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Spring Clean Your Operations

March 24, 2017

by Lauren Fletcher - Also by this author

When spring is in the air, we often think of spring cleaning our garages at home, but do you ever spring clean your fleet operation? From offices to maintenance bays, spring has sprung and it’s time to clean up!

  1. Get organized. Is your desk visible under all the paperwork you receive on a daily basis? Can you easily find the notes you took last week, or even a pen to write something down? If not, it’s a smart idea to start with your own office and get organized. Clean up paperwork and recycle material you just don’t need (remember, so much information you receive on paper is available electronically).
  2. Go “paperless.” One of the biggest problems in most fleet manager operations is an excess of paperwork. As noted, much of the information you receive is digital as well, so go paperless! E-mail or call the advertisers or contacts who still send you paper mailings and request them to be sent via e-mail.
  3. Declutter your inbox. Okay, many of you groaned when you read “go paperless, have items e-mailed to you” as you look down at an inbox with more than 1,000 unread items with one more since you started reading this sentence. Decluttering your inbox will go a long way toward becoming more efficient on a daily basis. From outlook to Gmail, e-mail providers have made a lot of changes and tools available to help organize your inbox. Some tips include:
    1. Use outlook “rules” to have e-mails automatically go to an assigned folder. You can create rules based on sender, a word or phrase in a subject line or body of an e-mail, and more. By having your e-mails auto-sorted, your inbox volume decreases instantly and materials are easy to find when you are ready to read them.
    2. Use colors or labels. For important items that you want to read immediately, use the “color” feature in outlook to automatically color e-mails from specific senders a certain color, or set up “VIP” contacts in your Gmail account or another e-mail provider. You can set up notifications to ensure you get that e-mail from your boss right away.
    3. Use the unsubscribe button. Find e-mails you are simply deleting every single time you receive it? While unsubscribing from an e-mail takes a little longer than deleting it, in the long-term having to identify and delete those e-mails every day will take more time than you realize. Just unsubscribe!
    4. Use “RSS” feeds. Sometimes you may delete e-mails often but want some news still. Learn more about RSS feeds and how to utilize them in your outlook or browser so you can check out the information when you are ready to.
  4. Get employees on board. Work with your staff, from office staff to technicians, and explain to them the benefits of a clean and organized workspace. Give them some time to clean up and declutter their spaces as well. More organized and efficient employees make for happier fleet managers. Perhaps schedule a few hours for an office “Spring Clean.” Make it into a fun event and challenge employees with games like the "most improved" or "already spring cleaned" with before and after photos.   
  5. Review operations. Once everything is clean and organized, one area often forgot is general operations. Take a look at your staffing and think about whether everyone is being utilized correctly. Shift responsibilities if needed to be as productive as possible and keep everything and everyone working at peak levels.

So, what you are doing to “Spring Clean” your operations? If you take the leap and clean up, send me your before and after stories. E-mail me and let’s chat!

Lauren Fletcher
Executive Editor, Work Truck
[email protected]

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Author Bio

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Lauren Fletcher

Executive Editor

Lauren Fletcher has been covering the fleet industry since 2006 and is currently the Executive Editor of Work Truck Magazine. Over the past 10 years, Fletcher has written and edited for Automotive Fleet, Fleet Financials, Government Fleet, Green Fleet, Vehicle Remarketing, and Business Driver magazines. A hot rod enthusiast from a young age, Fletcher has a fascination with cars and a love of trucks, from the classics to the new releases.

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