Image of truck tire, with bold tint on right of image and blue tint on left of the image. Wording in white text in left third of the image reads Work Truck, Editorial Advisory Board, Q2 2024 Update.

What are some of the concerns and issues facing fleet leaders? Find out as we hear from members of the Work Truck Editorial Advisory Board.

Photo: Canva/WT Illustration

In the second-quarter meeting of the 2024-2025 Work Truck Editorial Advisory Board, the discussion ranged from telematics and managing assets to improve utilization to challenges in getting fleets to replace pre-Covid vehicles. The collection of fleet professionals also shared tips and provided insight into potential story topics.

But first, they were briefed on what is coming up on the Work Truck editorial calendar.

Upcoming Work Truck Content

Lauren Fletcher, executive editor – fleet, trucking, and transportation, updated the board on the summer edition of Work Truck and pointed out it will include the results of the Work Truck 2024 Fleet Safety Study which is done in partnership with Heavy Duty Trucking. After digging through safety concerns and what fleets shared about technology, Fletcher explained people are showing a high adoption rate of forward-facing cameras but a far lower adoption rate of dual-facing cameras. She also reported seeing an increase, across the board, in overall safety efforts. The next big topic Work Truck will tackle is right-sizing spec’ing, she added.

Work Truck will also have a new story series providing tips for fleets on key topics and details from subject matter experts on things you need to consider when making purchases of various truck-related items. The advisory board was encouraged to share story ideas.

During the May 8 meeting, Amy McAdams, fleet manager, Climate Pros, suggested a story with tips on setting up a DOT program from scratch, and another with tips for dealing with California CARB regulations. Nick Miccoli, corporate fleet manager, P1 Construction, jumped in to suggest a story, and said he has faced struggles with an IFTA audit and content to help fleets in similar situations would be good.

Tracking Assets & Telematics Challenges

Kevin Rider, senior director, fleet operations, United Site Services, shared that his company is working through a new way of tracking assets, and he was tasked with how to track portable toilets in Fleetio. That entailed loading more than 360,000 portable toilets into the system by branch location and crafting policies for transfer and disposal procedures. For Rider, pulling that all together has been what he calls a “big win.”

He also faced sorting out some telematics challenges. When the fleet transitioned to Lytx for both telematics and video event recording, nobody had rewired the trucks, meaning the fleet was not getting information from 3,300 trucks. Those are now being rewired to work with the new platform.

Rider said he has also been working through settlement submissions for the Hino class action lawsuit related to emissions. His fleet runs almost 1,600 Hino trucks.

“If you run Hinos in your fleet, I encourage you to go ahead and reach out and get those submitted. They're anticipating anywhere between $1,000 to $15,000 per vehicle settlements, so there’s potential to recoup some funds there for your fleet,” shared Rider.

Wrapping up, Rider asked for help from anyone familiar with operating medium-duty propane chassis. Since the nature of his fleet’s operation requires a lot of idling so the trucks can run pumps, he said a battery-electric truck is not an option. He is looking now at trying some trucks with propane conversion to support his company’s ESG.

“I think it does make sense — we've been really trying to show that while electrification is an option and it is an option for a lot of people, it's not the option today for everybody,” said Fletcher. “We really are trying to make sure that we're talking about renewable fuels and propane and the options that are out there. So, as you're going through that process and learning and doing everything, we'd love to share some of the wins, successes, and lessons that you've learned through the process.”

Rider also shared that his fleet has moved up to No. 63 on Fleet Owner’s Top Private Fleets list.

People Not Replacing Pre-Covid Vehicles with New Ones

The big challenge for David Hayward, senior manager, global fleet, ABM Industries, is trying to find ways to convince people it is time to replace vehicles. He explained that during Covid he bought a lot of vehicles when they were available and put them in his bailment pool. But he is now finding that people are holding onto vehicles longer because of price increases since the pandemic.

“People look at the price because it's now post-Covid pricing, and they look at the price of the vehicle that they have that’s seven years old, and they're like, ‘this seems cheaper to me’,” he said.  “I'm actually finding it difficult to get people to take the vehicles that are in the bailment. The good news is I have plenty for when there's growth.”

On the bright side, he provided the example of how he will not have to go scrambling for out-of-stock units when he suddenly finds a business that requires 12 pickup trucks.

“I'm struggling to find a way to encourage folks to actually give up their old city vehicle and get something nice new and shiny,” he added.

Miccoli jumped in with some ideas, like encouraging the potential buyer to consider the boost to the company’s image and professionalism by fielding new vehicles rather than the older ones. Another Miccoli-provided pitch would be to point out the higher maintenance cost for an older vehicle compared to the lower maintenance costs of a new one. Plus, he added, the new vehicles will increase employee morale.

The team continued to chime in with McAdams suggesting Hayward prepare an optimum replacement calculation.

“Because until you can show the financial benefit to that business lead that business leaders’ P&L, it's going to be hard,” she said.

Starting a DOT Program and Setting Service Van Specs

McAdams shared that her fleet does not have a DOT program set up that is managed internally, so she is taking on setting one up and has been seeking advice. She also will be taking the lead in being responsible for electrification for her company’s fleet in California.

On top of that, she is about to take steps to standardize service van specifications.

“Every manufacturer, every combination, everybody is unique,” she explained. “It's going to have to be one way so that I can negotiate pricing down because we've been an 85% out-of-stock purchaser in the past and I want to get to at least 85% factory order.”

She also touched on issues she is working through with the fleet’s telematics.

When is it Time to Bring in Extra Assistance?

Jason Rascoe, fleet manager and corporate purchaser, Rose Pest Solutions, explained how he has multiple things on his plate, like many fleet managers.

First, is a fleetwide telematics wire upgrade while at the same time dealing with information about a Stellantis-Ram fleet cutoff, pointing out that means about 95% of his vehicles won’t be able to be ordered from dealers.

With so much going on, he suggested Work Truck take on a story about when it becomes time for a fleet manager to bring in an assistant or outside help.

Rascoe is celebrating success in becoming an automotive operating consultant and has licensed his automotive courses to schools, municipalities, and companies.

“My automotive braking systems course is really, really taking off. The course is designed to get mechanics ASE certified in the least amount of time possible, without jeopardizing quality training. I made it really interactive, including some VR interactions. I also developed a way that it can be extremely safe for the high school/vocational sectors, where they're worried about the dangers of whole vehicle lifting.  The course does not require the lifting of a complete vehicles to learn the process of the braking system.” explained Rascoe.

Better Utilization & Equipment Visibility Through Expanded Telematics.

Robert Adamsky, director, enterprise fleet, AWP Safety, has focused on talking about California emissions regulations with his west division fleet manager as the company prepares for EVs. But he also is expanding how he uses his telematics provider to increase utilization.

“We're actually looking at unused miles and trips to help better define utilization,” he explained.

Better tracking that under-utilized equipment is not just about operating costs, he said. Adamsky explained the increased knowledge will help the sales teams make better projections of available equipment that can be rented or put on job sites.

Heavy-Duty Trucks Adding Capability

P1 Construction is a privately owned union construction company subcontractor, and Miccoli explained the company only last year started to get into trucking with the purchase of a used Volvo tractor. Now the company has added a second day cab, a 2025 Peterbilt.

That means the construction company can now better deliver to large sites, like where Panasonic is building an electric vehicle battery plant not too far for the P1 Construction office.

“We're delivering six or seven loads every day, back and forth, just for ductwork in that building, the biggest building I’ve ever been in in my life,” Miccoli said. “So, I was glad that we weighed out the options and it did make sense for us to purchase a brand new truck. So, that was pretty cool to be able to get that and our guys love it and say they all want to drive it. It really enables us to get to that next level of a construction company.”

As far as regular work trucks, Miccoli said his fleet is planning to transition a little to GM and order Silverados following a good bit of lifecycle analysis.

“It's kind of good to be able to convince leadership and owners that it does make sense to diversify a little bit,” he added.

About the author
Wayne Parham

Wayne Parham

Senior Editor

Wayne Parham brings more than 30 years of media experience to Work Truck's editorial team and a history of covering a variety of industries and professions. Most recently he served as senior editor at Police Magazine, also has worked as publisher of two newspapers, and was part of the team at Georgia Trend magazine for nine years.

View Bio
0 Comments