With the company set to celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2024, Holman Drive23 was all about taking lessons learned from the past and utilizing that knowledge for the future. The event, held in Boca Raton, Florida, brought together not only fleet professionals but individuals in the procurement and finance industry to better understand what is driving fleet forward.
Holman Chief Executive Officer Chris Conroy kicked off the conference by sharing insights into the company's commitment to its people and outlining future plans. Think beyond what’s happening in the every day, Conroy suggested before adding to consider what might and will happen within the industry.
Leadership Insights and Industry Trends
In a panel discussion moderated by Peter Nogalo, industry relations manager at Holman, speakers, including Bob White, president of Holman Fleet & Mobility, and Jennifer Cayot, director of Strategic Sourcing at BNSF Railway, delved into the evolving trends of decarbonization and supply constraints. Transparent communication, proactive approaches, and strategic alignment were identified as key takeaways for navigating the complexities of the contemporary fleet landscape.
Ted Davis, senior vice president & chief operating officer of Holman Manufacturing and Distribution, addressed the recent UAW strikes, highlighting the ongoing evaluation of potential impacts on availability, acquisition costs, and lead times.
Digital Transformation and Future-Focused Fleet Technology
Highlighting the crucial role of digitization in modern fleet management, Jarrod Phipps, CIO at Holman, discussed integrated experiences while looking at the power of digital, telematics, and user experience for safety. Usability of analytics and ongoing initiatives for fleet mobility solutions were also explored.
“We have more information than we ever need right at our fingertips,” said Craig Pierce, senior vice president, Sales, Holman, who moderated the session on digital transformation trends that Phipps was a part of.
Data Challenges and Autonomous AI
Phil Nanus, EVP of Customer Success at Salesforce, delved into the challenges of data disconnection, emphasizing the need for aggregation, alignment with goals, and long-term health. The session also touched on the application of ChatGPT and the forthcoming era of artificial intelligence noting that “the next wave of AI is autonomous.”
With a focus on leveraging data for effective fleet management, Chad Saliba, AVP Solution Marketing at Geotab, discussed with panelists strategies to avoid overwhelming stakeholders as well as the importance of diverse data sources and the transformative nature of data for predictive analytics.
Michael Stallone, VP of Application Development at Holman, shared insights into case swarming and choices in utilizing data. He added that individuals need to look at the future landscape of correlated data, the rise of generative AI, and the importance of safeguarding data integrity.
Insights into Industry Trends and Closing Keynote
During the session, The Year Ahead for Auto, Fleet, and Business, Michal Taylor, senior advisor, Hillstaffers, spoke about uncertainty with regulations and the following key points:
- Mandate initiation and government incentives.
- Challenges posed by mandates and uncertainty on costs.
- Infrastructure availability and California grid's unpreparedness.
- The importance of considering appropriate duty cycles and vehicle availability, especially for public utility fleet managers during grid disruptions.
Supply Chain Outlook
Jennifer Costabile, general director at General Motors, shared insights into recent disruptions in production, logistics, and challenges faced during the allocation process. She emphasized the need for timely orders, high demand in heavy-duty pickups, and a market shift toward hydrogen fuel cell solutions.
“Think about how vehicles are being used,” Davis added advising on speccing/ordering, emphasizing the importance of starting with a budget, being early, and maintaining flexibility. He urged fleet professionals to not only consider how vehicles are being used.
White encouraged meeting challenges by staying ahead of trends, staying informed, partnering with other lead organizations, and gaining insights into future industry demands.
Insights from Future Fleet Today Panel
A session on the latest in future-focused fleet technology, moderated by Bill Cariss, president & CEO, Holman Growth Ventures, looked at digital titles and keyless entry to mobile fleet payments.
Panelists discussed next-gen car data and its application to enhance fleet safety. Topics included the transformative impact of AI and computer vision on telematics, emphasizing that telematics is just one piece of the broader technological landscape.
The question “What can new technology do for fleets?” was posed with one panelist noting that “telematics is important, it’s just one piece of a bigger picture.”
Jeff Immelt, former General Electric CEO and Chairman, closed the conference with insights from his career journey. He discussed the challenges of leadership in the evolving landscape, emphasizing the need for execution, transparency, and competency. Immelt also highlighted the impact of energy transition and digitization on the transportation industry. The session concluded with lessons learned and a forward-looking perspective on the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for the fleet industry.
“Focus on the work and the worker,” Immelt said, adding that “the best companies keep moving forward.”