29 May 19

GlobalFleet at the 2019 Australasian Fleet Conference and Exhibition

The 2019 Australasian Fleet Conference and Exhibition, staged by AfMA (the Australasion Fleet Management Association), was again held at the Melbourne Convention Exhibition Centre on the south bank of the Yarra River for Day 2 & 3, but this year there was an addition to previous events with the “Safety Field Day” hosted at Sandown Raceway on Day 1.

The event has gone from strength to strength in recent years and this was clearly the best event staged by AfMA to date with around 500 delegates attending from around Australia to see 50 presenters on topics that ranged from the highly specific (“Commercial EVs”) to the more generic (“A Seat at the Table”).

Professional Fleet Managers

AfMA has long promoted the idea of Fleet Management as a trained profession, with “The enhancement Fleet Management as a profession in its own right” being a part of its original charter. In keeping with that, the Association, in conjunction with Swinburne University, has developed a Diploma course contextualised for Fleet Managers.

Day 1 of the conference saw the recognition of 16 new graduates of the course and included comments of Brad Foan, one of the graduates, on the benefits of the course in his own career. Foan, fleet manager of the Tenterfield shire council, faces unique problems in his role managing a fleet that covers an area three times the size of Luxembourg with a population of just over 6500 people.

Foan said that the course provided him with the confidence to implement new initiatives and validate initiatives already taken. “Tenterfield has a small population and as a result we depend a lot on grants for funding. The course has been invaluable in helping me develop those skills,” he says.

AfMA Award Winners

The conference this year also incorporated the annual AfMA Fleet Management Awards, with this year's winners being;

  • Fleet Manager of the Year: John Barlow (NSW Department of Industry), sponsored by BP Australia.
  • Fleet Environment Award: Meridian Energy, sponsored by Hyundai Motor Company Australia.
  • Fleet Safety Award: New Zealand Racing Board, sponsored by Teletrac Navman | Australia and ANCAP SAFETY.

The awards formed part of a wonderful dinner at the Plaza Ballroom in Melbourne and were a fitting tribute to the industry leaders that received them.

Women in Fleet Management

In recent times there has been a lot of effort within the Australian Fleet Industry to be more inclusive of female participation and while there is still a ways to go in this regard, AfMA continues to show support. 

Carolyn Edwards from Leaseplan USA presented on the Women in Fleet Management (WIFM) group in the US. The movement has gained great traction in the US and AfMA is making efforts to replicate its success here in Australia. 

Technology and Mobility

As always, the conference included a great deal of information on the wide variety of technologies and technological advancement in the fleet industry. There were presentations on Technology and safety, technology in mobility and a variety of other topics.

Conference exhibitors also included a wide variety of technology organisations, including vehicle connectivity company Geotab, collision avoidance system Mobileeye, AI powered fleet management system OviDrive and industry giant Teletrac Navman.

A repeated theme among the technology providers was that of “mobility” and the concept of developing models to allow clients access to “transport on demand”. This has become an increasing important theme and some exciting developments are already underway in Australia.

Mobility Management

Both the RACV, the Victorian motoring club and GoGet, Australia’s largest car sharing business, presented on the practical implications of mobility, with some interesting observations on ‘last mile’ transportation. 

RACV has been instrumental in the introduction of bicycle sharing to Australia, while GoGet have introduced innovative schemes for ride sharing over the last mile through their association with Keoride.

Bring on 2020

The event was a huge success with enormously positive feedback from all participants. Planning is already underway for the 2020 event and it will, no doubt, be as successful as 2019.

Author: Shane Curran