For commercial fleet managers, the delivery times of light-duty vehicles can often fall prey to the availability of rail cars, quality holds, weather-related delays, and other production factors. Fleet managers provided feedback on the process for Automotive Fleet's annual "Industry Report Card" feature. Follow links below for stories focusing on the OEMs, fleet management companies, and the courtesy delivery practice.
Long Order-to-Delivery Times
"Order-to-delivery (OTD) times have lengthened and need to be improved.
"What they need to improve is the ability to pre-build and create pools of units managed by the manufacturer. This decreases/reduces lead times considerably; however, OEMs are only offering these to huge clients (100-plus of the same unit) and to the upfitters. My suggestion is to not provide pools on everything, but pick the 16-plus-week-lead-time units (pickup trucks and cargo vans) and provide a product that is not specific to any one client, and can be accessed by the clients that purchase five to 20 units at a time. It might not be my specifically spec'd unit, but if I don't have to wait 24 weeks, beggars can't be choosers.
"OEMs are getting too comfortable without needing fleet business anymore, which often shows in delivery times and access to reliable information. Fleets were important to the manufacturers when times were tough, but not as much now.
"On-time delivery times have escalated. Rail car shortages, weather, and delivery from and to upfitters all have an impact; however, we don't see a lot of evidence that breakthrough thinking and strategy by a combined auto industry working to resolve this issue. I am not sure how this might be accomplished, but it seems like there should be multiple distribution methods available."
OTD Consistency is Needed
"There needs to be consistency in OTD, with more commitment to and agility in turning around big misses. Supplier contracts should allow manufacturers to ramp up production when needed. Manufacturers should set, publicize, and hold themselves to OTD targets for fleet production."
Better Management of Fleet Order Delivery Process
"OEMs fail to manage my orders. In short, I seem to be the one who watches my orders progress from initial input to delivery at the dealership, and I am the only one watching for anomalies and delays. Not only should the OEMs be managing each and every order, our FMC should be doing the same."
The Cost of OTD Delays
"In the past few years, we have been hammered by terrible transportation/deliveries of vehicles from upfitters back to OEM transportation/logistics and to dealers. I had two vans this season that left upfitters in October. We have yet to get them delivered. Neither the OEM nor the leasing company did anything about it, until I blew a fuse. In both cases, I am paying for temporary rentals, as the old vans could not be repaired. This will cause an expense in the thousands of dollars, and no one will reimburse me for that."
OTD is Erratic
"Transportation and dealer delivery efforts post-manufacturing is an area that needs improvement. Light-duty OEMs still remain erratic on efficient delivery methods; this includes transportation methods utilized and the lack of urgency displayed by the dealer networks to turn the vehicle in a timely manner. With medium- and heavy-duty, the delivery companies that stack units have left us dealing with improperly torqued and leaking axles and, at times, missing bolts."
Improve OTD Transparency
"The auto manufacturers have the most need to improve transparency to the OTD timeline, utilizing real-time tracking. If we, as customers, are prepared enough to communicate to our internal stakeholders the changes that are affecting OTD in real-time, the less exception acquisitions (and cost) we would have to endure to meet customer needs."