Automotive Fleet presents “Sound Off” to encourage and facilitate discussion of today’s fleet industry challenges through the exchange of diverse industry voices. This column offers a platform for fleet professionals to share their voices with peers and other industry professionals.
Here’s what’s been those voices have been saying recently:
Why Have Fleet Maintenance Costs Risen So Steeply?
Mike Antich made some very good points in the article he wrote entitled: “Why Have Fleet Maintenance Costs Risen So Steeply.” In all of my years in the industry, I do not ever recall the multiple increases across the country for parts and labor — some increases at staggering rates. Some national account suppliers have increased labor rates some $35 to $50 per hour. Independent shops have done the same just trying to maintain their staff. With OEMs making record profits across the board, and the consumer having little to no voice, there is no end in sight to this horrific situation.
I have deep sympathy for the fleet managers who run service fleets and have no choice but to keep their vehicles on the road and then explaining to management why their budgets are being exhausted so rapidly. As a service provider, as well as managing company fleet vehicles, we feel the impact on both sides.
All I can say to the fleet managers in these severe conditions is keep accurate records and perform routine evaluations of expenses, as well as make sure your provider, whether working directly for the client or working with a service provider, hold everyone accountable wherever possible. Not every manufacturer or provider is gouging the consumer, so do your homework, see who is simply “rubber stamping” the approvals or not fighting for your best interests and take the difficult first step to replace the less than honorable manufacturer(s) and suppliers.
Bob Martines, CEO, Corporate Claims Management, Inc., Ivyland, Penn.
Thanks as always for sharing your thought and this information in your latest State of the Fleet Industry video entitled “Fleet Costs are at Record Levels But the Full Impact has Yet to be Felt.”
Jon J. Toups, President, Masterack, Atlanta
It Will Bite the OEM Backside
I watched the State of the Fleet Industry video report entitled “Fleet Allocation to Carryover to MY-2024 Fleet Ordering for Most OEMs” and I ask how do they expect a fleet to grow based on previous years purchases?
I believe this is going to bite the OEMs in the backside – companies will switch from one OEM to another and vice versa.
This myopic focus on quarterly profits while forgetting about the future quarters will blow up in their faces, long term. This is the behavior that brings recession on full throttle. One business strangling another. They didn't learn from 2006-2008 what not to do.
At that time, I remember receiving a letter from banks stating that because my neighbors were having a hard time paying bills, they were cutting my access to credit, naturally to whatever my balance was when they sent the letter, naturally I used the card between the time they sent it and when I stopped using it, naturally they hit me with over the limit fees, I raised many reasons to get the fees reversed and never used that bank again after immediately paying it off. If I did that, what do you think others will do when they find out their growth and income were strangled by the fleet manufacturer?
Jim Kraffert, General Manager/Partner, ABG Fabrication, Naples, Fla.
A Big Challenge
I watched the State of the Fleet Industry video entitled “Inconsistent Service Levels for Fleet Registration & Titling Persist at State DMVs.” This is one of the biggest challenges we’ve had over the past year.
Lisa Kneggs, Fleet Manager, Fleet Pride, Irving, Texas
You Got It Right
After watching the State of the Fleet Industry entitled: “Fleet Costs are at Record Levels But the Full Impact has Yet to be Felt,” all can say is – “You’ve got that right, Mike.”
Keith McLaughlin, CEO, Fleet Business Communications, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
More Hands-On Management to Make Smart Decisions
Check out the great post from Mike Antich from Automotive Fleet magazine entitled “Fleet Costs are at Record Levels but the Full Impact has Yet to be Felt.” In this post, he provides his views of the current state of the fleet industry.
Fleet costs are consistently increasing; however, fleet budgets are not being aligned. So as a fleet manager, the expectation to drive down fleet costs and generate an overall savings has become significantly tougher.
Using software like Fleet IT helps you identify where you can focus your efforts and pin points what changes are working. However, now more than ever, fleet managers need to take a more hands-on role in working with managers and drivers to improve behavior whilst making smarter decisions.
Steve Bure, Managing Director, Fleet IT, Durban, South Africa
Steve Bure is co-founder of FleetIT and Trojan Corp. that helps fleets measure and increase fleet profitability using fleet data. -- Editor