The fleet management industry has such a diverse range of people and roles, and everyone has a unique story of their journey in our industry. This month we caught up with Thomas Brayley, who has been appointed incoming IPWEA Fleet Council Chair. Thomas is also the Manager Plant Fleet Services at City of Logan.
FI: What have you gained and how do you feel being a member of and now leading IPWEA Fleet Council?
TB: Being an active fleet Council member to a highly valued organisation since 2016 has provided for a greater opportunity to access and work with key industry peers who have a genuine passion and drive for making a difference within the many tiers of the industry. Skills and knowledge sharing through the conduit that is the IPWEA has been extremely beneficial to me and many others, and there is a unique satisfaction in positively contributing to industry training and education material that benefits the greater fleet community.
FI: What are your expectations as the incoming IPWEA Fleet Council Chair?
TB: Now being the first leader among equals of the IPWEA Fleet Council, I don’t envisage any significant changes in my interaction with my fellow IPWEA peers other than maybe more frequent and consistent communication. I see my chair responsibility as supporting the IPWEA as an effective industry influencer, provide strength and clarity in all that we do, help identify reform opportunities within, and challenge the status quo. It is also an opportunity to be involved in direction setting that will assist the IPWEA adapt to the ever-changing demands of the industry. I would like to be part of building a stronger emphasis on innovation, sustainability and leadership, and for this to be a strong focus and consideration in the framework of workshops and conferences going forward.
FI: What are some of the biggest challenges you see facing fleet professionals this year and beyond?
TB: Leadership – Fleet management is a profession that provides you with new challenges on a daily basis – fantastic right! However, managing this and leading your team through the ebbs, flows and uncertainties of any industry while ensuring health and wellbeing of all, requires strong leadership skills.
Energy Source – Having a strategy for adapting to a new source of energy that will be provided by a global leader – Australia. It’s not necessarily about running out and procuring a Hydrogen fuel cell vehicle. Its’ about identifying the need for this energy source across your organisation, collaborating with others inclusive of external companies (think local), being on the journey and not getting left behind, and how to be proactive and get a slice of the Government hydrogen grant pie. There is big money in this, and investors, developers, innovators can smell it. So, how do you muddle through this and hook onto to someone who will be a valuable, effective and collaborative partner? You need an alternative fuel working group!
Strategy – It’s cyclical in most business, however with changes in business processes, top tier executive leadership movements and other contributing factors, justifying the need for a fleet business in local government with so many competing factors is a challenge that you don’t have the option to refuse. My advice – apply the ‘Differentiating Strategy’ alongside the ‘Cost Leadership Strategy’ and build your competitive advantage i.e., how your business is being modelled, structured and resourced to set it up for the future against external competition/service providers – essentially promoting and reinforcing the business position of ‘why would you use anyone else’.
FI: What are your key priorities moving forward as a fleet practitioner?
TB: As major procurers of vehicles, plant, equipment, fuel and oils, we play a fundamental role in delivering positive change to the environment through the provision of a cleaner, greener and a more energy efficient fleet that is adaptable to the demands of current and emerging legislation and standards. Having a sustainable fleet management strategy in place – with key deliverables which underpin your sustainable impact initiatives contained within – will help you gain executive support, stakeholder buy-in and community respect.
Recruiting the right staff and having a solid, reliable and supportive leadership framework in place – you want your direct reports to aspire to be you and you should not feel threatened by this.
FI: Tell us about something you like to do as a personal interest outside of the Fleet industry.
TB: Apart from my wife and I devoting nearly all our spare time to our two young daughters and passion for football (the round one), I’m a keen off-road Enduro and adventure motorbike rider. Australia has some of the most picturesque, stunning and breath taking deserts and countryside’s in the world……or so I am told. However, I am always going too fast to enjoy it!