Fleet managers often say that now is an exciting time to be in the industry because of all the technological changes that are happening, including automation, new vehicle technologies and software, and fuel types.
At the same time, they’re dealing with the stresses of these changes, from needing to figure out if a specific vehicle type is right for their agency to having to implement some of these new technologies without much knowledge or training. I’ll bet some are relieved they’re almost at retirement age!
Think About the ‘Why’
It’s easy to get stuck in a routine or think that things are fine the way they are. With major changes, you might wonder how you’re going to fit in a time-consuming project and adjust it into your daily schedule — or why a big change is even needed when everything seems to be working just fine.
But changes usually happen for a reason, even if we don’t like or agree with that reason. Maybe you resent a new policy on reducing harmful emissions or reducing fossil fuel use, leading to added cost and training to run a mix of alternative-fuel vehicles. But the goal is to improve air quality, and someone has decided that this is how your agency will do its part.
Maybe you think a telematics mandate is more expense and work than it’s worth — it’s often fleet staff who must handle implementation, including scheduling installations and managing the data that comes from it. But it’s usually implemented due to a desire to acquire better data about fleet vehicles. Because fleet vehicles can be involved in costly collisions, or there is a dire need for routing or maintenance information, having that data may just be worth it.
After all, if you can ask user departments to make changes they might not like (such as reducing their fleet size or purchasing smaller vehicles), elected leaders and department heads can ask the same of your operation.
Get Unanimous Support
The COVID-19 pandemic led to rapid fleet operational changes, with decisions made on the fly. We went from business-as-usual to reduced staffing, shrunken budgets, masking and social distancing, vehicle cleaning and disinfecting, and even closed facilities. With the pandemic, the “why” was very clear, and hence much easier for everyone to embrace.
Another example is with shop safety. If there is a severe shop accident, you can bet everyone will be looking at operational policies and procedures to make sure it doesn’t happen again. A change some technicians might have grumbled about at any other time might be easier to implement after such an incident.
How Do You Embrace Change?
Within our own company, we were tasked with focusing more on digital content. It is an adjustment, thinking about multiple forms of media outside of print — including videos, social media, and web-first content — and one can’t help but miss simple monthly print deadlines. But editors understand the change, and most have adjusted, or at least accepted, it.
Have you experienced a major change within your operation that you opposed? How did it turn out?