May 24, 2012
The paper-based logbook system used to track hours of service (HOS) by commercial truck fleets is prone to driver manipulation and falsification. Even the FMCSA has stated that falsification of logbooks is widespread. By all accounts, the current system of manually recorded logbooks is a joke. Yet, despite this “elephant in the room,” the federal government remains unable to mandate onboard devices to improve HOS enforcement. Why can it work in Europe, but not here?
Posted @ Thursday, May 24, 2012 12:00 AM | »
It’s Higher Than We Think
May 14, 2012
During the past decade, we’ve witnessed a steady escalation of fuel prices with forecasters extrapolating these trend lines to predict even higher future prices. What is the “tipping point” for the price of fuel before it starts to have a significant negative impact on senior management’s desire to operate a company-provided fleet?
Posted @ Monday, May 14, 2012 12:00 AM | »
May 3, 2012
Exceptional leadership by senior management means inspiring and motivating fleet managers to become great fleet managers. These executives delegate responsibility (and authority) to their fleet managers and empower them to accomplish self-determined tasks needed to achieve corporate goals. They recognize the fleet manager is the subject-matter expert and are open to the new ideas they present.
Posted @ Thursday, May 3, 2012 12:00 AM | »
April 24, 2012
The best time to control cost is before it occurs, and the way to do this is by establishing policies and procedures that inhibit unnecessary spending. Fleet policy has wide-ranging cost-containment ramifications. For instance, defining who is eligible for a company vehicle, in effect, determines the size of the fleet.
Posted @ Tuesday, April 24, 2012 12:00 AM | »
April 10, 2012
Most fleets want to be environmentally friendly, but are often hamstrung by fiscal constraints when procuring greener vehicles. But, as many fleets have shown, where there is a will, there is a way to meet fleet sustainability goals, despite fiscal austerity.
Since most companies replace approximately one third of their fleet vehicles each year, they can tailor selectors to favor more fuel-efficient vehicles, so long as they are able to fulfill the fleet application.
Posted @ Tuesday, April 10, 2012 12:00 AM | »
March 30, 2012
A one-size-fits-all approach to truck specifications is an ergonomic minefield, which could have litigious consequences. In addition, there are increased field complaints about “less-than-ergonomic” upfit decisions. Besides health issues, poor ergonomics is also a key contributor to preventable accidents. Proactively resolving ergonomic issues can have a significant impact in reducing workers’ comp costs, improving productivity, and decreasing fatigue-induced driver errors.
Posted @ Friday, March 30, 2012 12:00 AM | »
March 20, 2012
The recent breathtaking increase in gasoline and diesel prices gives us a reality check as to how quickly fuel can dramatically increase fleet operating expenses. With fuel prices at a near all-time high and ongoing strong resale values decreasing depreciation costs, will fuel costs overtake depreciation as the No. 1 fleet expense in 2012, as it almost did in 2006?
Posted @ Tuesday, March 20, 2012 12:00 AM | »
February 27, 2012
Every fleet manager is feeling the pressure to reduce costs. The best place to have maximum impact is to reduce overall fleet size and/or modify vehicle composition. A fleet's total cost is directly proportional to the total number of vehicles in operation, which drives all fixed and operating costs, such as fuel, replacement tire expenses, depreciation, accident repair costs, etc. If you can reduce overall fleet size, all other cost categories will decrease correspondingly.
Posted @ Monday, February 27, 2012 12:00 AM | »
February 21, 2012
The price of parts is expected to rise as raw materials and manufacturing costs increase. There will continue to be ongoing upward pressure on replacement tire prices, particularly for commercial trucks. Oil drain intervals will continue to be extended, especially as OEMs migrate to the GF-5 motor oil standard, which provides better wear protection. However, two-thirds of all fleet maintenance expenses continue to be PM-related, which requires relentless monitoring of driver PM compliance.
Posted @ Tuesday, February 21, 2012 12:00 AM | »
January 19, 2012
Between 2001 and 2010, there were a record 38,000 new regulations published in the Federal Register. One sobering caveat is that these regulations do not include the even larger number of regulations introduced by state, county, and municipal governments, along with local regulatory agencies. Invariably, this multitude of regulations has impacted fleet management.
Posted @ Thursday, January 19, 2012 12:00 AM | »
January 17, 2012
Until the advent of telematics devices, idling was not perceived to be a major problem for fleets. But once engine data was captured by fleets on a large-scale basis, it quickly became apparent that idling represented a significant and widespread problem. The amount of unnecessary idling varies by fleet, but some fleets have recorded idling as much as 35 percent of the time. Here's what you can do about it.
Posted @ Tuesday, January 17, 2012 12:00 AM | »
January 9, 2012
Many of the challenges facing U.S. fleet managers are identical to the challenges facing your counterparts managing fleets elsewhere in the world. Many of these fleet trends extend beyond the U.S. and are offshoots of much larger global trends. Oftentimes, best practices in fleet management emerge from outside the U.S., which is good reason for you to familiarize yourself with what's occurring in other global fleet markets.
Posted @ Monday, January 9, 2012 12:00 AM | »
January 4, 2012
Tire industry experts foresee another round of tire price increases during calendar-year 2012. In the past, national account tire manufacturers have done their best to shield the fleet industry from price increases by holding prices for a 12-month period. Nowadays, there is concern that national account vendors will no longer be able to continue to absorb these cost increases.
Posted @ Wednesday, January 4, 2012 12:00 AM | »
December 22, 2011
The multiple price increases for replacement tires occurring year-to-date for calendar-year 2011 point to more increases on the horizon. Most tire industry experts foresee tire price hikes continuing for the balance of this calendar-year, with expectations of another round of pricing increases in calendar-year 2012. There are a variety of factors that will influence future tire price.
Posted @ Thursday, December 22, 2011 12:00 AM | »
December 5, 2011
The cost to design and build vehicles to meet the higher 2017-2021 fuelefficiency standards will average an additional $2,000 to $6,000 per vehicle. Proponents of the higher CAFE standards argue the higher acquisition costs will be offset by much greater fuel savings. However, is there a diminishing return on cost savings as fuel efficiency increases? Kelley Blue Book thinks so.
Posted @ Monday, December 5, 2011 12:00 AM | »
November 29, 2011
Overloading is an ongoing industry problem. Besides violating numerous state and federal regulations, when a vehicle is overloaded its emergency handling capability is reduced, operating expenses increase, and service lives decrease. Statistics show that overloaded and improperly loaded trucks are among the leading causes of truck accidents and the number one cause of unscheduled maintenance.
Posted @ Tuesday, November 29, 2011 12:00 AM | »
November 22, 2011
There's a direct correlation between vehicle weight, fuel consumption, and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Every pound of extra weight requires an engine to work harder, increasing fuel consumption and, as a consequence, increasing tailpipe emissions. For instance, an extra 100 lbs. in vehicle weight can reduce mpg up to 2 percent. If you reduce vehicle weight, you reduce fuel consumption,and, by default, you will decrease emissions. Here are some ways to put your fleet on a "diet."
Posted @ Tuesday, November 22, 2011 12:00 AM | »
November 10, 2011
Decreases in property and sales tax revenues have created budgetary shortfalls for most state governments. Many Department of Motor Vehicles offices have closed branch locations, reduced workforce through layoffs, implemented hiring freezes, shortened hours of operation, eliminated overtime, and instituted work furloughs for remaining employees. In some states, this has increased turnaround times for fleet-related DMV services. Some see this as being an ongoing issue for the years to come.
Posted @ Thursday, November 10, 2011 12:00 AM | »
October 24, 2011
Fleet operating costs are forecast to trend higher in calendar-year 2012. Replacement tire prices are expected to increase 6-10 percent due to higher raw material costs and higher commodity prices. In addition, higher commodity prices will put upward pressure on component costs. Similarly, inflation will put upward pressure on labor rates in high-cost markets. The one bright spot is that fuel prices are forecast to remain at 2011 levels due to the ongoing sluggish economy.
Posted @ Monday, October 24, 2011 12:00 AM | »
October 19, 2011
Leased vehicles are registered in the lessor's name. As a consequence, some drivers with multiple red-light camera violations may go undetected by corporate safety and HR departments. Since a red-light camera violation is charged to the lessor - the registered owner of the vehicle - in many states, it won't appear on the driver's MVR. Because it is likely that red-light camera infractions won't appear on an MVR, an employer won't know they occurred if only relying on MVR violation history.
Posted @ Wednesday, October 19, 2011 12:00 AM | »
October 13, 2011
There’s a direct correlation between vehicle weight, fuel economy, and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Ultimately, the fleet application dictates vehicle size. But when it is possible to do so, right-sizing vehicles reduces fuel consumption, which, in turn, reduces GHG emissions. Right-sizing is a complex strategy that goes far beyond simply downsizing to a smaller class of vehicle.
Posted @ Thursday, October 13, 2011 12:00 AM | »
September 30, 2011
Medium- and heavy-duty trucks comprise 4 percent of the total vehicles on the road, but account for 20 percent of the fuel consumed and 20 percent of the greenhouse gases (GHG) emitted by the transportation sector. Now, for the first-time ever, fuel economy standards for heavy- and medium-duty trucks over 8,500 lbs. will be regulated by the federal government. Here are the pros and cons of this new mandate.
Posted @ Friday, September 30, 2011 12:00 AM | »
September 13, 2011
Today’s high resale values are an anomaly caused by the shortage of used vehicles in the wholesale market due to the extremely low sales of new vehicles during the 2008-2011 timeframe. Nowadays, everyone is a hero when it comes to getting top dollar for their out-of-service fleet vehicles. However, these artificially high prices will ultimately decline as used-vehicle supply increases.
Posted @ Tuesday, September 13, 2011 12:00 AM | »
September 2, 2011
If you are constrained by equipment limitations, the "last mile" to achieving corporate sustainability objectives is modifying driver behavior. This is possibly the greatest opportunity available to fleet managers to green their fleets.
Posted @ Friday, September 2, 2011 12:00 AM | »
August 16, 2011
Recently, a security systems consultant demonstrated that the technology used to link a car to a smart phone can be hacked to gain control of these vehicle functions. The demonstration showed that the wireless communication protocols between a server and a vehicle can be intercepted allowing a hacker to “reverse engineer” the encrypted software protocols. Once the software protocols are replicated, a hacker can maliciously communicate with a vehicle to unlock doors or start the engine.
Posted @ Tuesday, August 16, 2011 8:26 AM | »