. We felt that faculty and students in graduate business schools would participate in these projects and gain a better under­ standing of the importance of this function to the efficiency and profit­ ability of organizations. The success of this concept has produced an ex­citing, if unanticipated, opportunity for fleet management to take a giant step toward acceptance as a recognized profession.

The NAFA Foundation and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania have concluded an agreement to create a comprehensive program of education to enhance the professional qualifications of fleet managers. This will be known as The Wharton Certified Fleet Manager Program.

In the past year, the Foundation supported work at Wharton to assess the feasibility of the CFM Program. With the School's assurance that the concept merits full-scale development, the coming years will witness implementation of this vital project throughout the United States and Canada.

Purpose of the CFM Program

The Wharton School's Certified Fleet Manager Program has a two-fold purpose. First, through home study, seminars, or classroom instruction, it will enhance participants' understanding of the complex issues confronting fleet managers today. Second, it will bestow upon those demonstrating competence in the field professional recognition as evidenced by the passing of a series of qualifying examinations.



Practicing fleet managers, as well as anyone else with a stake in the field of fleet management, will be eligible to enroll in the program. Among the many interested parties, this latter group might include representatives of leasing companies, auto manufacturers, auto dealers and other auto industry suppliers. All participants who master the instructional material and pass the examinations will be certified.

Administration, Content and Instruction

The Wharton school of the University of Pennsylvania will be the certifying institution. Wharton faculty will manage the enrollment process, supervise the preparation of course material study guides, case studies and examination They will select and arrange for testing centers, and grade and analyze examination results. As each participant completes the program. The Wharton School will confer upon him or her the designation Certified Fleet Manager. For Canadian managers, arrangements are being made to certify these individuals by York University (Toronto).

The CFM Program will provide instruction and testing in the procedural elements of fleet management, as well as the legal, financial and institutional structures within which fleet managers operate.

The emphasis will be on the why of fleet operations. This focus reflects the important distinction between training and education. Training is short-term intensive instruction in specific skills, techniques and routines, with an emphasis on doing. Education, on the other hand, is long range learning based largely on acquisition of ideas, doctrines and problem-solving principles, emphasizing gradual intellectual enrichment.

Completion of the CFM Program will require the equivalent of eight one one-semester college courses. But an important point to remember, is the time required to prepare for the examination will vary depending upon the abilities and experience, both practical and educational, of each candidate. Many candidates will have acquired considerable knowledge in the subjects tested through on-the-job experience and/or previous college training.

Advantages of University Certification

Certification can be conferred in a variety of ways. Professiona associations can certify the competence of their members. But can this method command the same credibility as certification by an academic body? Alternatively, correspondence schools conduct certification programs. But is certification by such institutions accorded the same respect as certification by one of the better-known universities?

We believe that certification by The Wharton School will carry unquestioned credibility because of the standards to which the School and the University of Pennsylvania are pledged:

  • Objectivity,
  • Faculty excellence, and
  • The respect of practitioners in all fields of management.

Quality control will be the heart of Wharton's CFM Program. To ensure its relevance to the practical concerns of fleet managers, Wharton has asked the Foundation to appoint a special committee of experts in the field. This group will review all material proposed by the Wharton staff for use in the program's curriculum. These fleet specialists will then respond with appropriate recommendations and guidance, Giving due consideration to this advice, Wharton will determine final course content and will prepare the examinations for each course. We consider this Wharton-Foundation- practitioner partnership invaluable to the effectiveness of the program.

Participation, Instruction and Fees

Courses will be designed for at- home instruction. Though this structure will enable participants to prepare adequately for examinations, wr expect that supplemental instruction will gradually be made available through several other avenues as the program grows and matures:

  • Seminars conducted across the United States and Canada by local universities and fleet specialists,
  • University courses located at institutions in many areas,
  • NAFA workshops at national or regional conferences, as part of the Association's educational function, and
  • Local study groups comprising participants who wish to prepare with others but who may not have convenient access to any of the above.

Each participant will be asked to pay a reasonable one-time fee to enroll in the program, as well as fees for course materials (textbooks, case materials, etc.) and examinations. Optional seminars, workshops and university courses will probably require additional tuition paid directly to the appropriate organization. An Information Bulletin describing the Program and the individual courses has been prepared and will soon be mailed to all members and affiliates of the National Association of Fleet Administrators, Inc.

Continuing Education

It is generally recognized that professional certification, like the attainment of a license to practice or an academic degree should neither discourage nor preclude continuing study of the subject. In every profession, the need to remain abreast of the latest technological, legal and competitive developments is a common expectation.

With this principle in mind, we strongly recommend that CFMs undertake a program of continuing education to maintain the high level of competence required for certification. Continuing education college courses and NAFA workshops arc but two of the resources available.

The University of Pennsylvania has authorized The Wharton School not only to participate in the program, but also to issue certificates in the name of the School. This commitment is a fact which speaks for itself.

We at the Foundation hope that those who will benefit from the pro­ gram will be as excited about it as we are. It is their participation that will make the CFM Program work for them as individuals and for the entire profession of fleet management.