You may think you manage a well-run fleet, but how do you really know unless you have objective data to prove it? When you know your "numbers," you substantially increase the likelihood of successfully presenting the fleet position to the user departments, policy makers, and politicians. In addition, metrics help educate user departments having a financially adverse impact on fleet operations, and bring these inefficient practices to the attention of management in a non-accusatory format.
Many government fleet managers will say they are exempt from Federal Motor Carrier Administration (FMCSA) regulations governing truck weight limits and other safety regulations. This is definitely true for emergency vehicles, snow and ice control equipment, or other public safety applications. However, government fleets are not exempt from operating a safe vehicle as defined by FMCSA regs.
The multiple price increases for replacement tires occurring year-to-date for calendar-year 2011 point to more increases on the horizon. Most tire industry experts foresee tire price hikes continuing for the balance of this calendar-year, with expectations of another round of pricing increases in calendar-year 2012. There are a variety of factors that will influence future tire price.
Public sector fleets want to be environmentally friendly, but are often hamstrung trying to balance contradicting political, environmental, and financial issues when procuring green vehicles. At the upcoming 2011 Green Fleet Conference, we will announce our 40 Sustainability All-Stars, who prove that where there is a will, there is way to green your fleet, despite the obstacles.
Every function of a fleet operation is centered on money: acquisition of vehicles/equipment, fuel, maintenance, facilities, salaries, parts inventory, shop supplies, tools, etc. As we all know, the No. 1 problem today (and for the foreseeable future) is the lack of money due to depressed sales and property tax revenues. In an era of belt tightening, there are a number of unintended consequences of efforts to stem budgetary shortfalls.
Many fleet managers are under-appreciated by user groups, senior management, and elected officials. Sometimes, the fleet manager is at fault because he or she does a poor job of promoting themselves and their department to management. When money is scarce and budgets are tight or need to be cut, fleet managers quickly find themselves on the radar screen of elected officials, the local news media, and taxpayer watchdog groups. How do you prove you are doing a good job?
What do the cities of Santa Rosa, Calif.; Castle Rock, Colo.; and Sacramento, Calif., have in common? All of them successfully employ fleet advisory boards. The key reason fleet advisory boards are successful is because they offer customers/users a say in managing the fleet. In addition, a fleet advisory board, by its very nature, institutionalizes ongoing communication and helps increase customer understanding of the constraints and challenges facing fleet operations.
The primary job of a public sector fleet manager is managing assets and the services provided to user departments. However, as every fleet manager can attest, as much as 60 percent of the work week is consumed by personnel management. In many respects, people management (staff and interdepartmental) is harder than asset management.