August 11, 2014
How would you characterize your job? Are you more of a “fireman,” spending your days putting out one fire after another? Or, do you devote the time to truly manage your fleet? Most of us will say we do both, but putting out fires consumes a tremendous amount of time and decreases the time invested in managing the fleet from a strategic level. At the most fundamental level, we have to ask ourselves: Are we tactical or strategic managers?
Posted @ Monday, August 11, 2014 12:00 AM | »
August 4, 2014
The greatest factor contributing to driver distraction has been the growing use of technology — in particular smartphones — while driving; however, a new concern will soon be confronting fleet managers in the form of wearable computers.
Posted @ Monday, August 4, 2014 12:00 AM | »
July 28, 2014
Without establishing a plan and the policies to implement it, there will be no uniform focus to meet sustainability goals or a consistent framework to maintain compliance with these goals in terms of asset acquisition, fuel consumption, and vehicle operations and maintenance.
Posted @ Monday, July 28, 2014 12:00 AM | »
July 9, 2014
Driver safety and the reduction of fuel consumption are not mutually exclusive goals. There are many similarities between fuel-efficient driving techniques and safe driving techniques. In fact, there’s a direct correlation between safe driving and fuel efficiency. It’s been proven: the safer the driver, the higher the miles per gallon.
Posted @ Wednesday, July 9, 2014 12:00 AM | »
June 30, 2014
One of the highest compliments to someone in the auto industry is to say they have gasoline running through their veins. In Ed Bobit's case, he had "fleet" running through his veins.
Posted @ Monday, June 30, 2014 12:00 AM | »
June 18, 2014
The relentless demand by management to reduce costs year-over-year is producing extremely cost-efficient fleets. The best example is the trend by some fleets to shift drivers from allowance or reimbursement programs to the company-provided vehicle program. For these companies, they are finding that it is less expensive to have an employee participate in the company car program than providing a driver allowance.
Posted @ Wednesday, June 18, 2014 12:00 AM | »
June 10, 2014
Fleet order-to-delivery (OTD) has been brutal this model-year due to severe weather conditions, which exacerbated rail congestion, creating huge backlogs of vehicles needing to be shipped. However, some are beginning to believe the rail congestion experienced this winter is more of a symptom of a systemic infrastructure weakness and not solely the consequence of severe weather. Here's why they think so.
Posted @ Tuesday, June 10, 2014 12:00 AM | »
May 27, 2014
The best way to optimize truck productivity is to spec the right vehicle for the fleet application. This may sound like I am stating the obvious, but, as many truck professionals will attest, it is often not the case. While fleet managers understand how their trucks are intended to be used in the field, intended usage often does not match real-world usage.
Posted @ Tuesday, May 27, 2014 12:00 AM | »
May 22, 2014
Many fleet managers know they should be doing something to “green” their fleet, but they do nothing, rationalizing (and justifying) their inaction due to budget constraints or lack of management support. To me, this is a self-fulfilling mindset that guarantees your fleet will remain in a status quo situation. Fleet managers need to break free from this defeatist mindset and here's how to do it.
Posted @ Thursday, May 22, 2014 12:00 AM | »
May 15, 2014
How will fleet management change in the next 10 years? I foresee three transformational forces that will sweep through our industry and redirect its long-term direction.
Posted @ Thursday, May 15, 2014 12:00 AM | »
May 1, 2014
There’s no other way to say it, except bluntly: Managing an executive fleet is a headache. I am not going to say otherwise. But, if it is one of your job responsibilities, consider yourself luckier than others. Managing an executive fleet puts you in front of senior management and gives you an opportunity to showcase your value to the company. Here's how you can leverage this to your maximum benefit.
Posted @ Thursday, May 1, 2014 12:00 AM | »
April 23, 2014
A fleet manager’s capabilities and expertise can be easily overlooked by executive management, especially when a fleet is well run. When fleet runs smoothly, it tends not to be on the radar of senior management, who, often, are not aware of the required behind-the-scenes expertise. However, the biggest curse to running a well-run fleet is that it sometimes breeds complacency. Here's how to avoid it.
Posted @ Wednesday, April 23, 2014 12:00 AM | »
April 17, 2014
The railroad industry is the primary long-distance shipper of automobiles from assembly plants to dealers, which represents almost 9 percent of total rail freight. However, the auto industry is not the only railroad customer, and it competes with other shippers for scarce rail resources. Such is the case with petroleum companies shipping crude oil by rail, which is putting heavy demand on finite rail resources. What impact will this have on fleet OTD?
Posted @ Thursday, April 17, 2014 12:00 AM | »
April 14, 2014
Traditionally, executive and sales vehicles have been used by corporations as an employee recruitment and retention tool. Could service vehicles be used the same way? For example, could the type of service vehicles you have in operation also be used to lure qualified employees or retain current employees? I believe they can, if marketed correctly.
Posted @ Monday, April 14, 2014 12:00 AM | »
April 2, 2014
When it comes to meeting corporate sustainability objectives, wouldn’t it be nice to get everyone in your company fully committed to achieving these targets? Experience has shown that sustainability programs work best when drivers view themselves as stakeholders in the program. But, how can you change the drivers’ mindset so they view themselves as stakeholders? A proven way is to use “gainsharing.”
Posted @ Wednesday, April 2, 2014 12:00 AM | »
March 25, 2014
There are dramatic differences between regional fleet markets around the globe. Yet, despite these differences, there are also many similarities. Many of the challenges facing fleet managers are identical to the challenges facing their counterparts elsewhere in the world. Oftentimes, fleet best practices in addressing these challenges emerge from outside your local market, which is good reason to be familiar with what’s occurring elsewhere in the world. Here are the top 10 universal mega trends.
Posted @ Tuesday, March 25, 2014 12:00 AM | »
March 3, 2014
Could the U.S. fleet market of the future evolve in the same direction as the European fleet market? The key factor driving the European fleet market from the 1960s to present has been a high taxation environment. There are many indicators that point to the U.S. entering a new era of very high taxation. Could the same future unfold for the U.S. fleet market as it did in Europe? In my mind, this is not a far-fetched scenario.
Posted @ Monday, March 3, 2014 12:00 AM | »
February 24, 2014
If an employee threw trash all over the office floor, scratched the paint off the walls, broke the light bulbs, left holes and dents in the walls, and skipped routine maintenance on the copier until it overheated and broke, no manager would tolerate this abuse. Yet, that is exactly what some fleet managers do tolerate when drivers abuse their company-provided vehicles.
Posted @ Monday, February 24, 2014 12:00 AM | »
February 11, 2014
Many of the dynamics in today’s market are eerily familiar to the resale value softness that occurred in the last decade, which ultimately peaked in 2002. At that time, year-over-year increases of off-lease vehicles entering the wholesale market exerted downward pressure on resale prices. It appears that we are on the same trajectory, with off-lease volumes peaking in 2016. What are you doing to prepare for these different market dynamics?
Posted @ Tuesday, February 11, 2014 12:00 AM | »
February 3, 2014
The long-term trend in vehicle cycling for commercial fleets has been a gradual increase in vehicle service lives. An increasing number of companies cut costs by extending vehicle replacement cycles so cash flow can be diverted to other expenditures. When extending vehicle cycles, the most significant (and uncertain) expense is the impact on the maintenance budget. Another argument against extended replacement cycling, albeit less vocalized, is the impact on corporate sustainability.
Posted @ Monday, February 3, 2014 12:00 AM | »
January 28, 2014
Protecting vehicle assets from vandalism and theft is a growing problem for many fleets.Industrywide, these thefts run the gamut from catalytic converters, tailgates, and spare tires, all the way to the vehicle itself. As fuel prices increase, fuel theft becomes more common, especially fuel siphoning. Trucks parked overnight are found the next day with holes in the fuel tanks to steal the drained fuel. Here's what companies need to do to secure unattended vehicles.
Posted @ Tuesday, January 28, 2014 12:00 AM | »
January 6, 2014
Nowadays, OEMs introduce new models throughout the calendar-year. For many fleet managers, the staggered release of new models complicates fleet planning and the ordering process. Some model lines may have variable final order and startup dates due to muttiple plant assignments and model configurations. Fleet-minded OEMs have been terrific partners to fleets and, together, there should be a way to mitigate the impact of staggered production schedules for their largest customers.
Posted @ Monday, January 6, 2014 12:00 AM | »
December 31, 2013
For the past three years, everyone has been a remarketing genius. The low inventory of used vehicles in the wholesale market helped inflate resale values by about 10 percent. However, as greater volumes of used vehicles begin to enter the wholesale market, vehicle supply will start to meet buyer demand, which will put downward pressure on resale values. In many ways, the new used-vehicle market will demand returning to the basics, namely recognizing the seasonality of the used-vehicle market.
Posted @ Tuesday, December 31, 2013 12:00 AM | »
December 13, 2013
Even with senior management support, implementing a green fleet sustainability program is not for the faint-hearted. Inevitably, there will be pushback from all sides, which, at times, can seem overwhelming. A fleet manager’s mettle will be tested, but there are 13 traits that will help you be successful.
Posted @ Friday, December 13, 2013 12:00 AM | »
December 10, 2013
Last August, the IRS announced areas it will prioritize for audits in 2014, one of which is fringe benefits, especially the personal use of company vehicles. Managing personal-use compliance is a headache. It is also expensive, with internal costs ranging from $35 to $75 per year per vehicle. Here's what you need to do to be prepared should your friendly IRS agent come knocking on your front door.
Posted @ Tuesday, December 10, 2013 12:00 AM | »