Fleet leaders look back at their successes and challenges. - Photo: Work Truck

Fleet leaders look back at their successes and challenges.

Photo: Work Truck

As the curtain falls on 2023, fleet leaders in the work truck industry take a reflective stance, sharing insights into the triumphs and tribulations that defined the year.

Work Truck spoke with key figures from DTE Energy, AWP Safety, and Climate Pros, and a narrative unfolded, offering a deeper understanding for fleet managers seeking educational content in this dynamic industry.

DTE’s Triumphs in EV Innovation

Amy Joyce, the director of fleet at DTE, highlighted significant strides in advancing electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure.

DTE’s commitment is evident in installing 195 Level 2 chargers and three fast chargers at facilities, surpassing industry standards.

Joyce explained, “This infrastructure is augmented by an additional 50 EV chargers installed in the houses of field employees who begin their workdays from home. These “home start” EVs have the added advantage of charging during off-peak hours.”

The fleet's commitment to sustainability extends beyond infrastructure to the expansion of its electric and hybrid vehicle fleet.

Joyce proudly shared the integration of 86 electric vehicles and 72 hybrids into their operational fold, with additional orders in the pipeline.

This move aligns with environmental goals and addresses concerns about EV range in rural service areas.

On top of that, DTE implemented an ISO 9001 and quality management program.

“These initiates increased garage and driver productivity and reduced asset operating costs”, Joyce said.

Tackling Operational Hurdles

However, the journey wasn't without its challenges. Joyce noted, “Opening and closing of order banks with little advance notice” was one of the fleet’s pain points.  

Anticipating improvements in this area, DTE seeks to enhance planning effectiveness with more advanced notice.

The struggle to bridge the gap created by manufacturers allocating fewer vehicles than needed persists, stemming from challenges faced during COVID-19.

Parts costs emerge as an ongoing challenge, with a 10%-15% increase since 2019 and electronic components posing persistent difficulties.

How AWP Safety's Fleet Navigated Growth

In a parallel narrative, Bob Adamsky, the director of AWP Safety, unveiled the success story of handling a substantial increase in vehicle count.

Despite the vehicle fleet expanding, Adamsky and his team delivered all requested vehicles and equipment within the budgeted year, showcasing meticulous planning and execution.

Team building also emerged as a key success, emphasizing the importance of internal administrative support and the establishment of divisional leadership roles. This strategic move ensures a cohesive and efficient fleet management structure.

The reduction of repair and maintenance (R&M) spending is a testament to Enterprise Fleet's commitment to operational efficiency.

Adamsky's team successfully managed to lower R&M expenditures compared to budget and the previous year, showcasing financial prudence.

Yet, challenges persisted, notably in inflation in R&M parts costs.

The deployment of a new telematics solution presented hurdles, particularly concerning take-home vehicles and non-centralized reporting within the fleet.

These challenges underscore the dynamic nature of technological integration in fleet management.

Climate Pros Unique Challenges in EV Adoption

Amy McAdams, fleet manager at Climate Pros, sheds light on unique challenges faced by fleets servicing large commercial HVAC and refrigeration, emphasizing the intricacies of integrating electric vehicles into such specialized operations.

“The challenge of acquiring vans within specific order slots was a significant impediment,” McAdams said. “Coupled with infrastructure concerns, this poses a formidable barrier to the seamless adoption of electric vehicles.”

As was a problem with many other fleets, Infrastructure limitations become apparent when servicing equipment at locations like shopping centers.

The absence of charging facilities in service areas poses a substantial challenge to the practical inclusion of electric vehicles in the fleet.

Navigating diverse driving routes adds complexity to the electrification equation. From short urban routes to extensive remote locations, the fleet covers a spectrum of distances, posing distinct challenges for EV integration.

But this is just the beginning of the electrification journey of many fleets. As we adapt more, so will the world around us. Amidst successes and challenges, the industry stands at the crossroads of innovation, requiring collaborative efforts to overcome obstacles and drive sustainable change in the year ahead.

The journey continues, promising both growth opportunities and fleet management practices' evolution.

About the author
Hillary Weiss

Hillary Weiss

Senior Editor

Hillary Weiss is a former senior editor at Bobit. She has a decade of digital publishing experience and a passion for all things related to fleets.

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