Automotive Fleet views itself as a facilitator to provide different voices from the industry to discuss today’s challenges. This regular column is designed to provide a platform for fleet professionals to let their voices be heard to their peers and other industry professionals.

Here is what is top of mind for fleet professionals today:

The More Things Change…

After reading the Market Trends blog  “Fleet Managers Must Partner with Field Ops to Meet P&L Objectives,” I thought of what someone once said: “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” The fleet manager is (and should be) charged with a full-time responsibility to stay up to date on a whole range of issues from vehicle choices and various financial options.

Grayson -

Grayson

Field people cannot and should not be involved be the final decision-maker on fleet matters. Having said that, running a fleet without field buy-in on vehicle selection and use is a great way to fail. As simple a task as riding a route or  helping to load a vehicle pays huge dividends. Whether a driver is assigned one vehicle or another is probably best left to the field. Ensuring that all vehicles are being fully utilized takes both parties.

Bert Grayson, principal, Grayson & Associates, Lexington, Ky.

Bert Grayson worked on both sides of the desk as a fleet manager for Coulter Electronics and later as area vice president national accounts for CitiCapital Fleet Services, a business unit of Citibank.

- Editor

Carrot vs. Stick

Kahn -

Kahn

The online AF article “Changing Fleet Driver Behavior to Create a Corporate Safety Culture” was a solid article. You missed a truly critical program tenant -- recognition -- having the ability to recognize drivers for their compliance and great driving is a game changer.

Think carrot versus the stick.

Adam Kahn, CTP, president, Commercial Fleet Team, Netradyne, San Diego, Calif.

(Automotive Fleet Reply)​ Great catch Adam. We are in 100% agreement. The article you referenced was an excerpt of a larger article. Below is what was left out of the excerpt you read: “The safety culture policies must be clear and concise for everyone. Set the level of expectation from the beginning. There should be no gray areas in how policies are interpreted. Likewise, there should be no exceptions to violations regardless of rank or stature within the company. Everyone must be treated equally.

Establish accountability. The best approach is a carrot-and-stick strategy. Reward and recognize safe driving behavior. Institute accountability and consequences for unsafe driving behavior. The message must be that it is a privilege to drive a company vehicle, not an entitlement.”

- Editor

Your Video is a Great Service

I watched AF’s  weekly video series on the State of the Fleet Industry every Monday since its inception. I think it is a great service to all fleet managers who are now buried in all the concerns, unknowns, and a very challenging near future.

Schreiber -

Schreiber

Your synopsis is short and very direct, which allows anyone to take few minutes of their busy schedule to get the latest information in the fleet industry. 

Phil Schreiber, fleet consultant, Simsbury, Conn. 

Prior to retiring, Phil Schreiber was the long-time fleet manager, North America for Otis Service Center, a position he held from 2001-2019.

Earlier, he worked for the American Red Cross as the director of operational services. 

- Editor

Last-Mile is Here to Stay

The Market Trends blog “Are Vocational Fleets Futureproof” was very insightful! I am, however, betting last-mile delivery of consumer products is here to stay – and a vehicle manufacturer that reduces the overall cost of ownership has a bright future. The rising popularity of in-store pick up makes me think that people won't pay for the instant gratification of 3D printing. 

Mark Bovingdon, owner, Mark Bovingdon Custom Haying, Great Falls, MT

(Automotive Fleet Reply)​ The reference to 3D printing was a prediction in the article that predicted in the next 15 years – circa 2035 – home-based 3D printing may impact final-mile delivery fleets. 3D printing is an additive manufacturing technology that creates products by laying down layer upon layer of a substance in three dimensions. The design of a 3D-manufactured product is digitized in a software format that is communicated to the 3D printer on how the layers are to be applied.

Today, 3D printing is a rapidly evolving technology used to “manufacture” specialized parts in a variety of applications in manufacturing, the medical field, the computer industry, and by the military aboard ships at sea to replace malfunctioning or damaged one-off parts. The article postulates that technological advances in 3D printing will allow consumers to “build” a variety of smaller purchased products within their home eliminating the need for their delivery. 

-- Editor

Data Overload

Kulp -

Kulp

I watched the Spotlight video featuring the conversation between Oleg Cytowicz of Unilever and AF Editor Mike Antich about the “Evolution of Fleet Technology.” It was  really fascinating to hear how fleet was probably one of the early industries to face “data overload.”

Yann Kulp, co-founder, eIQ Mobility, Oakland, Calif. 

(Automotive Fleet Reply)​ Thanks Yann! There is also an emerging issue created by the availability of actionable data that is giving corporate managers no choice but to react to it. Ask yourself: What is the potential liability exposure if they did not react to actionable data that is safety-related, especially if it is discovered after-the-fact during litigation?

As the more actionable information gets in the hands of fleet managers, the more it will be necessary for corporate management to provide them the support and resources to act on it.

- Editor

Watching the Videos

Braunsetin -

Braunsetin

I've been watching AF’s State of the Fleet Industry Spotlight videos for a few weeks now. I love them. The one Spotlight video with Oleg Cytowicz of Unilever really made me want to reach out to let you know that our organization  – Together for Safer Roads – is continuing to develop programs to help smaller fleet operators to access the knowledge and technology they need to create safety cultures.

We are also launching a new safer roads studio where we work with many road-user groups to create new safety interventions or to scale underappreciated ones. In that work we will feature fleet-use cases with some of our larger members that operate fleets, such as AB InBev, UPS, and PepsiCo to name a few. 

David Braunstein, President, Together for Safer Roads, New York City, NY

Together for Safer Roads is a coalition of global private sector companies, across industries, collaborating to improve road safety.

The organization’s Web site is www.togetherforsaferroads.org. 

– Editor

We Must Get Better

Shepard -

Shepard

The Market Trends blog “Fleet Managers Must Partner with Field Ops to Meet P&L Objectives” was a great read. The pros and cons of decentralized versus centralized fleet operations was analyzed employing evaluation loops to ensure shortfalls are identified and addressed. Training seems to be an area often neglected at all levels. We must get better.

Charlie Shephard, senior business analyst, RutterKey Solutions, Houston, Texas

Decentralized vs. Centralized

Allsbrook -

Allsbrook

I read the Market Trends blog “Fleet Managers Must Partner with Field Ops to Meet P&L Objectives.” It was a great article outlining the pros and cons for centralized vs. decentralized fleet management.

Danielle Allsbrook, CAFM, fleet analyst, Ferguson Enterprises, Newport News, Va.

Spotlight Interview on Rollins

I just finished watching the State of the Fleet Industry Spotlight video series featuring Alex May, senior manager fleet, Rollins Inc. I was truly impressed with Alex’s fleet safety, resale value, and telematics improvements he has initiated in the two years he has been at Rollins. I can see why Alex was one of the 10 Fleet Visionary Award honorees at the 2019 Automotive Fleet & Leasing Association (AFLA) Conference.

Dmochowsky -

Dmochowsky

The point that Alex made regarding telematics continuing to deliver year-over-year ROI was spot-on and his focus on equipping all of his vehicles with new safety technologies demonstrates a safety culture that is essential in today’s fleet industry.  It is great to observe how Alex's message was delivered; spoken from his experience in a way that was clear and concise that demonstrated his passion in controlling expenses and saving lives. He was very easy to follow while I was taking notes. I look forward to the next State of the Fleet Industry Spotlight video and meeting Alex at a future live industry event.

John Dmochowsky, co-founder, JC Global Fleet Consulting LLC, Chicago, Ill. 

Awesome Article 

Hammond -

Hammond

I read the Market Trends blog entitled “Unpopular Flat-Rate Compensation Contributes to the Shortage of Repair Techs.” What an awesome article! I totally agree that we need to pay for relevant training as it does benefit your business to pay for the training and oh yes, flat rate is only legal at dealerships.

Alyce Hammond, director of human resources, Dickinson Fleet Services, LLC, Indianapolis, Ind. 

I Enjoy the Insights

Saldana -

Saldana

The Market Trends blog “Fleet Managers Must Partner with Field Ops to Meet P&L Objectives” was well written and cannot be said better. Open communication and end-user involvement should be fundamental between the parties in achieving the end result. I really enjoy the Market Trends blogs and the insights they provide.

Manuel Saldana, fleet manager, City of Port St. Lucie, Fla.

A Great Way to Get Buy-In

Tickner -

Tickner

The Market Trends blog “Fleet Managers Must Partner with Field Ops to Meet P&L Objectives” was a great article. I think fleet committees that include P&L leaders along with end-users is a great way to ensure engagement and buy-in from field operations.

James Tickner, director, strategic sales, Wheels, Inc., Mandeville, La.

Your Take is Spot-On

I read the Market Trends editorial in the October 2020 issue entitled “The Evolution of Fleet Data into a Macro-Business Intelligence Tool,” and I want to let you know that it was spot-on. Business pursues real-time information for products and services. status, location, expected arrival, along with a number of other operational variables.

Schott -

Schott

Charles L. Schott, senior managing director, Briggs Management Partners, Boston, Mass.

Automotive Fleet's new reader response features provide our audience with a chance to speak their minds on all things fleet. Please share any observations and comments on fleet topics you'd like Automotive Fleet to cover.

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