What Did You Take Away from GFX?

July 6, 2012

by Thi Dao - Also by this author

I think we were all captivated with Bob Stanton’s opening keynote at GFX. One of the points I remember the most is his urging of attendees to write a whitepaper after the show explaining what ideas they had gathered that they could possibly implement in their own operations. This echoes Bobit’s own policies regarding shows — write down what you’ve learned after each show, because you’d be surprised at what you forget.

So I’ve tried to do the same below — not a whitepaper, but a simple list. What I’ve compiled is conversations with various fleet managers that perhaps provide a snapshot of the industry:

  1. Times are still tough. Some fleet managers (and I’ve heard this through other channels as well) were given second jobs with no additional compensation.
  2. Metrics and numbers are a good way to prove your operation’s effectiveness. A couple of fleet managers have said they used numbers to justify their spending and savings, and as a result, management left their operations alone while other departments were scrutinized. Sessions about benchmarking and metrics also proved to be popular at the show.
  3. At the same time, one can only do so much with budget cuts, and even the top fleets are facing staff layoffs.
  4. “Going green” is something to brag about, and most fleet managers seem to be doing it with help from grants. Whether it’s CNG or electric vehicles, leading the charge in alternative-fuel adoption is a big accomplishment.
  5. Police vehicles are still the talk of the town. Some people have very strong opinions about which vehicles they like and dislike. I’m excited to see which vehicle, if any, will dominate the police market.
  6. Difficulties aside, fleet managers love what they do.

As I heard one person say, “If you can take back one idea that can save tens of thousands of dollars, that makes the conference so worthwhile.”

I’ll use what I’ve gathered as ideas for potential stories that may help GF readers. What did you learn from the show, and how will you use it to improve your operations?

Post below or e-mail me at [email protected]


  1. 1. Gary Lykins [ July 09, 2012 @ 03:58AM ]

    GFX was such an informative event it is hard to nail it down to just a couple of ideas. One of the most productive things I am doing is getting involved in the NJPA, some of thier products are exactly what we already use. I was also pleased to learn an IBS store is feasible for us (I always thought we were too small) . If we were to implement an IBS we could switch a non production employee to the production floor. In our small operation it would increase productivity potential by 1/3... Big Numbers!!!!

  2. 2. Thi Dao [ July 30, 2012 @ 03:50PM ]

    Glad to hear, Gary! Let us know if that's what you end up doing -- and how it works out.

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Thi Dao

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Thi is the executive editor of Government Fleet magazine. She is interested in maintenance management and alternative fuels.

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