Generational changes in the work truck industry

What exactly is the next generation? How do we prepare our industry to continue to grow and succeed? The September 2015 issue of Fleet Affiliation was focused on getting back to the basics on how to write a clear specification to ensure desired results. This issue discusses the stepping stones for success and how crucial it is to foster the next generation of fleet professionals. History is catching up with the reality that the Baby Boomer generation is retiring, and the significant loss of knowledge is no trivial matter.

Generation X and beyond
The work truck industry is made up of a tight group of professionals who take passion in their chosen field. At one point, we were all young professionals – beginning our careers, and learning from fleet and industry professionals. Over the years, many young professionals have transitioned from being green and just entering the industry, into seasoned fleet experts. This would not have been possible had it not been for the mentorship and fellowship of the fleet community. Looking at industry demographic data, one out of four fleet managers is between the age of 51 and 55, and 70% fall within the age of 46-60. These numbers show it’s time for a reality check. The workforce is aging and a lot of seasoned fleet professionals are exiting. This is a testament to the changing of the guard within the fleet industry.

Preparation, passing the knowledge on
One gains invaluable wisdom and knowledge with years of experience. The oncoming generational change calls for the retiring generation to empower the incoming group. If you have the opportunity, mentor those around you – encourage training and networking. This is key to provide introductions to industry leaders that you have made connections with over the years. Knowledge is an asset to any organization – passing it on will ensure success for the next generation.

Are you in the beginning of your career? Making those initial connections can be a challenge, and figuring out what’s what can be daunting to the point of exhaustion. What are some resources? Aside from your peers, NTEA offers 
Generation Next . This is one piece of advice I wish I received in the infancy of my career. Generation Next is targeted for fleet professionals who are new to the work truck industry and have less than 10 years of experience. The group has representation from the entire spectrum of the industry – from small and large companies, to distributors and industry related suppliers. It provides opportunities to gain professional contacts, boost your industry knowledge from experts, and sharpen your own leadership skills.

Although experience leads to expertise, having the proper building foundation can accelerate your professional development. Beyond having the ability to network with over ten thousand people in the work truck industry, attending The Work Truck Show® 2017 offers premier educational opportunities. 

Another opportunity would be to test drive the National Association of Fleet Administrators (NAFA) Certified Automotive Fleet Manager program. This program is the industry standard for professional recognition of knowledge and expertise. It is not just about cars – it covers fleet and maintenance management processes that apply to anything with an engine.  For the second time, NAFA is offering the opportunity for NTEA members to test -rive the CAFM program for free. Registration is required. Learn more.

If you would like to discuss this, or any other fleet issue with NTEA, please call 800-441-6832