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Tires are a Depreciating Asset: 10 Ways to Slow the Rate of Depreciation

As a wear item, tires are a depreciating asset. Your job, as the fleet manager, is to slow the rate of depreciation. Replacement tires as a cost category are a fleet’s second-largest operating expense, exceeded only by fuel. By maximizing tire tread life, you lower per-mile costs, resulting in fewer premature removals and optimizing the condition of tire casings, allowing for multiple retreads.

Employees Using Company Vehicles to Moonlight as Uber Drivers (and More)

A growing number of employees have been caught using their company vehicles as a tool to generate supplemental personal income for themselves.The fastest-growing trend in unauthorized usage of company vehicles is working as an Uber or Lyft driver. But using company vehicles to moonlight goes far beyond Uber and Lyft.

Insurance and Energy Industries are Embracing the Use of Drones

When I first read articles about the use of drones in fleet operations, I used to roll my eyes. But, no longer. After talking with many fleet managers, I now believe that drones in commercial applications will have a major impact in a variety of industries. At most companies, drone operations will fall outside the domain of fleet, at least initially. As FAA restrictions are eased, drones will proliferate into mainstream business practices, with the insurance and energy industries in the vanguard

Autonomous Vehicles will Create a Radical Paradigm Shift in Vehicle Design

My prediction is that autonomous vehicles will create a paradigm shift in vehicle design, whereby interior design will become the primary brand differentiator in the future. What will drive this paradigm shift is that future autonomous vehicle design will focus primarily on the passenger and not the driver. This will create a tectonic shift in vehicle design with ramifications that will take decades to fully play out.

Fleet Strategies to Improve OTD for Upfit Units

With the increasing demand and growth of the commercial truck and van segments – particularly among utilities and service industries – the percentage of upfitted vehicles is growing. Upfitters are feeling the pressure of increased demand. In recent years, the huge influxes of vehicles needing upfitting have left some upfitters, at times, overwhelmed.

Six Technology Trends that will Change the Trajectory of Fleet Management

The best way to answer the question of what is the future of fleet is to look outside the fleet industry.Here are six technology trends happening outside of fleet that will have a major impact on the future direction of our industry.

The Invisible Cost of Low Driver Morale

There is a direct correlation between high driver morale and high driver productivity. The converse is also true. The hidden cost of low driver morale has a direct bearing on a company’s bottom line. While low morale is an HR/management issue, and even though fleet managers do not control driver salaries, there are actions that fleets can take to help increase driver morale.

Expansion of Auto Manufacturing in Mexico Will Create Rail Constraints Impacting Fleet OTD

One of the perennial reasons given for order-to-delivery (OTD) delays is rail constraints. This has been an ongoing issue in the U.S., but, now, with the dramatic expansion of automotive production south of the border, rail constraints in Mexico will begin to play a greater role in fleet OTD discussions.

Mobility Management to be Catalyst for Fleet and Corporate Travel Convergence

Some believe that fleet managers will evolve into “mobility managers” in the future. Instead of managing a fleet of vehicles to meet employees’ mobility needs, they will move beyond asset management to manage a broader array of mobility services. These proponents argue that mobility management will create the business case to realign fleet and travel management into a single corporate function.

Safety Programs with Monetary Incentives May Encourage Under-Reporting of Incidents

Do fleet safety incentives “dis-incentivize” the reporting of safety incidents, especially if employees are monetarily rewarded for achieving a low rate of incidents? Under the umbrella of these monetary-based safety incentive programs is not just cash or bonuses, but also award merchandise, award trips, paid days off, and upgraded vehicles or availability of driver amenity options. The question is whether they are potentially counter-productive to the intent of fleet safety programs?

The Growing Penetration of Crossovers into the Commercial Fleet Market

Crossover utility vehicles (CUV), or simply known as crossovers, represent one of the fastest growing segments in the retail auto industry. Likewise, commercial fleet sales are also reflecting an increased acquisition of crossover vehicles. Today, as a percentage, fleet registrations of crossover models are beginning to mirror the market share found on the retail side of the business.

Little-Known Story on What Motivated GE’s Entry into the Fleet Market

As we all know, General Electric (GE) has exited the fleet management industry after a three-decade presence, which started in 1984 when GE Credit Corp. purchased Kerr Leasing, a small family-owned leasing company in Englewood, Colo. What is not well known is why GE entered the fleet management industry in the first place. Here is the prologue or “back story” that was the catalyst to GE’s entry into the fleet business.

Spec’ing Trucks to Maximize Productivity

Fleet managers need to view work trucks as earning assets. To maximize the productivity of this working asset, it is necessary to optimize specifications, operating procedures, and replacement strategies. The best way to optimize truck productivity is to spec the right vehicle for the fleet application. This may sound like I am stating the obvious, but, as many truck professionals will attest, it is often not the case in the real world.

Long-Term Impact of Longer Truck Replacement Cycles

The more expensive the asset, the longer it is kept in service; however, the need for short-term cost savings prompts some fleets to even further extend cycling parameters and defer replacements. But, what are the consequences?

Proper Upfitting Specifications will Decrease Workers' Comp Claims

Under OSHA regulations, an employer must provide a workplace (which includes upfitted work vehicles) free from recognized hazards. Across a variety of vocational segments, today’s fleet managers are devoting increased consideration to ensuring upfits will be ergonomically safe for the driver over the service life of the vehicles. Here's what they are doing to reduce Workers' Comp claims.

The Seven eLements of Leadership

The main difference between leaders and managers is that leaders have people follow them while managers have people who work for them. A successful fleet manager needs to be both a strong leader and manager to get all stakeholders on board to follow them to a vision of best-in-class fleet management. Here are seven principles to achieve this goal.

7 Reasons Why Vehicle Condition Should Not be Part of an Employee's Annual Job Review

If an employee threw trash all over the office floor, scratched the paint off the walls, broke the light bulbs, left holes and dents in the wallboard, and skipped routine maintenance on the copier until it overheated and broke, no manager would tolerate this abuse. Yet, that is exactly what some companies tolerate when drivers abuse their company-provided vehicles.

Fleet Policy Is a Crucial Component of a Successful Cost-Control Strategy

The overwhelming majority of drivers want to do what’s right for the company; however, just because your company implements a written fleet policy doesn’t mean drivers are following it. A common problem is the fleet manager communicates policy to the drivers’ managers, but the word doesn’t get down to the individual drivers. How do you increase driver compliance with fleet policy? Here are 10 suggestions.

Removing Murphy’s Law from the Upfit Process

The multitude of upfitting options and potential configurations makes it easy to fulfill Murphy’s Law, which states, “Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.” Unfortunately, in many cases, who triggers Murphy’s Law is the fleet manager who does not carefully review the upfit specs, or has not consulted thoroughly with the actual users of the equipment, or attempts to over-engineer the upfit. These are all avoidable mistakes.

All Successful Upfits Start with Careful Planning

There are a multitude of specialized fleet applications that require the installation of auxiliary equipment on a truck or in a van. What complicates the planning process is that there are as many ways to upfit a vehicle as there are chassis and body configurations. It is critical that you properly define a truck’s application to ensure the supplier builds the truck to meet its intended use.

History and Evolution of Fleet Replacement Vehicle Cycling Parameters

In reviewing the history of fleet management from the 1950s to present, a single question stands out among all others as the most frequently asked: “How long should I keep my vehicles in service?” Today, a growing number of fleets are shifting to more flexible vehicle replacement cycles based on prevailing market conditions, rather than predetermined mileage and/or months in service parameters. Enabling this shift is the growing sophistication of lifecycle optimization modeling.

Spec’ing Light- and Medium-Duty Trucks to Maximize Resale Values

How you spec a truck has a direct bearing on its future resale. Here are the some of the dos and don’ts in truck spec’ing that will impact resale values.

How to Combat Driver Complacency Caused by Lower Fuel Prices

The prolonged drop in fuel prices shows no signs of abating in the foreseeable future, which is positive since lower prices are making a dent in overall fleet fuel expenditures. However, there is the risk that prolonged lower prices will result in driver complacency to being energy conscious with less focus on fuel-efficient driving.

The Little-Known Origin of Total Fleet Management

“Total fleet management” is a generic, shorthand term used to refer to programs offered by FMCs that administer all aspects of a client company’s fleet operations. Have you ever wondered about the origin of this concept? You might be surprised to learn that IBM was one of the initial catalysts leading to the development of today’s total fleet management programs. This might surprise some in the fleet industry, because for the longest time, IBM has been the poster child of driver reimbursement.

Two Trend Lines Impacting Tomorrow’s Commercial Fleets

There are a multitude of trends that will impact tomorrow’s fleets. In this blog, I will focus on just two trend lines — technology and governmental mandates. Here's what I foresee.

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Author Bio

Mike Antich

Editor and Associate Publisher

Mike has covered fleet management and remarketing for more than 20 years and entered the Fleet Hall of Fame in 2010.

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The name given in the UK to a lease financing arrangement where the vehicle appears on the lessee's balance sheet and where the lessee has the option to purchase the leased asset at the end of the lease term for a nominal amount.

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