February 7th 2008 was the date for the Fleet News Europe Conference, this year held in Brussels. Amongst others, the experienced panel of speakers included Ivan Hodac, the Secretary General of ACEA and Steffan Schick, COO of Fleet Logistics briefing on the EU and industry level developments. Gavin Eagle (LeasePlan) and Pascal Serres of ALD talked about Green Fleet developments and European Expansion and Alan Carpenter, Director, Volvo Car International Fleet Sales covered the complex issue of growing pan-European business through developing and implementing workable European fleet policies.
Alan's speech tackled the need to secure corporate alignment and top level management sponsorship for the critical to success factor of reducing the number of suppliers. In so doing he touched on all the emotional reasons why so many companies have struggled to get the best possible results from a pan-European fleet policy.
With a light hearted look at why emotions have become so closely inter-related to car brands he went on to outline both why change is necessary and also to address some of the issues that need to be resolved if the emotional barriers are to be overcome.
Commitment to implementation of an agreement from both top down and bottom up formed a major part of his speech and his theme of "desire" emphasised just why it is so vital that the desire to succeed is kept alive through the sometimes extended process of moving to, and getting the benefits from, a pan-European agreement. In covering this area he looked at what clients should expect from suppliers, both car manufacturers and leasing companies, and what clients need to deliver internally if the project is to succeed.
A key section of the speech covered the highly topical issues of fleet safety and the impact of environmental developments on the shape of fleet policies whilst looking at likely future developments in both of these key areas.
The issue of the role of Euro NCAP was covered along with how companies can look beyond Euro NCAP for a wider evaluation of "total safety".
On the environmental level he probed the current critical issue of carbon footprints and alternative fuels, stopping to take a more detailed look at the growing role of E85, whilst inviting the audience to consider how to take a more holistic view of the total environmental impact of their fleet.
He concluded by considering how the international leaders of the future would need to work with their organisations; work with the safety and environmental imperatives; and then co-operate across complex supply chains to ensure that European fleet policies delivered their potential to all parties.