Networking in the Fleet Space: Where, Who and Why it’s Important
Working in the fleet industry can feel isolating at times. Your work is vital to the success of your company, yet few in the “business world” truly understand the demands, pressures and concerns of a fleet manager. This is why networking can be so invaluable. Not only does it give you the chance to speak to others who understand what it is you do and the challenges you face, but it also allows you to glean insight into changes and tactics that others are using to effectively manage their fleets.
Because of its massive importance, we’ve delved into a couple ways that leaders in the fleet industry can network to make themselves more effective and better connected.
The Benefits of Networking
Why should you spend your time networking when you could simply sit back and manage your own fleet?
It’s simple, really. Networking can allow you to dig deep into the insights and solutions that others are using to better manage their fleets. Instead of spending excess money on fleet consulting services or trying to analyze industry data in recent surveys, you can learn from those who are in the field.
This way, you can actively work with vehicles, drivers and their management team, to see what’s working and what’s not. Networking can also help you glean some best-practices to apply to your own fleet from those who have tried them, and that can vouch for their effectiveness. As an added bonus, if you ever find yourself in need of a new position, your professional network can prove to be an invaluable tool.
Where Fleet Networking Happens
Networking is valuable for fleet industry leaders, but it does not happen automatically. You have to have a plan if you wish to benefit from it.
First, you need to identify where the best opportunities to network will occur:
- Try an industry conference
Industry conferences are one of the most effective places to network because it offers the chance to meet face-to-face with other leaders in your field. Conferences provide not only the opportunity to see up-and-coming technology and new industry strategies, but also to create new contacts. You get the chance to put a face with a name and make a more personal connection. This in turn, will help you reap the benefits later, when you wish to reconnect with that individual.
- Or an online forum
Online forums are another valuable way to interact with other fleet professionals if you are not able to initially meet them in person. One thing to note – not all forums are created equal, and it’s up to you to decipher which is best suited for you.
LinkedIn is a commonly used platform to connect with professionals in every facet of the working world – not just the fleet industry. It has a number of groups where informational articles, questions, answers and industry insights are regularly posted. Profiles with hundreds of connections can seem intimidating, but it doesn’t mean that you need a large number of contacts to make meaningful connections. Try starting by finding a few companies or individuals who you feel you could benefit from, and connect with them on LinkedIn. You can even find a list of the top 25 fleet management profiles to follow, if you’d like.
Become an active participant in questions or discussions that are pertinent to you. Soon you will build credibility and network contacts that you can reach out to when you need advice or help.
- Connect with Utilimarc!
Another great opportunity to build your professional network – Utilimarc! Because we are constantly reaching out to other fleet industry leaders for surveys and data for fleet analytics projects, we’ve built a large number of industry contracts that you can benefit from.
Whom to Network With
Networking is valuable, but it’s important to ensure that you’re networking with the right people. It’s nice to speak with everyone you possibly can at an event, but you may find yourself talking to other fleet professionals who don’t have specific insights into the challenges your fleet is facing.
For instance, if you manage a smaller fleet, and spend your time talking to enterprise, national fleet mangers with over 1,000 vehicles, the tools and tricks they use may not be applicable to you.
The key to networking is to focus most of your effort on peers in a similar industry and with similar fleet sizes. Peers in your same geographic area can also help you use your time more wisely, as well as improve the chances of local meetups. The more alike you are, the more candidly you can discuss the experiences and challenges you face, gleaning insight from one another as you strive to run your fleets efficiently.
Likewise, it can be valuable to have a people in your network outside of your niche. Leaders who are at the forefront of developing new fleet technology or those who are interviewing and surveying fleet professionals, like Utilimarc, can provide valuable insight into fleet best-practices that could assist you in running your fleet more efficiently and effectively.
Do you already have a networking plan in place? If you are not already working to build a professional network, make this the year that you start actively adding people to your network. You will find that the benefits are well worth the time invested.