Next-Gen Fleet

Don’t Expect Different Results with the Same Strategies

October 10, 2016

by Facundo Tassara - Also by this author

Photo via Pixabay
Photo via Pixabay

I would argue we have all faced this at some point in our careers: We get stuck, and the underlying problem is that we take the same approach and expect different results. I’m certainly guilty of this, in so many ways.

For those of you who may not know, I love soccer and try to play as much as I can. Through the hundreds of games I have played, I never really warmed up — just stepped onto the pitch and ran around. Kicked the ball around a bit, and off we go into full throttle soccer. Until recently. Let’s just say that worked once or twice until I pulled my calf and then my hamstring (as I type this blog, I’m nursing another hammy). As I am quickly coming to realize, the way I would prep for games may have worked then, but certainly not now.

Let me continue with another example you may be able to relate to a bit more — fleet. We have all been challenged to do more with less and if there has ever been a time where we cannot rely on habits of old, that time would be now. I’m sure it’s not news to you when I say we are understaffed and struggle to meet demand as our fleet ages. We have all tried to ask for more technicians, more parts, and more money for replacements, but the reality is that it does not always happen — and quite frankly it’s an attempt to solve old problems with old strategies. I’ve certainly had many victories and I am grateful that our fleet is now well respected throughout our organization. But we still have work to do.

We know we have (and have had) certain challenges. It’s up to us to offer different solutions, and I’ve asked my staff to come up with these solutions. A great example is what we recently did with our ambulance service. Dave Hamby and his truck shop crew do an excellent job every day. Under his leadership, they work hard but don’t be fooled — they are here bright and early the next day for another solid fight. Don Nash, our night shop supervisor, recognized that he may be able to assist and asked to take on the ambulances in the night shop in an attempt to provide relief for the truck shop.

As we explored this possibility, I needed data to help cement the deal. We contacted the Fire Department, and I asked to see their statistics on the number of ambulance calls comparing days and nights. What we learned was fascinating. In April 2016, the number of medic calls during the day shift was 1,847, compared to 1,205 for night shift; in May 2016, medic calls during the day were 1,828 compared to 1,194 at night. That’s a difference of 35% in calls between morning and night shifts for both months. Becuase there are less calls at night, it's a perfect time to service the vehicles. We anticipate that this change will mutually benefit the Fire Department and fleet, and so far it has. 

It is imperative that we continue to seek solutions to our problems but for there to be real change, we need to explore options outside of our typical go-to lifelines. Nothing replaces solid management, teamwork, and plain old asking questions. So here is my question to you — what will you do differently today in order to change your results tomorrow? 

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