By Laura Jozwiak, Senior Vice President of Sales and Client Relations, Wheels, Inc.
What do you think of when you hear the word “change”? For some, it can conjure up thoughts of fear, uneasiness, and potentially more work. If you allow those thoughts to take hold, it can obscure your ability to grow and do what is right for your organization. Change is happening in our industry at a rapid rate. Are you positioned to turn this change into an opportunity? I would suggest the key to adapting and taking advantage of change is to watch for it, learn from it, embrace it and act upon it.
It seems that everything changes in a blink of an eye, but does it really? Or are we just not listening and watching for the smaller steps leading up to a major change that eventually impacts us? Every September I marvel at how quickly the leaves have changed color. But this annual transition doesn’t happen overnight as I lead my mind to believe; it has been occurring over the course of several weeks but I wasn’t paying attention. Instead, I was busy thinking about my day and simply not paying attention to the world around me until one day I see the brilliant colors of fall all around me.
That is a simplistic example, but there are many ways that changes around us have an impact on fleet. And being distracted by our daily business may get in our way of advancing our fleets forward and properly protecting our companies. Take Uber, for example. What started with two frustrated gentleman trying to hail a cab in Paris in 2009, has grown into a 60+ billion company, with more than 3 million users, operating in 540 cities, employing 1.5 million drivers worldwide. And one of those 1.5 million could be one of your fleet drivers!
Fleet drivers are calling their fleet management companies and their fleet offices asking if they can use their company provided vehicle to drive for Uber on their personal time. Just think about the ones that aren’t calling! This is an important reminder that changes within our society can impact our drivers and our fleets. We have all heard of or used Uber, but did we see how this may impact our fleet drivers when it first started and then grew in popularity?
Have you changed your fleet policy yet? If not, why? How often do you go through the review process? Working with our clients, we have learned that it takes time to review and approve changes in fleet policy. There are a lot of people that need to be involved. My advice is to regularly review and be open to changing your fleet policy; keep the process fluid. Just being aware of the potential risks, but not communicating the changes to the organization may not result in your desired outcome.
Establishing a fleet policy that has a responsive update process will become more critical to ensure we protect our companies. Think about the issues that may arise from accidents or injuries that resulted from a driver using their vehicle for ride sharing companies. Or what about the drivers in a state that has legalized marijuana, or allows conceal carry of guns? How have you changed your policy to protect your company?
And these are just some of the changes that have happened in the last year or two. What is the next big change on the horizon that we will need to address with our management and drivers in order to manage our risk? The signs are out there now if we pay attention and continue to share our challenges and solutions.
We can either ignore or embrace change. And not only embrace it but take action when we are faced with it; turn change into an opportunity. By doing so, we can advance our positions within our companies and advance our industry. Continue to explore ways to challenge the status quo and create an environment that supports new ideas. And most importantly, be on guard for the distractions that may prohibit you from seeing the important cues your clients, suppliers, management and drivers are providing; stay focused and open to new ideas for continuous improvement.
Join the conversation! Let me know how your fleet embraces change. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
About the author
Laura Jozwiak is the Senior Vice President of Sales and Client Relations at Wheels, Inc. She oversees Wheels’ Sales, Account Management, Client Services, Client Relations and Client Analytics teams, which provide strategic guidance and analytic resources to assist Wheels’ clients in making informed decisions that improve the performance of their fleets.