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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Very few fleets can have a major impact on worldwide air traffic from the ground.
Inside the Fleet of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
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.
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.