Image matters. Of course we can find instances where function over form seems more prudent but over all a lot more folks will see a piece of equipment than will ever actually use it.
As leaders are forced to flex equipment purchases lifecycles are stretched farther than ever before it is likely you have equipment in your fleet that you are not proud of . That is the image that gets conveyed to the community and likely sets the tone for what folks think of the fleet.
Fleet managers are in charge of hundreds or even thousands of mobile bill boards which make their way through the neighborhoods daily. The average residents of your community are not expected to understand the subtle nuance of fleet funding shortfalls and they may not even question why a 1987 service truck is blocking the road while they are on their busy commute. In that moment all you have to show is your logo on an old run down piece of equipment.
The public image of the equipment may or may not be at the forefront of the decision makers thought process when looking at a budget but it needs to be very important to a fleet manager. Of course your equipment should never be considered flashy but you should make every effort to ensure the equipment looks neat, clean and well cared for. By maintaining a good looking fleet you are showing decision makers and the public that the money used on the fleet is being used in a way that they can be proud of.
One of the ways we can enhance fleet image is to make every effort to be seen in a favorable situation. The Town of Jonesborough is an all American small town with many activities happening in the course of a year. Its smart to make every effort to participate in special events whenever possible. The Town leadership encourages departments to take part in many of the town’s events such as the Christmas parade. At this event employees were encouraged to bring thier familes and ride on the departments decorated float. Having this type of positive exposure has been fun for the user departments and by default has given them pride in the equipment they use daily. After the parade one of our senior elected officials contacted me and said how “proud he was of the equipment” and went on to say that he had received favorable comments from several residents at the parade regarding the equipment. In a similar event called the Jonesborough “Egg-stravangaza” the fleet was invited to display some equipment there.
It is OK to show off any chance you get and engagement in the community can lead to a more informed board when it comes to budget time. So get out in front of the folks that actually paid for the equipment and tell the fleets story in a positive situation.