Nobody Asked Me, But...

Keep Realistic Fleet Expectations

February 1, 2018

by - Also by this author

The art of getting people and products from Point A to Point B is evolving at a tremendous pace. Staying on top of the latest trends and technology is almost a full-time job. It’s a task that a lot of fleet managers have to ignore as they deal with the daily drudgery of putting out fires. Those who put their fleet education on the back burner are setting themselves and their fleets up for potential pain and suffering. To borrow a phrase from the love child generation, you’re either part of the solution or part of the problem.

If you don’t stay on top of the latest developments in mobility, battery technology, autonomous vehicles, and telematics, you are subjecting yourself to the whims of senior management who may be making decisions based on the latest trendy news.

A few years ago, one Fortune 50 company CEO decided that his fleet was going all hybrid because he wanted to make a statement. He didn’t check to see if this was viable. He didn’t check to see if it was possible. He didn’t check to see what his fleet department thought about it. It wound up being an expensive and painful lesson for everyone. Another mega-fleet decided to go all plug-in hybrids a few years ago. Not that there is anything wrong with plug-in hybrids, but this fleet had vehicles that averaged 200 miles a day. And as you can imagine, this also did not turn out well.

My favorite story is the California university president who announced to the world that his fleet was going all biodiesel without asking anyone in the fleet department what they thought about that. Again, not making any judgements about biodiesel, but it’s not for everyone. And again, it was an expensive lesson and a bit of a disaster for all involved because the decision got made without any input from the people who have to make the fleet work.

Your boss, your mayor, and your CEO are all seeing news stories everyday about battery-electric vehicles, about autonomous vehicles, and about safety technology. The news they are seeing may or may not be fake, it may or may not be grounded in reality, and it may or may not lead to them making knee jerk reactions that will affect your fleet. Staying on top of the trends yourself and becoming an internal trusted source for your organization will at least give you a chance to stop some of these potential train wrecks before it’s too late.

Mobility, or transportation as a service, is definitely coming soon, electric vehicles are going mainstream, and to some degree, autonomous technology is already here but about to become much more mainstream. All of these developments are going to affect the fleet market, but how they are going to affect your organization is up to you. Be the leader that your organization needs in this area and you’ll have a much better chance of not becoming a victim of ill-informed senior level decision making.

If you disagree, let me know.


  1. 1. Greg Miller [ February 06, 2018 @ 12:07PM ]

    Sherb, great post and topic. The most effective fleet operations will continue to be those that first master the basics of right fleet, right work.

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Sherb Brown

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Sherb Brown is the vice president and group publisher for BBM's AutoGroup. Sherb has covered the auto industry for more than 12 years in various positions with Bobit Business Media.

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