Launched during the 2019 Institute & Expo this past April, NAFA's Communities have been setting the pace for membership networking and interaction. Each NAFA Community goes deep into a specific aspect and/or segment of fleet.
NAFA spoke with the leader of the Educational/University Fleets Community, Michael G. Wilson, CAFM®. He is Fleet Services Manager for the University of Iowa. Mike is a longtime NAFA Regular Member with strong engagement with the Association's university fleet efforts.
NAFA: What has the Educational/University Fleets Community been most interested in discussing?
Mike Wilson: The group has been focused on the operational concerns that Fleet Managers wonder about every day. Operational issues often need quick answers and this community’s fast response time has been very handy.
What can new participants research in Educational/University Fleets Community, and what are some key learnings thus far?
The communities would be a great resource for new participants. We have discussed work level over the summer months, how to handle charge-backs to departments for damage to vehicles, and best practices for communicating with staff about policy changes. For example, one participant asked about notifying staff that telematics devices were going to be installed in the fleet’s vehicles. The community member wanted suggestions on both how to notify staff members and what language other fleets were using in communication. Recently a fleet manager asked about the use of speed governors on vehicles managed by educational institutions.
Are there any questions where no one had an answer or opinion? If so, what was it?
There has been at least one response to every question raised. The group is active and there are a couple of members who step up to provide answers.
Do you recall the most interesting solution a Educational/University Fleets Community participant offered?
The community had a very interesting discussion about institutional standards for Motor Vehicle Records (MVR) checks. There was a wide range of responses despite the fleets being very similar. Some fleets checked all drivers, some only checked students, others checked only CDL drivers. Some checks were done annually, others every three years. There is not a correct answer, but the forum allows you to ask follow-up questions and learn more about why they do things the way they do.
What are the top values Educational/University Fleets Community participants enjoy by participating?
There are several benefits to participating in communities. First is getting timely information from peers. We have over 100 members in our community. Another benefit is getting the opportunity to see how others operate. A community question or response may prompt a fleet manager to think about something in a new way or to update processes. Another value is creating more connections with fleet managers with similar fleets, software, and fuel systems. Those people can provide targeted advice for you.
One more value of the Communities is the document library. You can use that to post documents that have been beneficial to you and look over documents that others have posted. For example, I recently conducted a customer service survey and I posted the questions I used to the library. Not that my survey will work for everyone, but it can be a template to start from and edit to fit your needs.
How are Associate Members participating? What value will they get by participating?
By monitoring the questions posted, Associate Members are getting an idea of the current issues fleet managers are facing. Then if their company has a solution, they can reach out to the fleet manager for some off-line discussions. Communities offer Associate Members an opportunity to do quick market research regarding technology or issues.
To Participate in the Educational/University Fleets Community – or the 14 other NAFA Communities that focus on specific fleet segments – login at www.NAFA.org and click on the green “COMMUNITIES” button on the homepage.