Market Trends

OEMs Improve Quality Hold Process, But More Needs to be Done to Avoid Backlogs

September 17, 2014

The good news is the management of quality holds by OEMs has improved tremendously in the 2014-MY. However, much more still needs to be done. As has been the case for the past several model-years, lengthening OEM quality holds continue to adversely impact fleet order-to-delivery (OTD) times by incurring added costs due to missed residual timing, repair costs to older vehicles still in service, and rental expenses

Tags: Order to Delivery, Quality Holds, Delivery Delays, Mike Antich

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Wednesday, September 17, 2014 9:24 AM | » Comments(0)

Increased Demand Creates Backlogs at Upfitters

September 15, 2014

One challenge for the 2014-MY has been the increased volume of fleet vehicles going to upfitters, which has resulted in capacity issues. With the increasing demand and growth of the commercial truck/van segments, particularly among utilities and service industries, the percentage of upfitted vehicles is growing. Order-to-delivery time on large trucks keeps getting longer with upfitters. Some fleets don't place factory orders and instead purchase most their vehicle chassis from bailment pools.

Tags: upfitting, Antich, ship-thrus

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Monday, September 15, 2014 12:01 PM | » Comments(0)

Sustainability: A Proven Way to Reduce Fleet Operating Costs

September 9, 2014

There is a cost efficiency component to green fleet initiatives that not only helps meet sustainability goals, but also reduces operating costs by decreasing fuel consumption.

Tags: Sustainability, fuel consumption, Fuel Efficiency, Fleet Creep

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Tuesday, September 9, 2014 9:10 AM | » Comments(0)

Cost-Reduction Single-Mindedness Creates Corporate Blind Spots

September 2, 2014

When corporate revenues soften, it is management's fiduciary responsibility to demand expense reductions and limit capital expenditures. Unfortunately, many fleet-related cost-reduction decisions are made for the short-term, with very little consideration on the long-term impact on the total cost of ownership (TCO). Many times senior management is more interested in the fiscal, rather than economic, consequences of their fleet-related decisions.

Tags: Cost-cutting, TCO, Accident Management

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Tuesday, September 2, 2014 10:32 AM | » Comments(0)

Are You a ‘Fireman’ or a Manager? Hint: One is a Dead-End Job

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?

Tags: Fleet Management, Procurement, Fleet Planning

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Monday, August 11, 2014 12:00 AM | » Comments(1)

Wearable Computers will Amplify Driver Distraction

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.

Tags: Technology, Distracted Driving, Smart Technology, Wearable Computers

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Monday, August 4, 2014 12:00 AM | » Comments(0)

To Green Your Fleet, You Need a Plan

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.

Tags: Sustainability, Green Fleet Policy

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Monday, July 28, 2014 12:00 AM | » Comments(0)

Implementing a Single Strategy to Improve Driver Safety and Lower Fuel Spend

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.

Tags: Fuel Spend, Driver Safety, TCO

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Wednesday, July 9, 2014 12:00 AM | » Comments(2)

My Remembrances of Ed Bobit

Automotive Fleet Editor Mike Antich accepts an editorial award from Ed Bobit in the late 1980s.

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.

Tags: Automotive Fleet, Ed Bobit, Mike Antich

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Monday, June 30, 2014 12:00 AM | » Comments(51)

Increased Fleet Efficiency Makes Reimbursement a More Expensive Option

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.

Tags: Competitive Allowance Program, Fleet Efficiency, Fleet Incentives, Fleet Policy

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Wednesday, June 18, 2014 12:00 AM | » Comments(0)

The ‘Perfect Storm’ in Rail Congestion Turns Fleet into Collateral Damage

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.

Tags: Railroads, Exports, Order to Delivery, Fleet Vehicle Shipments, Bakken Oil Fields

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Tuesday, June 10, 2014 12:00 AM | » Comments(4)

How to Spec Trucks to Optimize Productivity

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.

Tags: Productivity, Spec'ing, Medium-Duty Trucks, Payload

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Tuesday, May 27, 2014 12:00 AM | » Comments(0)

Debunking the Defeatist Mindset Toward Fleet Sustainability

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.

Tags: Spec'ing, EPA, Budget, Fleet Sustainability, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, CO2 emissions

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Thursday, May 22, 2014 12:00 AM | » Comments(0)

Fleet Management Circa 2025

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.

Tags: Fleet Management, Technology, Fleet Costs, Baby Boomers, Demographics

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Thursday, May 15, 2014 12:00 AM | » Comments(2)

Is Your Executive Fleet a Headache? Count Your Blessings

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.

Tags: Compliance, Fleet Policy, Executive Fleet

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Thursday, May 1, 2014 12:00 AM | » Comments(2)

The Curse of Running a Well-Managed Fleet

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.

Tags: Fleet Management, Problem Solving, Best-in-Class Fleet, Cost-Saving Initiatives

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Wednesday, April 23, 2014 12:00 AM | » Comments(1)

OTD Concerns Due to Surge of Oil Shipped by Rail

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?

Tags: Railroads, OTD, Freight, Oil Shipments

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Thursday, April 17, 2014 12:00 AM | » Comments(1)

Using Service Vehicles as Employee Recruiting, Retention Tools

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.

Tags: Ergonomics, Spec'ing, Employee Retention, Service Vehicles

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Monday, April 14, 2014 12:00 AM | » Comments(1)

Using ‘Gainsharing’ to Achieve Sustainability Goals

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.”

Tags: Gainsharing, Sustainability Goals, Driver Motivation

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Wednesday, April 2, 2014 12:00 AM | » Comments(0)

10 Universal Mega Trends Impacting Global Fleets

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.

Tags: Sustainability, Green Fleets, Fuel Prices, Procurement, global fleet, Taxation, Antich

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Tuesday, March 25, 2014 12:00 AM | » Comments(0)

The Migration of U.S. Fleet Management to the European Fleet Model

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.

Tags: Fleet Management, Europe, Company-Provided Vehicles, Global Fleet Management Conference

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Monday, March 3, 2014 12:00 AM | » Comments(0)

How to Avoid HR Headaches When Confronting Employees Who Abuse Company Vehicles

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.

Tags: Personal Use, Vehicle Policy, Condition Reports, Company Vehicles, Job Review

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Monday, February 24, 2014 12:00 AM | » Comments(0)

Remarketing Déjà Vu: Will the Resale Market of 2016 be a Repeat of 2002?

Year-over-year increases in off-lease vehicles will exert downward pressure on resale prices.<br />Source: J.D. Power &amp;amp; Manheim Consulting

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?

Tags: Remarketing, Manheim, NADA, Wholesale Market, Vehicle Resale Values

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Tuesday, February 11, 2014 12:00 AM | » Comments(3)

Extending Vehicle Service Life Negatively Impacts Sustainability Goals

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.

Tags: Sustainability, CAFE Standards, Service Lives, OEMs, Fleet Budgeting

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Monday, February 3, 2014 12:00 AM | » Comments(0)

Component Theft and Vandalism: A Growing Expense for Truck Fleet Managers

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.

Tags: Insurance, Vandalism, Catalytic Converters, Theft, Tailgates, Spare Tires, Antich

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Tuesday, January 28, 2014 12:00 AM | » Comments(4)

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Author Bio

Mike Antich

Editor and Associate Publisher

Mike Antich has been covering the fleet management and vehicle remarketing markets for more than 20 years. During this period, Mike has written or edited more than 4,600 articles on the subjects of fleet management, manufacturer fleet activities, the fleet leasing industry, and vehicle remarketing. He was inducted in the Fleet Hall of Fame in 2010.

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