What do Fleet Managers Want and Need from You?By Kim Phelan
Article Date: 08-01-2009
Copyright(C) 2009 Associated Equipment Distributors. All Rights Reserved.
Hear their candid concerns at Forum.
A colleague phoned me this morning and asked how I was – “Buried,” I replied. But I have no one to blame but myself, this time.
Besides all the usual juggling pins that are flying and falling at any given moment, I’ve also taken on a volunteer project that may yet put me beneath the daisies. It’s a bit of goodwill for a good cause, and one I believe will be instrumental in re-establishing a good relationship between AED and the Association of Equipment Management Professionals (AEMP).
In June, I had the opportunity to connect with AEMP’s volunteer board members, whose association comprises about 800 fleet managers around the country. I learned the organization was nearing completion of its Career Equipment Fleet Manager (CEFM) manual, and so I offered to do some proofreading, though it has turned out to be quite a hefty-sized document. But I have no proofer’s remorse!
It is a fascinating read, looking at the construction equipment world through the eyes of the construction company’s fleet manager, and the best practices to which they adhere as certified professionals of their field. In fact, I hope this document may even be made accessible to dealers, who would benefit enormously from understanding the protocols and perspectives that members of this association value strongly. At present, dealer representation with AEMP is almost nonexistent.
Which is a shame, because every triangle has to have three sides. I’m referring to the concept AEMP calls the Equipment Triangle, a metaphor that portrays “the continuing relationship between the end user, manufacturer/supplier and the local distributor through a product’s life cycle,” states the CEFM manual. Here’s a (shortened) breakdown of how these fleet managers view the three sides of the triangle:
“From the end user’s perspective the Equipment Triangle represents the OEM/distributor product support programs that enable the end user to achieve the highest possible availability at the lowest life cycle cost... From the distributor’s perspective the Equipment Triangle represents the opportunity for a sustained business relationship, differentiating them through problem-solving and value-added product support services, ensuring that customers achieve the highest possible availability at the lowest life cycle cost…From the OEM/supplier’s perspective the Equipment Triangle relationship rests upon a foundation of trust and mutual respect for each party’s proprietary information...”
One of the most intriguing sections of the CEFM manual is titled, “Negotiations.” The authors emphasize that, “The Equipment Triangle moves the parties involved in negotiation from a potentially adversarial relationship to one of mutual benefit. In other words, the players move from being across each other at the negotiations table to side-by-side.”
So even though fleet managers – your primary customers – are steadfast in their demand for “fast delivery, low price and high quality,” they are committed to developing mutually beneficial partnerships with you, their local, factory-authorized equipment dealer.
Right now, your customers are hurting for business, for credit and for anything that can jack up efficiency. On Friday, Sept. 11, a few equipment decision-makers will tell you exactly what their pain points are and their perceptions of how you – and your OEMs – can proactively address them. We are developing a compelling contractor panel to take the stage at Executive Forum, and I hope you will be present to hear the reality of what customers need most from you.
Thanks for reading.
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