Steady communication, tracking daily events should be part of your plan

September 24, 2014 By and    

As I sit down to pen this column in mid-August, there are a multitude of topics I’d like to cover.

It’s a tad early, but this is roughly the time of year when fleets begin the process of bunkering down for the season ahead. I’ve mentioned previously the virtues of keeping the dialogue open with current and prospective vendors throughout the season. It’s easy to become insular as the dog days of winter approach and even more challenging as the temperature drops and the phone rings off the hook.

If you’re partial to a particular mode of communication, perhaps via email or phone, please share that with your prospective vendors. The last thing they want to do is annoy, and most are only too happy to oblige.

The purpose of consistent communication between marketer and vendor is to work as a team. During the busy season, these calls allow both sides to discuss how current and real challenges will be addressed next year while the frustrations are fresh in the marketer’s mind. Once the weather warms up, it affords both sides the ability to hit the ground running; momentum is a powerful force.

Strategic planning is now a 12-month task for fleets looking to gain a competitive advantage. What better time to truly assess what your operation needs than in the middle of the battle between urgency and geography?

I know marketers who keep what amounts to a daily journal that outlines each day’s struggles and successes. As we’ve all experienced, the vestiges of time have a way of rounding out the harsh edges of events that took place weeks, months or years ago. Creating a written history of when challenges pop up and how they were handled not only keeps things in the forefront when you come up for air, but it can also reveal larger patterns in your business that might not get noticed otherwise. Truly just five minutes at the end of each day to jot down the good, bad and ugly of what happened would put a lot into perspective in the months that follow.

First Lady Abigail Adams was quoted as saying, “Learning is not attained by chance; it must be sought for with ardor and attended to with diligence.”

World views
Currently there is no shortage of world events to follow.

The Ukraine and Middle East remind us every day that what happens on the other side of the globe is still relevant to us here in the United States. Many of today’s events create more than a ripple effect here at home – which makes for a nice segue to the 27th World LP Gas Forum taking place Oct. 28-30 in Miami. This year’s event features the added bonus of the Ibero-American LPG Congress taking place simultaneously. Both shows happening together provide attendees and exhibitors alike much more value than two separate events.

I attended my first World LP Gas Forum last year in London, and I came away impressed. Personally it helped shape some initiatives within my own company that continue to gain steam and bear fruit. I will be there again solidifying relationships and making new contacts. The ability to meet so many people in our industry with different and yet similar perspectives is invaluable.

In addition to the conference and exhibition, there’s also the Global Technology Conference and the Global Autogas Summit. Both of these topics enjoy momentum here in the United States.

The Global Technology Conference is a half-day event that will showcase up to 10 white papers, reviewing some of the most innovative advances within our industry. Meanwhile, the Global Autogas Summit is also a half-day program that discusses where we are as an industry with this alternative fuel and what the future holds for this opportunity worldwide.

If you’d like more information on this year’s World Gas Forum, feel free to visit I hope to see you there.

Vinny Mullineaux is the CEO of Vertrax, a provider of back office and mobile technology. He can be reached at or 203-952-7666.


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