In the past few weeks, several veteran fleet managers have vented to me, voicing frustration with their directors’ micromanaging fleet operations. These professionals have years of experience and training and run well-recognized fleets. Some of these requests and orders run contrary to best fleet practices and may be politically motivated.
In one instance, after a fleet manager completed a detailed utilization study, the director still insisted on replacing under-utilized equipment. The fleet manager tried to explain that it would be more cost-efficient to rent the equipment as needed, when special projects arise. The director felt that the city should own all necessary equipment to maintain city properties, despite the utilization study extracted from the fleet management information system.
In another instance, a fleet manager was requested to provide input in the building of a new Public Works facility. The fleet manager spent time documenting the square footage and equipment needs for the fleet garage portion of the new building. When the final plans were returned for review, 50% of the fleet manager’s recommendations were deemed unnecessary and removed, without opportunity for the fleet manager to justify need.
Every municipality likes to keep their Police and Fire Departments happy, right? What about when the director sides with the Police/Fire requests for political reasons, in spite of the fleet manager’s recommendations and fleet best practices? In this instance, the fleet manager was left to deal with the budget expense and other consequences of this decision.
Directors need to let the experts run their fleet operations, unencumbered by second guessing, which wastes valuable time and operational funds.
In the previously mentioned cases, several of the fleet managers are contemplating changing jobs due to their frustration.
Is this happening to you?