Staying ahead of day-to-day challenges can be challenging but when bigger problems arise even the best fleet manager may be looking for a new plan.    -  Photo: Sarah Deal

Staying ahead of day-to-day challenges can be challenging but when bigger problems arise even the best fleet manager may be looking for a new plan.  

Photo: Sarah Deal

As I’m typing this we’re gearing up for Hurricane Idalia here in Florida. By the time this goes online Idalia will have moved through the state. But with all the wobbling hurricanes can do, the storm’s path can easily change in turn making conditions here along the coast more or less severe.

As the saying goes, “Hope for the best, plan for the worst.”

You don’t want water coming in under your door but you put sandbags there either way. You don’t to lose power, but you stock up just in case. You don’t want to leave your home, but you fill your tank up with gas just in case. These are all part of a longer list that you’ll usually run through when hurricanes head your way.

While this can be intimidating for a first-timer, a seasoned Floridian can usually be found calmly going through preparations because they know what to expect and have planned accordingly. It’s part of living in a location prone to tropical storms and hurricanes.

For fleets, the same applies. A seasoned fleet manager will have a list of things that could go wrong as well as what needs to be done to prevent that and, if not preventable, what to do in the aftermath. If one vehicle needs to go into the shop, how will it be replaced? What can be done to prevent another vehicle from having the same issue? If there is inclement weather, like a hurricane, where should vehicles and equipment be and how will employees stay safe?

It’s the sign of a good fleet manager who has a plan before events even take place. They’re not scrambling at the last minute. Their employees trust them and know their roles as well. Overall, they make a well-oiled machine that keeps the rest of the organization up and running.

However, even the best fleet managers may feel helpless trying to stay on top of continuing supply chain issues and technician shortages. Talking with fleet managers from around the country, the frustration seems to be universal. It’s a waiting game and no one really seems to know what the tipping point will be, or if fleets are already there.

I spoke with one fleet manager who said they’re not getting rid of their old vehicles so that they can take the parts and use them for vehicles in service. Another fleet manager is trying to find more ways to incentivize new technicians to continue their education and stay within the fleet. Everyone has had to tackle these problems in their own way to best support the fleet.

And a lot of this is a waiting game. It’s tricky trying to navigate the day-to-day fleet needs on top of these larger issues. For some, it’s simply seeing how long the operation can efficiently run with what you currently have. Riding out the storm (figuratively or literally) isn’t always easy. In times of uncertainty, whether dealing with the erratic path of a hurricane or the complexities of fleet management, one principle holds true: preparedness, to the best of your ability, is key.

About the author
Nichole Osinski

Nichole Osinski

Executive Editor

Nichole Osinski is the executive editor of Government Fleet magazine. She oversees editorial content for the magazine and the website, selects educational programming for GFX, and manages the brand's awards programs.

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