Mitigate Now: Nine Lessons from the Coronavirus
Challenging times call for operational strategies that can evolve as the situation unfolds.
Maintaining the operations of a business in a simultaneous health and economic crisis is a critical concern for every leader today.
As the coronavirus crisis rages, fleet and mobility managers have a specific responsibility to act swiftly – to ensure the safety of employees, to assist the business in staying flexible, and where possible, to support efforts to save lives.
Preparing for Natural Disasters in Uncertain Times
According to Patti M. Earley, CAFM, Fleet Fueling Operations Supervisor at Florida Power & Light and President of NAFA, after a disaster, the most important mission is getting people’s lives back to normal as quickly as possible. “For most organizations,” Earley says, “restoration or continuity of daily functions doesn’t happen without the fleet. While there may be some advanced warning with hurricanes, most disasters don’t necessarily give you notice before they strike.”
Data Safety: How Do You Protect Your Fleet from Hackers?
Today’s increasingly connected vehicles provide a trove of data and insight, but that brings with it another worry, especially for law enforcement fleet professionals: the valuable data also might be of interest to criminals.
What about a terrorist attack response that is dramatically slowed down because police vehicles are remotely disabled, wherever they sit?
Officers are sitting in an undercover police car, staking out a drug kingpin. Out of nowhere, the car is surrounded by armed men, because the bad guys hacked into the police network to find out vehicle locations.
Navigating Fleet Staff Conflict
Workplace relationships can be the most difficult kind. They are as close as family ties, and frequently, one will see their co-workers more than spouses, children, and so on. The key differences are that your livelihood depends on your ability to work and interact with your colleagues, and the quality of your organization’s efforts can suffer greatly if you don’t.
Therefore, fleet and mobility professionals can find themselves in the position of mediator and conflict mitigation manager , with two employees on either side and at odds with each other.
“At its core, fleet management is a resource management discipline and the most important resource we have are our employees,” said NAFA Regular Member and Past President Christopher D. Amos, CAFM, Commissioner of Equipment Services, St. Louis, Mo. “Workplace productivity is negatively impacted by anything that distracts from people doing their job.”
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.
The Finer Points of Fleet Data
The fleet management industry has seen an evolution in recent years centered on information technology (IT) and vehicle data. With the advent of telematics devices and vehicle tracking systems, fleet managers are utilizing IT more than ever. The statistics provided by these tools can be used to reduce vehicle downtime, keep up with preventative maintenance, improve driver safety, make informed decisions when selecting new vehicles, and more.
Succession Planning is Key to Professional Continuity
Everyone wants to think they’re irreplaceable. Yet when the lottery hits new heights, the lines are long—with many dreaming of quitting their day job. Retirement parties come around frequently. And no one likes to think about it, but people die every day—and many of them are still in the workforce when it happens.
Then there are happy things: marriages that take someone out of state, or a promotion that leaves the role vacant.
In a world in which vacancies may mean the full-time equivalent shifts to another department or in which a fleet professional suddenly juggles additional responsibilities, having the next hire identified makes sense. And it may prove more valuable than simply filling the job.
Predictive Analytics: Get the Most Out of Your Data and Your Vehicles
When it comes time to replace certain vehicles in your fleet, many organizations use mileage and/or months in-service to determine when to cycle their assets. This method, however, doesn’t take into account the great variation in vehicle usage that can occur across a fleet or how the vehicle may have been driven.
This is where predictive analytics and leveraging big data can give fleet managers a clearer picture of the condition of their vehicles by using a model that incorporates factors like maintenance history, driver behavior, age, and mileage.
NAFA Member Bob McElheney, CAFM®, Director, Vehicle and Equipment Services for the City of Newport News, Va., said his team bases many replacement decisions on a vehicle-by-vehicle basis by examining the type of asset and what it is used for.
Is Green the New Gold?
Investing in a new technology or initiative for the sustainability benefits alone is a noble idea with long-term benefits—but not necessarily one that upper management will gravitate toward. These days, with budgets being crunched to squeeze out every dime, those efforts might also require cost savings.
The good news is that it’s easier than ever, fleet professionals say, to find vendors who will offer solutions that support sustainability. Increased competition, naturally, means better solutions—and better results. So yes: “green” can add up to “gold,” but it will take some work.
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.
Vehicle Miles to Replace Fuel Tax?
Vehicle miles traveled (VMT) is a funding mechanism that charges drivers according to how many miles the vehicle has been driven, as opposed to current point-of-purchase fuel taxes. The primary beneficiary of the fuel taxes, the Highway Trust Fund (HTF), struggles annually to stay solvent and continue to pay for projects to build and repair the country’s roads and bridges.
Additionally, alternate fuel vehicles and more efficient gas and diesel engines make fewer trips to the station to pay fuel taxes, and some vehicles don’t visit gas stations at all.
Sam Graves (R), Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Highways and Transit, is the U.S. Representative for Missouri’s 6th congressional district, serving since 2001. He is a leading proponent for VMT as a funding source for the Highway Trust Fund, and in a one-on-one interview outlined his reasons for pursuing this funding mechanism.