To facilitate discussion of today’s challenges through the exchange of diverse industry voices Automotive Fleet presents “Sound Off.” This column offers a platform wherein fleet professionals share their differing voices with peers and other industry professionals.
Here’s what’s been top of mind for fleet professionals lately:
Who is Liable?
I watched the State of the Fleet Industry video entitled, “Fleet Liability Concerns about ‘Phantom Braking’ by Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) Systems” and I, too, have always wondered about the liability of this type of system, and ADAS as well, when something goes wrong?
Chuck Love, Founder and Senior Fleet Consultant, American Fleet Consulting LL, Bradenton, Fla.
Note of Appreciation
I just wanted to send a note of appreciation for the fine job you do advising the industry of key topics for planning purposes, immediate action, as well as organizational changes at OEMs.
Jason Kraus, Director, OEM and Product Management, Mike Albert Fleet Solutions, Cincinnati
In-Sourced vs. Outsourced
Very insightful State of the Fleet Industry video entitled “Five Reasons Why Fleet Maintenance Costs have Experienced Double Digit Price Increases.”
Mike Antich, are you seeing or hearing a trend for more fleets taking maintenance in-house and sourcing directly with parts manufacturers and negotiating parts in bulk as a way to try and get ahead of the curve or added margins that could be from outsourcing and the delays due to lack of skilled tech labor?
Michael L. Croft, Scottsdale, Ariz.
Internal Customer Focus
In an environment of putting out fires, how does a fleet manager stay proactive? In the blog entitled, “The Best Fleet Management is Proactive not Reactive,” AF Editor Mike Antich suggests managing up and taking an internal customer-first approach.
LinkedIn Post by Truce Software
Inconsistent DMV Service
Great coverage on the State of the Fleet Industry video entitled “Inconsistent Service Levels for Fleet Registration & Titling Persist at State DMVs.”
As an FMC we do see these issues on a daily basis. The State of Maryland is on an appointment system, and it does, in fact, lengthen processing times. To make matters worse the State of Maryland implemented a new system during Covid with no notice and no training for FMCs that had online access.
It took the last two years to sort out this new system and work out the bugs since there were many people working from home. I am happy that the Maryland DMV updated their computer system, but it has cost me a significant amount of time and money. This is just one state among the many we deal with on a daily basis.
Richard Sauter, VP Operations, Allstate Leasing, Towson, Md.
A Complex Problem
Automotive replacement parts for fleets are still in short supply, extending repair times and increasing maintenance costs. The March 2022 AF article entitled “Replacement Parts Remain in Short Supply with Prices Rising” was a great read explaining a complex problem affecting our industry.
Jeff Schuchardt, VP Information Technology, Enterprise Fleet Management, St. Louis
It will be an Amazing Success
I saw this morning the State of the Fleet Industry video on “Strategy to Unify Wheels Donlen & LeasePlan Businesses.” Great job, Shlomo Crandus and new addition Matt Dyer and his leadership team is some of the best in the industry. No question this will be an amazing success!
Jon Toups, President, Masterack, Atlanta
Stop Unnecessary Idling
Nobody talks about fleet cost metrics better than Mike Antich at Automotive Fleet, in my opinion. Have a look at Mike's State of the Fleet Industry video entitled “Fleet Costs are at Record Levels But the Full Impact has Yet to be Felt.”
A number of the metrics Mike discusses here are enormously impacted by 1960s idling beliefs and behaviors while operating 21st century vehicles and equipment.
Not least of which is fuel prices, with fuel “representing 60% of total operating costs of an average fleet.”
Next is the “ongoing spike in unscheduled maintenance expenses as vehicle service lives have been extended beyond normal replacement parameters due to the ongoing sourcing constraints.”
Incorrect idling behavior flattens the “'lifecycle bathtub curve” because of high fuel burn in low-mileage vehicles (i.e. utilities, municipal, construction, EMO fleets).
Then there’s what Mike Antich says are “increasing maintenance costs due to higher parts prices, escalating labor rates...due to vehicles being kept in service longer.”
So, when vehicle operators in a fleet of say 1,000 is adding the equivalent of 15 MILLION added miles of engine hours for zero mileage/zero benefit, it is strangling fuel budgets, skewing lifecycle and fleet business models.
Each hour idling = 30 miles.
Each mile = $0.10 - $0.30 per mile.
As our affiliate partners Longobart Ross tell us, the “Vehicle Equivalency Ratio” determines how many techs are needed per asset. Therefore, the more miles travelled or idled, requires more maintenance costs $$$ and more staffing $$$.
Ron Zima, CEO, GoGreen Communications, Halifax, Canada