Operations and Logistics Articles

Operations and Logistics Articles

Asset Management Strategies for Fleet Leaders During Covid-19

Fleet managers today are being asked to predict the future. Traditionally the term “rightsizing” refers to quantifying the vehicles and staff necessary to fulfill fleet functions. However, the coronavirus pandemic has made rightsizing challenging, as the delivery landscape of next week or even a few months from now remain uncertain­­.
There are no ready answers to the questions Fleet Managers need answered in order to right-size their fleets. Nobody knows what deliveries will be considered essential, for instance, or whether we will we find a vaccine. We also don’t know which industries will go back to business as usual, or how will certain sectors will be forever altered by the pandemic? This creates a challenging environment in which to evaluate assets.  

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Six-Point Fleet Playbook

The pandemic is the most recent example of the need to update procedures and policies documents. Five others include residual personal data in vehicle digital memory when vehicles are remarketed; legalized marijuana; using fleet vehicles for second jobs; carrying weapons; and using cell phones for calls and texting.

Estimates of Fleet Policies in Place

  • Pandemics - 0-1%

  • Data Clearing - 0-10% 

  • Legalized Marijuana - 10-30%

  • Using Fleet Vehicles for Second Jobs - 10-60%

  • Carrying Weapons - 30-80%

  • Cell Phone Conversations and Texting - 50-95%

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A Playbook to Optimize Remote Work 

Covid-19 has forced many of us to make changes – almost on the fly. Many organizations are just emerging from shelter-in-place and have reassessed their work from home policies. The recent shift to remote work has affected nearly every industry and put everyone’s abilities to the test. Mobility managers for many fleets have taken on increased responsibility and workload with the federal regulation for daily driving hours being temporarily suspended in mid-March 2020. The sudden shift to remote work left some scrambling to adjust and find ways to productively cope with the new situation. Now, nearly three months later, the way people work has been revolutionized, so it’s time to revisit best practices for this new work style. 
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CAFM Ups Your Game at Any Stage in Your Career 

Alexis Reece, Fleet Analyst for Ferguson Enterprises, in Newport News, VA, has worked in the fleet industry for over 17 years in various fleet-related roles and is a recent Certified Automotive Fleet Management (CAFM) 2019-2020 graduate. Even with a secure career in the field, she says she earned her CAFM now because, “Even though I have over 17 years of experience in the industry, CAFM certification opens up more opportunities to advance within it.”

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Can Fleet Safety Procedures Be Harmful to Driver Health?

Safety has always come first in the fleet industry. However, the coronavirus outbreak has encouraged fleet leaders to put safety culture at the forefront of their list of priorities. Organizations with a great safety record do so with a culture of safety-present as policy. Many fleet organizations have had to enact stricter safety protocols to prevent pathogen spread in fleet vehicles. The CDC suggests that drivers disinfect vehicles with a “diluted bleach solution,” or a solution comprised of 70% alcohol.

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Fleet Strategies: Pivot with Minimal Disruption

The Covid outbreak threw a wrench in many fleet leaders’ agendas. Suddenly, plans such as business expansions, burgeoning client relationships, vehicle acquisitions and hiring have been put on hold… or suspended altogether. It can be challenging to pivot business plans unexpectedly, while simultaneously minimizing business disruption and pushback from staff. Ideas can suddenly be upended by shifts in the economy, global issues, or even movements within the organization itself. As regulations around business openings and operations are changing almost daily, organizations have been called upon to pivot more quickly than ever before. And the threat of government fines and pathogen spread looms large for fleet agencies that have managed to remain operational.
So, how can fleet agencies turn small defeats into long-term success and pivot quickly, while still being responsible to their staff and clients in the process? We spoke with two fleet leaders and NAFA members to find out.

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The Pivot from Seat Covers to Facemasks

In March 2020, the reality of a worldwide pandemic began to take hold and the ripple of uncertainty spread out across nearly every industry. Organizations were flooded with questions: what was essential/nonessential; how to manage a tele-workforce; how to manufacture a product that may not be in great demand in the short-term; and how to keep staff active during a shutdown? Everyone needed answers, and fast.

TigerTough Group is a manufacturer of seat covers; their way forward came when medical professionals on the frontlines put out an urgent call for personal protective equipment (PPE). The company was uniquely suited to make a contribution and fill this great need.

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Risk Management for Fleets: New Mobility and Covid-19

Implementing new mobility options comes with great potential benefits: increased efficiency of operations, reduced costs, reduced carbon dioxide emissions, and perhaps improved employee satisfaction. As a result, and prior to Covid-19, many fleet managers will have been considering their approach to risk management with respect to new mobility – electrification, automation, and sharing. Clearly, a pandemic temporarily alters priorities; safety of staff and the resilience of the business have priority.  But we shouldn’t take our eye fully off of the longer-term view: managing the potential of alternate mobility solutions.  We may even find some solutions in our short-term challenges. 
It’s become an adage that the fleet manager is becoming a mobility manager. In terms of risk, the consequence is straightforward: as you add responsibilities across the spectrum of new mobility, so too will the list of risks you will need to manage. Connected and electric vehicles each bring a new set of responsibilities, from the batteries and charging infrastructure, to the data compiled by the vehicle and the telematics. 
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Navigating the New Normal

Fleet managers – both those still running essential fleets and those who have dealt with closure obstacles – have been navigating “the new normal” for more than two months now. Likewise, the companies that serve these fleets with products and services have been figuring out how to keep staff on track, even as clients have other concerns in mind.

A national pause as we are experiencing offers the unexpected opportunity to replace old, ineffective practices with new ideas and operations. Corey Woinarowicz is Director of Business Development at NOCELL Technologies, and he is using this time to enhance his firm’s expertise in combatting the deadly and costly distracted driving habit.
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Fleet Protocols for a Post-Covid World

The federal government is pushing for states to reopen. Certain states––such as Alabama, Idaho, Mississippi, and Montana, among others––are slated to resume business before May 1st (while others––such as Arkansas and Florida––never officially shut down in the first place).

Each state will open slowly and with restrictions prohibiting large gatherings. With that said, it’s beginning to look like the U.S. is on track to gradually return to an active economy. 
While commerce will eventually recommence, it will hardly be “business as usual” for a nation brought to its knees by the Covid crisis. School and universities are shut down for the foreseeable future, so fleet agencies that cater to this sector will need to find new purposes for their drivers. And the way we do business will never be quite the same. Let’s take a look at how organizational protocols in fleet need to be altered to reflect what we’ve learned from coronavirus.

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Inside the Fleet of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

Very few fleets can have a major impact on worldwide air traffic from the ground.
According to a December 2018 report compiled by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey’s Aviation Department, over 1.3 million flights and nearly 20.5 million passengers were handled by airports controlled by the agency last year.

Without the Port Authority’s Central Automotive Division supplying the necessary ground vehicles to keep runways clear and passengers moving, those planes would never get off the ground.

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Diesel and Defeat Devices

Experts have never disputed the efficiency derived from diesel fuel or the additional number of miles-per-tank that “burning oil” offered. What was always a sticking point was the long-held perception of diesel as a dirty fuel belching out dark soot -- a stigmatization that caught hold in the U.S. during the 1970s oil crisis. U.S. consumers moved to diesel technology to beat the high price and low availability of gas but were disenchanted by noisy equipment and pollution. That wasn’t necessarily the case on European roads where diesel had been a mainstay.

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