What are the characteristics of a successful fleet manager? In our experience, the most successful are usually strategic thinkers – people who find ways not to get bogged down in the tactical, day-to-day administration of a fleet, but who see the bigger picture and ensure their fleet is helping their organizations achieve their goals.
We’ve put together a tip sheet called “7 habits of strategic fleet managers” that identify ways you can ensure you are managing your fleet strategically. I encourage you to check it out and let me know what you think!
Want to get 2015 off to a knowledgeable start when it comes to your material handling equipment? Our monthly feature in Fleet Management Weekly has been posted, and this time we focus on trends we’re seeing in the equipment industry and how they could impact your organization.
You can read the article here.
Let me know if you have any other insights into material handling equipment management or additional trends you’ve noticed.
P.S. For last month’s article on Material Handling Equipment 101, go here.
Automotive Fleet Magazine has released a special report titled “Fleet Management circa 2025” – a look at where fleet management companies like Element see the industry going in the next 10 years. It’s a great read. Here’s a taste of what some Element Fleet experts said in the article:
Ryan Gilbert, software developer:
- Autonomous Vehicles Will Make Telematics Standard Equipment.
“With driverless vehicles, telematics will be essential. Software will eventually be able to analyze each vehicle’s location throughout the day, and recommend fueling stations with the best prices. We may even see a shift in the appearance of gas stations, including having compressed natural gas (CNG) and charging stations for electric vehicles readily available.”
- Virtual Reality Tools Used to Make New-Vehicle Selections
“There will be an uptick in the adoption of virtual reality for new-vehicle selection and purchasing. This will allow fleet managers to browse and test-drive new vehicles from the comfort of their office using their computer.”
Joy Schnetzka, Manager, Strategic Alliances:
- More Dealer-Based Repairs
“In five to 10 years, we’ll be seeing more dealer-based repairs of fleet vehicles. Many non-dealer shops will only provide preventive maintenance services, due to more sophisticated technology. We anticipate the service process to become more complex and specialized, resulting in more reliance on dealerships.”
Ron Ditzel, Tax Manager:
- Fleet Taxation Trends – Services and the Cloud.
Leasing companies continue to offer more online services/ products to their customers and more states are beginning to apply current tax laws to these types of online services/ products. One issue is that states are continually relying on outdated tax laws to include these online services/products as taxable without consideration of the nuances of what is actually being provided. Looking ahead, states will need to update their tax laws to account for the changing environment of how services/products are provided online.
There’s more from Element and other fleet management companies in the article – read the entire article here.
By Marcin Michno, Project Manager, Strategic Consulting
The end of the year is always a good time to look ahead to the future – so as 2014 draws to a close, we wanted to make sure you were up to date on fleet management trends for various classes of trucks. We participated in several articles published by Work Truck Magazine in November that identify important trends. If you missed any of these articles, now is a good time to review:
- The State of the Market for Class 3-4 Trucks, Vans
- Top Fleet Trends for Class 5-6 Trucks
- Forecast of Operating Costs for Medium-Duty Trucks in CY-2015
We look forward to sharing more truck expertise with you in the coming year, and wish you a prosperous and safe 2015!
By Wendy Phillips, Project Manager, Corcoran’s Mobile Services
We read with interest your blog and tip sheet on mobile maintenance. Thank you for the useful insights into this alternative for fleet maintenance.
One thing we’d like to add is “what to watch out for” when selecting an on-site provider. At Corcoran’s Mobile Fleet Services, which provides on-site services to Element clients, we have the following suggestions for things fleet managers should consider:
- How long the on-site provider has been in business
- Tenure, scope of services and certifications of technical staff
- Coverage areas, response times, flexibility
- Consistent pricing schedules and work warranties
- Waste disposal program
- Safety program
- Insurance liabilities
- Quality assurance program
Considering all these facts will ensure a successful relationship between both parties.
About Corcoran’s Mobile Services: Based in Houston, TX, CMS has over 30 years of experience in the industry with operations in over 42 states. As one of the nation’s largest providers of on-site fleet maintenance, CMS has a reputation for delivering solutions, providing increased efficiency and streamlined service while reducing overall long term costs for its customers’ fleets.
By Keith Trumbull, Vice President, Material Handling Equipment
If you have material handling equipment in your fleet, be sure to read our new monthly feature in Fleet Management Weekly called Fleet Asset Management: Material Handling Equipment 101.
My inaugural article this month asks the question: As a fleet manager, you have a comprehensive plan to manage your cars and trucks. But do you have a strategy to manage other assets in your organization like forklifts, pickers, pallet jacks and other material handling equipment? I provide the Top 3 questions to consider in managing these key assets.
Read the article here.
I’d be interested to hear what you think – and if you have topics you’d like me to cover in future editions.
By Marcin Michno, Project Manager, Strategic Consulting
Performing preventive maintenance is crucial to the success of a fleet maintenance program. Most companies rely on drivers to get this done, but it can take a few hours to complete – time that the driver could be out on the job.
What’s the alternative? For some fleets, it might be mobile maintenance, where routine maintenance and minor repairs are completed on-site in a parking lot or garage. On the surface, this idea sounds like a luxury – after all, the cost may be higher than the service obtained at a “brick-and-mortar” maintenance location. However, we find that some successful fleets opt for this kind of service for a number of reasons:
- Flexibility of having service performed after hours, during company meetings or overnight
- Positive impact on vehicle/driver productivity
- Being able to service specialty vehicles that may be tough to service at a traditional facility
There are, however, some serious considerations about mobile maintenance that you need to keep in mind. We’ve developed a tip sheet entitled “Is Your Fleet A Good Candidate for Mobile Maintenance?” Take a look and see if this solution makes sense for you.
And we welcome your thoughts and comments on whether you’ve tried mobile maintenance and how it worked for your fleet.
It’s great to work for a company that is so active in the communities where we have offices. On this Giving Tuesday 2014, here’s a brief synopsis of some of the activities Element Fleet Management sponsors throughout the year, with outreach to children, seniors and people in need:
- Meals on Wheels – Nearly 80 employees volunteer to deliver meals to homebound “clients” every business day of the year – and we’ve been doing this for 26 years. Over the weekend in Baltimore, one of our local TV channels featured Element Fleet’s partnership with Meals on Wheels of Central Maryland – you can view their report here.
- Annual Big Brothers / Big Sisters of Central Maryland fundraiser through bake sales, bowl-a-thons, basket raffles, and other activities.
- Food drive and volunteer day for Maryland Food Bank at Thanksgiving.
- Charitable activities around the holidays, which include gift collection and party for needy children, as well as gifts for seniors at the Little Sisters of the Poor nursing home and collection for animals at a local shelter.
- In the Toronto area, employees hold food drives to benefit a local food bank, will donate gifts to children for the CHUM Christmas Wish campaign, and conduct a fundraiser for the Sick Kids Foundation.
These are just a few of the many ways we have reached out this year through volunteer activities. What is your company doing? We’d be interested to hear!
This Thanksgiving as we sit down to a hearty feast with our family and friends, let's consider an organization that focuses on delivering food to people every day: Meals on Wheels. Element Fleet employees volunteer every business day during their lunch hours to deliver Meals on Wheels to local residents – a program we've been part of for 26 years. And our company is proud to have helped this organization extend its outreach in the community in another way – through its fleet.
Last Thanksgiving Meals on Wheels of Central Maryland rolled out new vehicles to better serve seniors and others in need. As a result of its partnership with Element Fleet Management, the non-profit was able to hit the streets with new vans that featured heating and cooling elements to ensure proper meal delivery and minimized vehicle maintenance costs and downtime.
A year later, it's clear that the collaboration has paid off: Meals on Wheels doubled its replacement fleet, saved eight percent on maintenance and, most important, served 1,000 more meals to people who need them. This video details Meals on Wheels' experience.
Delivering food is critical year-round, but it’s especially important during the holidays. Meals on Wheels is the only provider of meals to the homebound in the U.S.
On Monday, 25 other employees and I had a great time at the Maryland Food Bank as part of Element Fleet Management’s community outreach programs. We delivered hundreds of pounds of non-perishable food items collected by our colleagues over the past three weeks to the Food Bank, which serves needy families throughout the state of Maryland. Then we stayed to help sort and bag canned goods. And it was on company time – Element Fleet allowed us to volunteer half days each without having to take vacation time.
It was a great way to get the Thanksgiving holiday off to a good start. You can see some of our volunteers and what we did here.