As the work truck industry witnesses unprecedented growth, fleet managers find themselves at the intersection of technological innovation, shifting workforce dynamics, and the pressing need for sustainable solutions.
The Work Truck Editorial Advisory Board gathered to share the intricacies of navigating these challenges and uncovering opportunities for celebration.
From the challenges of workforce shortages to the intricate dance of supply chain disruptions, the fleet management industry is forging ahead, armed with resilience and a commitment to excellence.
Leveraging Tech to Streamline Operations
Robert Adamsky, corporate fleet manager of Area Wide Protective, started the meeting with his fleet facing persistent challenges related to order timings and the struggle with upfitters' capacity.
And to add to that, his company has significantly grown this year.
While it’s always great to celebrate growth, it also comes with its downfalls. “We continue to acquire other companies and grow. My biggest challenges are keeping all the information in the right place, gathering information on new employees, and growing the team. It wasn't that long ago that we had a team of one or two, and now it's at 18,” Adamsky said.
To combat these challenges, Adamsky advises tracking all assets for easier organization. "We’ve had success with Samsara for our cameras, GPS systems, and asset tracking to manage our growing fleet efficiently. Tracking our Essentials is imperative,” Adamsky added.
Working in Unconventional Territories
Glenn Yamada, the fleet and facilities supervisor at Hawaii Gas, offered insights into the challenges faced by fleet managers operating in unconventional territories.
His experience sheds light on the intricacies of shipping vehicles to islands, unveiling the hurdles posed by workforce shortages and delivery delays from upfitters.
Yamada identifies shipping line congestion as a significant obstacle, emphasizing the critical need for fleet managers to cultivate flexibility and innovative solutions to thrive amidst such challenges.
“All our truck chassis are backed up at the upfitters. We are getting one or two at a time. So, it's been slow going to get my replacement vehicles. The biggest challenge is shipping them from the West Coast to Hawaii because shipping lines are full. And with the Maui incident, relief supplies and shipping are getting prioritized before our vehicles,” Yamada added.
As the demands of the industry evolve, the ability to adapt becomes a paramount asset for those steering the course of fleet operations in less-than-ideal environments.
Navigating Intrigue Balances
Amy McAdams, CAFM, fleet manager at Farmer Brothers, shared how she is grappling with the formidable challenges of an unpredictable landscape.
At the helm of the company's vehicle fleet, McAdams has articulated significant concerns regarding the capricious nature of vehicle allocations and the looming specter of potential disruptions arising from labor strikes.
McAdams' apprehensions extend to the intricate logistics of vehicle transportation across diverse regions, shedding light on the protracted waiting game that fleet managers like herself find themselves in.
“One of the things fleet managers must consider is the amount of time it takes to get a vehicle from point A to point B with transporters. Granted, I don't have to worry about shipping a vehicle across the water as Yamada does, but I do have to worry about getting a truck from the Midwest to the Northeast or the West Coast to the Midwest. It can be a challenge,” McAdams said.
In this dynamic arena, where time is of the essence, McAdams' insights underscore the intricate balance that fleet managers must navigate to ensure the seamless operation of truck fleets amidst a backdrop of uncertainties.
Insights into Industry Dynamics
The Advisory Board discussion offered a glimpse into the multifaceted challenges faced by fleet managers in the current landscape.
From supply chain disruptions and workforce shortages to the complexities of integrating electric vehicles, the fleet management industry is navigating uncharted territories.
As we continue to grow and evolve, these experts' shared experiences and strategies provide valuable lessons for fleet managers and industry professionals.
In an era where the keyword seems to be "waiting," adaptability and innovative solutions stand out as essential tools for success in fleet management.