Driving what’s right

From the October 2022 print edition

While things have improved, most OEMs agree the automotive supply chain has yet to return to normal.

Emily Graham discussed Holman’s sustainability initiatives.

That’s according to Bob White, president of Holman, during the company’s Toronto Fleet Forum. Returning that sup- ply chain to normal will take time, and companies must plan as far ahead, he noted.

With the phrase ‘Driving What’s Right,’ Holman held the forum September 8, bringing together over 200 fleet, finance, procurement, and transportation professionals for learning, best practices, and networking.
This year marks the first time in over three years the company has held the forum, which was cancelled twice due to COVID-19 pandemic restrictions. The past few years have seen much industry change, he noted.

For example, the company has come together under the brand ‘Holman Canada.’ While the name may be new in Canadian, the company’s legacy goes back 100 years. “We’ve been around a long time, focused on building value for our customers and on the automotive space,” he said.

Among the topics for the event was sustainability and how electrification is shaping automotive and fleet. Are we ready for EVs? Holman’s director of sustainability and EaaS, Emily Graham posed that question to the audience. “We believe the age of the electric vehicle has just begun,” she said.

The tipping point for adopting new technology is five per cent, and net-zero emission vehicles hit 5.3 per cent of sales in 2021, Graham said. Several factors are accelerating this, including government funding. But charging infrastructure must expand to accommodate new electric vehicles on the road today, she said.

Fleet managers should consider what’s right for their fleet, she noted. And rather than seeing EVs as a burden, many tenured drivers view them as a perk – they’re happy to drive them due to the technology. Holman had also created a transition plan in order to support clients as they switched to EVs, Graham said.

Keynote speaker, entrepreneur, and Dragons’ Den star Arlene Dickinson.

Craig Pope, district manager at Holman, discussed the automotive supply chain outlook. As vehicle demand fluctuated during the pandemic, OEMs had to adapt, Pope said. Now, in late 2022, the full year outlook is about 14.5 million vehicles. And while there’s a positive trend regarding fleet allocation, there’s still work to do to return to normal, he said.

Vehicle lead times have increased, Pope said, although he added that the chip shortage will correct at the end of 2024, help- ing shorten those lead times. There will also be upward price pressure on vehicles throughout most of 2023, he said.

Michael Stallone, Holman’s VP of application development, dis- cussed Holman’s fleet technology initiatives. The company has worked to make its app, Driver Insights, “easy and intuitive,” he said.
The three-phase project involves making the driver more effective, with the second phase focusing on fleet managers and procurement. The third phase targets field managers.

Among other initiatives, Holman has also rebuilt its driver scorecard. “This one is all normalized, meaning that you can see, driver-to-driver, which one is operating their vehicle better and make decisions on training or other ways to work with that driver,” Stallone said.

The last speaker was Arlene Dickinson, entrepreneur, venture capitalist, and star of the show Dragons’ Den. Dickinson told the audience about her family’s arrival in Canada when she was young, from South Africa. The family lived in poverty, landing first in Montreal before moving to Edmonton, then Calgary. She spoke about her rise to become one of the hosts of the popular show. For success, Dickinson encouraged the audience to cast aside Canadian reticence and “show up.”

“If anything, at this time and this place and this world, Canadians have to show up,” she said. “We need to put our hands higher. We need to reach further. We need to stand for something.”