HOUSTON - More than 60 participants from approximately 40 Houston area energy companies gathered for PHH Arval's annual Energy Conference, held Oct. 22 at the Houstonian Hotel in Houston. According to company executives, this was the 17th year the event has occurred.
The conference is designed to bring together fleet professionals in the energy industry to address common concerns, goals, and improve the business, said Steve DiBiagio, PHH SVP business development, in his opening remarks. Based on feedback from last year's attendees, DiBiagio said the overwhelming majority of fleets found it helpful to spend more time with peers "figuring out what they're doing" in their operations.
PHH President & CEO George Kilroy, who has spent 34 years in the business, said the forum provides a "unique perspective" and helps generate business changes. Kilroy also presented a brief business update on PHH, revealing revenue figures for the first half of the year.
Among the results of PHH's annual benchmarking survey, presented by Bob Hertzog, PHH director of business development, energy fleet manager responsibilities were found to remain primarily in the U.S. and management continues to be mainly centralized.
In addition, Greg Stanford, PHH manager of business development, presented an overview of the economy, energy industry, and fleet strategies, including a short "59 ½ Minutes" video presentation featuring interviews with several company officials. Officials advised fleets to start replacing vehicles now, since costs will go up as "supply and demand balance out."
After lunch, attendees split into four breakout sessions:
- Reducing fuel and maintenance costs.
- Risk and safety.
- Technology tools and reporting.
- Vehicle selection strategy.
The topic of telematics came up in several of the sessions, with fleets sharing their experiences, citing both benefits and challenges. Overall, most agreed telematics was highly valuable, but only if data collected was properly evaluated and applied to operations.
Ford and Chrysler representatives also provided brief updates from each automaker, and President Jay Shelly from the Center for Transportation Safety (CTS) offered fleets the opportunity to test out a "behind-the-wheel" simulator during the reception.