Two Fleets Face Similar Challenges During the Pandemic
A tale of two fleets, different in nearly every respect but for one: the logistics of moving people from place to place. Make that two: their ability to accomplish their work has been completely reshaped, sometimes completely undermined, by the spread of Covid-19.
We caught up with two NAFA members to talk about their current challenges; they wanted to show their solidarity with other fleets and NAFA members who are also experiencing this shared history.
They requested anonymity, as their work situations are sensitive.
Garage Life in the Age of COVID-19
The current pandemic has created a new set of challenges for NAFA members. We caught up with a Fleet District Manager (he asked to remain anonymous) for a toll road agency in the Central United States to get his field report.
The majority of his management team is working from home, so the fleet is not operating at a normal rate and only doing emergency repairs. “My mechanics are working two days a week. We pretty much have a skeleton crew in the field.” His organization has 12 garages and normally has three to four mechanics per garage. “We’ve split them in half, so there are only two gentlemen working on vehicles at the same time. The only vehicles that we are kind of keeping an eye on and running are the essential vehicles…like our help trucks that run the road and keep an eye out for patrons if they run out of gas or if there’s an accident. We are doing a minimal amount out there just to keep the roads safe.”
What Fairfax Water’s Fleet is Doing to Manage the Pandemic Crisis
We caught up with NAFA Member Dale Collins, CAFM, to discuss how his team is dealing with COVID-19. Utilities are, by their very nature, essential services, and with so many workers and citizens self-isolating at home, the need to keep such services running is that much greater.
This puts pressure on fleets to strive for safety, keeping COVID-19 infection from affecting the team and sidelining crucial work. This also means having to make hard decisions should employees exhibit symptoms of the coronavirus. For Dale Collins, CAFM, Fleet Services Supervisor for Fairfax Water in Lorton, Virginia, there is no time to waste.
How Yale University’s Fleet Is Innovating During COVID-19 Challenges
When it comes to an unprecedented challenge like the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re all learning on the fly, on the job. NAFA recently asked members to assess where they stand in their work and life following the first month of physical distancing.
Ronald S. Gitelman, CAFM, is the Senior Fleet Administrator for Yale University and faces very unique challenges, but never had a plan for students who are not allowed on campus as courses have shifted entirely online.
Gitelman, like many other fleet professionals, was well prepared for nearly every situation one could imagine, but he hadn’t imagined this. He has learned a lot during the past few weeks -- about Yale’s policies, preparedness, and staff -- that will affect his operations going forward.
Think Local: Effective Solutions and Targeted Operations Regional NAFA Members Share Their COVID-19 Response Actions
To help understand the challenges facing Fleet Managers in different parts of the country, NAFA would like to recognize regional members who have shared their experiences and strategies managing their fleets through the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ingenuity, Innovation and Compassion Fleet Managers Share Their COVID-19 Response Actions by Industry
Many Fleet Managers are essential and have played an enormous role in the fight against COVID-19. It is more important now than ever that we recognize our essential services and the resources needed to keep our roads safe and clear as well as maintain the flow of goods and services required to help us get through this tough time.
NAFA would like to recognize members who have shared their experiences and strategies managing their fleets through the COVID-19 pandemic.
2020 Flexy Winner: Stewardship, Change, and COVID-19 (Flexy Winner Interview)
We caught up with 2020 FLEXY Award Winner Steve Larsen, Director of Procurement and Fuel at Ruan Transportation Management Systems to discuss crisis management. Everyone working at Ruan has been charged with helping minimize the impact on operations that the coronavirus has caused.
As many reports and first-person accounts can affirm, many stores are faced with shortages due to supply chain issues as a result of panic buying. At times like these, the role of the trucking industry charged with getting the merchandise to our stores cannot be underestimated.
Larsen spoke to NAFA from his home where he and his wife are working remotely. What follows is a wide-ranging discussion about current needs, how Ruan is stepping up to the challenges at hand, as well as the efforts that gained him his Excellence in Corporate/Private Fleet or Mobility Management FLEXY.
Firefighting Fleets: Managing Data and a Pandemic (Flexy Winner Interview)
The national coronavirus crisis is affecting fleets in unique ways, principally from being labeled essential to being temporarily shut down. FLEXY winner Brad Smith, Fleet Maintenance Supervisor for Poudre Fire Authority in Fort Collins, CO manages an absolutely essential fleet.
NAFA caught up with Brad, winner for Excellence in Public Fleet or Mobility Management, to dig deeper into the challenges of the moment which make firefighting administration even more challenging.
“Fire fleets have situations where some houses contain several functions and multiple assets running out of one place,” Smith explains. “The trucks stay at the station and crews are rotated every 48 hours, so we ensure that quality pass-on is done between the shifts. Lingering non-safety issues are monitored. I have currently halted all non-essential shop activity to include preventive maintenance actions that are not more than 500 miles or 30 days overdue. The goal of that is to keep as many reserve firefighting apparatuses at the ready in the event of major breakdowns and supply chain issues. We have six reserve apparatus with one currently in service.”
2020 Flexy Winner Interview: George Hrichak
2020 FLEXY winner George Hrichak shares strategies for success. This is not the way George Hrichak imagined he’d be celebrating his 2020 Fleet Excellence Award (FLEXY) win, with most of the United States in a virtual standstill because of Covid-19. “My family is following the precautions everyone else is, washing hands, using hand sanitizers, social distancing, that type of thing.”
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.
Vehicle Miles to Replace Fuel Tax?
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.