By Donald Dunphy
Running a business has been disrupted for fleet managers and the companies that serve them. The changes in the marketplace have required pivots, new models, remote work and new ways to stay connected. For NAFA's Associate Members, the products and services providers for fleets, maneuvering through lockdowns has been challenging. The most effective tools in an Associate Member's toolkit is developing business relationships through personal one-on-one meetings. Many business leaders have had to develop new strategies for building trust and confidence in their solutions – virtually.
"The pandemic escalated disruptions to the business world," says NAFA Regular Member John Brewington, CAFM, President of Brewington & Company, a fleet asset and management consulting firm. "Only after things return to normal will we fully know how severe and long-lasting these disruptions to business, as we once knew it, will be."
Maintaining an essential role in daily fleet operations has required some creative thinking. As an industry consultant, Brewington advises clients to get smart quickly with innovative approaches.
Be available: "Although I can’t physically meet with clients right now, I let them know I am available for whatever questions or support needs they may have – I’m never more than a phone call, e-mail, or text away!"
Be empathetic: "Many of my clients, and potential clients, are unsure how all this will play out. Will the new fleet management model for them include more work-from-home, additional outsourcing of fleet responsibilities, less staff, even loss of their jobs? I try to let them know I care and am available should I be needed to discuss what happening at their fleet or in their career."
Be authentic: A lot of fleet management professionals are scared – what will tomorrow bring, health-wise, financially, professionally, personally? I can’t be everyone’s psychiatrist, but I have survived some ups and downs in my many decades of fleet management – maybe my past experiences can help someone differentiate between what they have control over and what is best to 'let go.'"
Be smarter: "What a great time to finish one’s degree, get an advanced degree, or earn a professional designation (did someone say CAFS/CAFM?). Prepare professionally for whatever you have wanted to do but just didn’t get around to doing."
Be light: "These are serious times! The stresses of working-from-home, not knowing what tomorrow may bring, etc. can really take a toll on people. I try to get everyone to laugh when we communicate – not the easiest thing I’ve ever done in some cases but worth the effort. Hopefully my ability to see and share humor even in tough times can make the day go just a little easier for a fleet friend."
Get connected with your peers and up your game at NAFA 2020 Virtual I&E. This is a new experience that brings information, inspiration and connection to leading fleet managers. Over four days in September, join hundreds of top professionals in educational sessions, an online expo, innovative networking activities and immediate access to experts who are helping share the future of fleet.
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