I was getting measured up for a new suit the other day when the tailor asked me what line of work I was in. His question got me thinking about the similarities between the business of fleet management and tailoring.

Fleet managers and tailors are both in the business of providing a service and making a profit — believe me I know that by the price of my new suit! Relationships really matter to both, too. The value of spending time nurturing relationships cannot be underestimated.
The similarities between our professions though go a lot deeper. Fleet managers and tailors are both experts in taking a product or service and moulding it to match a client's needs.

Take tailoring. It's easy to pick a suit off the peg. It might look like it is a good fit at first glance. On closer inspection it soon becomes clear that it's a bit long there, too short here, a bit baggy around the chest and too tight fitting on the bum. This is why the business of tailoring exists. It's taken a great design, lovely cloth and tailors it to an individual.

In global fleet management we do much the same. We take a great product or service, and apply it at a global level by tailoring it to meet local conditions. If we are inflexible and try to force a global solution to fit local conditions, we end up with an ill-fitting solution that looks silly and ends up costing money.

There's no such thing as one-size-fits-all in global fleet management. I learned that a few years back at Fleet Europe, but it's become even clearer since we launched Global Fleet two years ago.

Factors like different business practices, market maturity, supplier presence and services, alongside cultural differences all drive the way fleet management is both perceived and implemented.

This doesn't mean similar practices and consolidation can't exist at a global level. It has to in today's global village. Taking advantage of economies of scales and strategic synergies at corporate level are factors that are pushing the principles of global fleet management forward.

So, how do we balance what are often conflicting conditions? The only way to understand what can and should be done in a new country or region is to listen to our peers and stakeholders.

Learning from people in our industry who have experience of global fleet management is a great starting point. We get to hear about what works, what doesn't and why, and learn lessons from mistakes that have been made in the past.

Industry learning and excellence is what drives Globalfleet.com. At our third Global Fleet Conference in Miami this June, we'll be talking about the issue that matter in global fleet management. To learn more about the Global Fleet Conference in Miami, visit the event Website.

The global fleet conference is a unique occasion for movers and shakers in the fleet business to share knowledge and network. What you will learn from your peers will help you to deliver excellence in global fleet management. That's our promise to you.

If you sign up you'll also get to see what my new suit looks like.

I look forward to welcoming you to Miami this June. It's gearing up to be a great event!
Further information on the Global Fleet Conference (Miami, June 15-16) can be found at the event Website.

Steven Shoefs is the chief editor of Fleet Europe. You can reach him at [email protected].