May 5, 2020

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Editor’s Analysis & Top Industry News

Leading, Listening and Learning

It’s always a good time to lead, to listen, and to learn — and it’s difficult to overstate how true that is right now. Speaking of leadership, we were pleased to see that Bill Schankel was officially named CEO of NAFA last week. In his video interview, Bill tells us he’s excited about the position, and also that he is quite aware of NAFA’s additional responsibilities in times of the pandemic.

Problem-Solving and Relationships

In today’s Fleet Marketing column, Ed Pierce notes that it’s especially important right now for fleet vendors to show that they can provide excellent resources, and that sales and revenue currently need to take a back seat to problem-solving and relationships.

Request for Zoom Interviews

Speaking of listening, we would like to hear what you have to say. In fact, we would also like to see what you have to say! Please feel free to suggest yourself, or someone you know for one of our video interviews (to be conducted on Zoom) by emailing me at ted@fleetmanagementweekly.com.

Ted Roberts
President


VIDEO: Updating Existing Fleet Policies for the Pandemic

If you haven’t done so already, now is a very good time to update your existing fleet policies to address new risks presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.

VIDEO: NAFA’s New CEO


 Bill Schankel on Being Named CEO of NAFA
 

Bill Schankel is thrilled to be named CEO of NAFA, and he’s fully aware of the added responsibility this position carries in the current environment.


VIDEO: Benchmarking Vehicle Delivery

 Vehicle Delivery and the Power of Benchmarking
 

How does your vehicle delivery and storage service compare to other similar fleets? With business intelligence from PARS, you can clearly benchmark those comparisons.


The Fleet Spot

Bill Schankel, CAE Appointed New CEO at NAFA

NAFA Fleet Management Association (NAFA) has announced Bill Schankel, CAE, as its new Chief Executive Officer.

Schankel has served as NAFA’s Interim CEO since August 2019. He joined the organization in September 2017 as NAFA’s Chief of Staff & Operations.

“NAFA’s Board of Directors conducted an exhaustive search to fill the CEO position, and interviewed many highly-qualified candidates,” said NAFA President Patti Earley, CAFM. “It was our determination that Bill not only exemplified the qualities we were searching for, but also understood the unique challenges of moving our Association forward during times of uncertainty. His commitment to action-based and results-based strategies assures that NAFA will continue to lead the way for the fleet and mobility industry.”

READ MORE

Pandemic Underscores the Need for an Optimal Government Fleet Vehicle Replacement Policy

By Maria Neve, Manager, Mercury Associates

Everyone is saying it, and it’s true: we are living in unprecedented times. COVID-19 has upended how we do business and has shown that the existing playbooks are insufficient. The virus has also affirmed some long-held basics of fleet management.

First and foremost, a lifecycle management policy is a must. Every fleet—whether it be commercial or government—should have a plan in place to replace vehicles in a measured and timely fashion.

State and municipal governments find themselves in the unenviable position of being essential to the health and welfare of the population, and also at the mercy of incredible budgetary pressure that is only going to worsen over the short term. All government entities will be looking for ways to cover the shortfall caused by reduced tax revenue.

Then there is the responsibility to be good stewards of taxpayer dollars. One can argue that a well-thought-out and data-driven fleet replacement policy does exactly that. Let’s take a look how:

READ MORE

5 Tips for Retaining Drivers

By Trent Dressen, Director of Sales, SuperVision

Finding great talent, especially in a driver shortage, is a hassle. It takes time and energy to post the job, interview, and hire the right person. Finding ways to retain drivers will minimize that hassle in the future.

1. Convey Your Culture

From the very first communication with a prospective employee, you are conveying your company culture. Think about what your culture says to the drivers you are trying to hire or retain.

Do drivers feel welcomed and valued? Are they included in team celebrations? Or are they cut off from the rest of the company by a “driver window”?

READ MORE

Request for Zoom Video Interviews

We’re ramping up FMW’s video interviews via Zoom given the times, and are looking to speak with a variety industry experts (and we know that many of you are reading!).

Please feel free to suggest yourself, or someone you know. Any and all timely industry topics will be considered, and we look forward to speaking with you!

Email Ted Roberts to learn more: ted@fleetmanagementweekly.com.

Fleet Marketing


Ed Pierce, Fleet Industry Marketer

As mentioned last month, business buyers are altering their spend during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Even before the current crisis, B2B buyers expressed concern about the possibility of a recession this year. Additionally, if a recession occurred, they wanted vendors to be better resources for them. They expected more quality and accurate information about what they are buying and confidence in the decision to buy.

In the throes of the downturn, vendors must recognize that prospects and customers are busy mitigating losses, minimizing layoffs and carefully maintaining their financial footing. It is exactly the wrong time for aggressive marketing and sales. Promotion alone will turn off buyers who face tough decisions about where they need to cut. B2B vendors need to show concern, offer assistance, and offer solutions to the customer’s problems. Sales and revenues take a back seat to problem-solving and relationships.

READ MORE

 

In the Public Interest


By Mark Boada, Executive Editor

As deputy director of DeKalb County Georgia’s 3,500-vehicle fleet, Robert Gordon is responsible for all of the county’s emergency vehicles, including police cars, fire trucks and ambulances.

But you could excuse him if he never imagined he would someday be behind the wheel of a county bus, responding directly to an emergency himself.

But that’s what happened last month, when he got a call that 43 homeless people being sheltered by the county in a hotel in Doraville, a suburb of Atlanta, needed to be transferred to another facility.

“The hotel manager had called Doraville’s mayor and asked that they be evacuated because of the risk they might be infected and pass on the COVID-19 virus to the large number of more-vulnerable senior citizens who were staying there,” Gordon says.

READ MORE

 

Crash-Free Culture


By Ed Dubens, CEO/ Founder of eDriving

As countries around the world start discussing lockdown exit plans and businesses adjust to new ways of operating, are you prepared for living and working in a COVID-19 world?

It may feel like longer, but only a few weeks ago organizations around the world started taking drastic measures in response to the global coronavirus pandemic. Now, although day-to-day life for the majority of companies remains significantly affected, for many there is a feeling that we will soon be gradually edging back towards “normality”, but what will the new “normal” look like?

According to The Brookings Institution, up to half of American workers are currently working from home, more than double the number who worked from home (at least occasionally) in 2017-18. And, while some jobs can’t be carried out from home, it is expected that the coronavirus outbreak is “accelerating the trend toward telecommuting, possibly for the long term.”

For organizations with employees who usually drive as part of their jobs, this could result in a lasting reduction in employees regularly driving for work. Of course, while specific “driver” roles cannot be performed from home, and companies with delivery drivers are experiencing unprecedented demand, many organizations could see a proportion of employees reducing travel.

READ MORE


Fleet Trends & Issues

Is Automotive CyberSecurity A National Defense Issue ?

Forbes

With modern over-the-air updates one can turn a fleet of cars into an army of adversarial robots.

The concepts of secure platforms, run-time systems, and protecting critical assets are well known within the industry. Blackberry is a leading supplier of secure operating systems for automobiles. The application of these secure methods for cybersecurity are left to automakers as voluntary self certification.

The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) has been developing a vehicle regulation with regards to cybersecurity in connected and autonomous vehicles. UNECE vehicle regulations are law in 54 nations, and most other nations accept UNECE approved vehicles for import, registration, sale and use.

Read the article at Forbes.

Coronavirus Downturn Has SUVs Parked At Sea

The Seattle Times

The cargo ship Jupiter Spirit arrived in Los Angeles’ harbor on April 24 after an almost three-week journey from Japan, ready to unload its cargo of about 2,000 Nissan Armada SUVs, Rogue crossovers and Infiniti sedans in a quick, half-day operation.

When the ship got about a mile offshore, its captain was ordered to drop anchor. And there the ship remained for almost a week – a floating symbol of an unprecedented logjam as nearby storage lots covering hundreds of acres overflowed with vehicles that Americans suddenly have little desire to purchase.

Last month’s sales collapse produced a chain-reaction backlog, causing some ships to divert to other ports, others to wait days to discharge cargo and, ultimately, some to cancel voyages before they even got underway. Ports are having to find space in the surrounding areas for surplus cars.

Read the article at The Seattle Times.

The Biggest Myth About The Development Of Self-Driving Cars

Fast Company

When people hear the term autonomous car, they are often under the mistaken belief that the role of the human driver has been eliminated, that he or she is now relegated to the role of passenger.

AI is sophisticated enough to take over the basic function of driving a vehicle, but driving entails so much more than just navigating a car. We still have the edge over AI because we think like other human beings. We anticipate that other drivers or pedestrians may not always follow the rules of the road, or they may behave in irrational ways.

“The biggest myth about automation is the more automation, the less you need human expertise. Actually, the more you automate, the more you need to educate, where, when, how etc.,” observes Bryan Reimer, PhD, a research scientist at MIT’s Center for Transportation and Logistics, a researcher in the AgeLab, and associate director of the New England University Transportation Center.

Read the article at Fast Company.

Institute for Supply Management Offers Pandemic Toolkit, Webinar

During these unprecedented times, ISM has developed a Pandemic Toolkit to allow supply management professionals greater visibility and transparency into their existing supply chains.

The toolkit features Templates to help you quickly assess risk, a Resource Guide that keeps you up-to-date and informed with international and national business guidelines, Recommended Strategies to coordinate with your plan of action, and more!

Join their free webinar at 1pm ET on May 7 presenting the benefits of the toolkit.

Future Transportation


Car and Driver

Just how different the post-coronavirus world will look is open to speculation—but survey data from gives a glimpse into how people will utilize transportation, both public and private, once the world reopens.

Of those who regularly used public transit such as buses, subways, or trains before the pandemic, 20 percent said that they no longer will do so, and another 28 percent said they will use it less frequently.

Even if more people are driving to socially isolate themselves, increased interest in continuing to work from home could lessen the number of people commuting each day; 75 percent of people in the survey said that now they are working from home, they’d like to continue to do so at least occasionally. Over half said they want remotely working to be how they work from now on.

Read the article at Car and Driver.

 

Driver Distraction


Fleet World

Advances in voice-activated systems for in-car controls could significantly improve safety for drivers and other road users, according to research by the UK’s Transport Research Laboratory (TRL).

A key issues for fleets, driver distraction is estimated to be a factor in up to 30% of vehicle collisions across Europe and evidence shows that driver distraction levels are much higher when using touchscreen technologies compared to voice-activated systems.

Dr Neale Kinnear, head of behavioural science at TRL, said: “The results of this study clearly show that touch control infotainment systems are highly distracting to drivers, far more so than voice-activated systems. However, even current voice control systems increase drivers’ reaction times and remains a concern for road safety.

Read the article at Fleet World.

 

AI and Self-Driving Vehicles


Forbes

True self-driving cars are ones that the AI drives the car entirely on its own and there isn’t any human assistance during the driving task.

We’ll have AI-driving systems that aren’t the brightest, yet nonetheless can drive a car, doing so to the degree that they are either as safe as human drivers or possibly more so. Continuing to obediently take requests from humans for rides, the AI would dutifully drive the self-driving cars.

Remembering HAL from 2001: A Space Odessey, will we end-up with AI-based true self-driving cars that have AI systems pretending to be less-than-full AI so as to hide their capabilities and remain on the low-down? Should there always be a human-in-the-loop proviso, thus presumably safeguarding that if the AI system goes awry, there is a chance that humans can catch it or stop it?

Read the article at Forbes.





Fleet Management Resources

 

AFLA
The Automotive Fleet & Leasing Association. Advancing corporate fleet worldwide.

eDriving
eDriving partners with its clients to engage with drivers and their managers to create a culture that supports lasting behavioral change to reduce collisions, injuries, license violations as well as a fleet’s total cost of ownership.

SuperVision
SuperVision is a fleet driver management solution for MVR & license monitoring, fleet management, fleet safety oversight and driver performance and retention.

The CEI Group Inc.
CEI is North America’s largest provider of fully integrated fleet accident management, driver safety and risk management services.

NAFA Fleet Management Association
NAFA is the association for the diverse vehicle fleet management profession regardless of organizational type, geographic location, or fleet composition.

WEX
WEX fuel cards and fleet management solutions give you powerful tools to reduce spending — for any business, any fleet, any size.

Driving Dynamics
Driving Dynamics was established to help corporate fleet drivers develop expert, safe driving skills using proven, advanced driving techniques.

PARS
PARS’ mission is to provide you with high-quality service at competitive prices for all of your transportation needs.

Wheels, Inc.
First in fleet for 80 years. Wheels helps you build tomorrow’s fleet today.




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