May 12, 2020

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Editor’s Analysis & Top Industry News

Finding Our Way

We are all trying to find our way through this pandemic, coping with unprecedented circumstances in our business and personal lives. In the fleet industry, we are always fortunate to be able to consult with our friends to learn what is working for them.

In her video, Maria Neve talks to the necessity of maintaining a healthy work-life balance, and in her Customer Driven column, Laura Jozwiak tells us why “what we have always done” just doesn’t apply anymore and spurs us on to use this time to forge a new path with our clients.

We look to the future of transportation with Lukas Neckermann. While COVID-19 has wreaked havoc in so much of the industry, Lukas assures us there are some potential bright spots.

Enjoy the issue and stay safe and healthy!

Janice Sutton
Editor in Chief

VIDEO: Work-Life Balance During the Pandemic

Work-Life Balance can be tricky even at the best of times, and during a global pandemic it’s more challenging than ever. One key piece of advice: know when it’s time to get away from your desk and your computer.

VIDEO: Transportation Trends

 What Trends Can We Expect for Transportation in the Near Future?

As we look at transportation trends in the wake of COVID-19, the OEMs are in a tough spot, and fleets could see a glut of vehicles. But there are some potential bright spots as well, including with electric vehicles and with certain use cases for autonomous vehicles.

Video Interview with YOU Here?

 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:

The Fleet Spot

Fleet Logistics Offers Free Fleet Audits to Support Large Organizations with Pandemic Economics

Fleet Logistics Group, Europe’s largest independent fleet management company, is making a free, high-level fleet audit offer to large fleets to support them through the current pandemic and with their financial recovery.

The fleet audit is available through Fleet Logistics’ website for a limited period, and is aimed at optimizing the fleet operations of large international fleets during this time of crisis. The QuickScan offer is available to all fleet operators with a minimum fleet size of 2,000 cars in Europe, and offers a scan of the existing fleet setup, looking at controlling fleet spend and identifying savings potential.

On a first come, first served basis, Fleet Logistics will analyze provided information covering areas of fleet operation such as existing agreements, policies, and spend data.


Living and Working in a COVID-19 World

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.”


Sofico Awarded ‘Investors in People’ Silver Accreditation

Sofico, global automotive finance, leasing, fleet and mobility management software provider, has been awarded Investors in People (IIP) Silver level accreditation, thanks to initiatives rolled out as part of the company’s ‘Learning Organization’ philosophy.

Sofico’s HR manager, Corinne Martens, said: “We are very proud to achieve IIP Silver accreditation which provides us with guidelines for the continuous improvement of our HR processes.

“The idea behind the learning organization is to encourage people to grow in their job role through continuous learning and to put people in control of their career by focusing them on future goals through their personal development plan.”


Georgia Fleet Manager Risks Pandemic Exposure to Protect the Public and His Employees

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.


Customer Driven

Culture develops and grows within walls, but strong cultures live with or without walls

By Laura Jozwiak, Senior Vice President of Sales & Client Relations, Wheels, Inc.

Have you heard the pot roast recipe fable? The story goes something like this:

A young boy and his mom decide to make their family’s pot roast, using a recipe that has been in the family for years. They start by cutting off the ends of the pot roast, and the boy asks his mom: “Why do you have to cut the ends off the meat?” She said, “I don’t know, it’s what the recipe says to do.”

They decide to call her mom to find out why you have to cut the ends off the piece of meat. Grandma also says that she didn’t know why, but that it’s part of the recipe. This family was fortunate enough to have her mother still alive, so they called great-grandma to ask why. And she told them, she cut the ends off the pot roast because she had a small roasting pan at the time—and it didn’t fit.

This is a story of culture. During these remote work times, you can see how critical a strong culture really is!



Fleet Spectator

By Mark Boada, Executive Editor

Eclipsed this month by wall-to-wall coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic was an encouraging bright spot of news about U.S. traffic fatalities.

In an early May report, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that, according to an “early estimate,” in 2019 the number of highway deaths was down for the third straight year.

Specifically, NHTSA reported that data from the Federal Highway Administration shows a decline of 1.2 percent over the count for 2018. The 36,120 killed is still – what? – 36,120 too many, but marks a hopeful trend, or “trendlet,” if you will, since the end of 2016, when 37,806 people died on our roadways. That represented a stunning 6.5 percent over the number recorded in 2015 which, in turn, was a staggering 8.4 percent more than the 35,484 killed in 2014.

The prime suspect in that two-year increase was out-of-control growth in distracted driving, the focus being not just the normal daydreaming, eating, or fiddling with the A/C or radio, but talking and texting while behind the wheel. And you could also chalk the increase to the fact that we were nicely recovered from the Great Recession, which artificially deflated the highway fatality tolls by more than 9 percent each in 2008 and 2009, because so many people were unemployed and off the roads.



Working from Home

Challenges,Benefits, Statistics and Predictions for Remote Workers

According to Motus’ recently released report, Remote Work: A New Advantage, more than 90 million people in the U.S. have a job that could be performed at least partially from a remote location. Here are a few more interesting statistics:

    • In 2019, 54% of all U.S. workers worked remotely at least 1 day a month
    • As of April 2020, there were approximately, 330 million people living in the U.S.
    • As of mid-March, an estimated 16 million workers in the U.S. started working remotely due to COVID-19
    • It is estimated that 30-40% of workers will continue to work remotely full-time after the pandemic ends

How can organizations benefit if they choose to keep some or all their employees working remotely? Chief Technology Officer of Motus Rick Blaisdell answers: READ MORE

Fleet Trends & Issues

Hertz Canceled Most New-Car Orders As Pandemic Shuts Down Travel

The Detroit Bureau

As Hertz Global Holdings Inc. works to stay out of bankruptcy, the company has canceled 90% of its new-car purchases for the 2020 model year, a move likely to further depress fleet sales by major automakers.

Chief Executive Officer Kathy Marinello revealed the cost-cutting move in a short 20-minute conference call Tuesday, one day after the company reported a larger-than-expected first-quarter net loss and said it may have difficulty continuing as a going concern. That signaled the company’s management doesn’t expect a quick rebound in demand for rental cars over the next 12 months.

“The coronavirus created a major disruption as global travel market and the used-car market effectively shut down,” Marinello said. “We have to be pragmatic about the timing of an economic rebound including a second wave of the virus in the fall. So we are focused on safeguarding liquidity.”

Read the article at The Detroit Bureau.

Earning Reports For The Sharing Community Are Dismal

Business Standard

Lyft, Uber and Airbnb depend on travel, vacations and gatherings – that’s a problem when much of the world is staying home.

Even when people return to the office and start travelling, the pandemic could change how they behave for years to come. Thirty percent of gig-economy revenue could disappear over the next one to two years, with a portion of it unlikely to return.

In late April, Lyft laid off 17 percent of its employees. Executives took a 30 per cent pay cut and employee pay was trimmed 10 percent. Use of Uber’s ride service was down 80 per cent in April. Uber laid off 14 per cent of employees. Airbnb laid off 1,900 employees, about 25 percent of its staff and reduced its revenue forecast for this year to half of what it brought in last year.

Read the article at Business Standard.

Electronics Account For 40 Percent Of The Cost Of A New Car

Car and Driver

The microprocessors and chips that power modern vehicles are now used in everything from basic trip computers to road-scanning active suspensions.

They’ve made cars quicker, safer, cleaner, more efficient, and more reliable—better in every way. Computing technology has fundamentally altered the processes of automotive design, engineering, and manufacturing.

And while individual chips may be cheap these days, the computer’s significance is evident in just how many there are in a single car. Electronics are responsible for 40 percent of a new car’s total cost, according to a Deloitte analysis. That’s up from 18 percent in 2000.

Read the article at Car and Driver.

Fuel Prices Suddenly Start Climbing Again As Shelter Orders Start to Lift

The Detroit Bureau

When it comes to gas prices, it seems, we already may have hit bottom and could be seeing the numbers start to rise again, just as large portions of the country are set to come out of coronavirus lockdown.

Americans are beginning to spend more time in their cars again, and the trend will accelerate as more states end lockdowns. The latest report from the Energy Information Agency shows that U.S. demand for gasoline rose 800,000 barrels a day last week, to 6.7 million.

While you may find yourself paying a bit more for gas in the coming weeks, there seems little likelihood we’ll soon see the numbers at your local return to pre-pandemic levels any time soon.

Read the article at The Detroit Bureau.

EVs and TCO

Clean Technica

A major Dutch leasing company, LeasePlan, has thought a lot about the total cost of ownership of a vehicle and is getting more and more bullish about electric vehicles.

Last year LeasePlan released a white paper on the topic, after conducting nearly 1000 vehicle ownership scenarios in 13 European countries.

LeasePlan shared some of the takeaway results for head-to-head comparisons. The Nissan LEAF did very well against the Volkswagen Golf and the Audi e-tron did very well against the Mercedes GLE. The one that should surprise you is the Tesla Model 3 versus the BMW 3 Series. But there are reasons for the results. It also had one somewhat surprising conclusion.

Read the article at Clean Technica.


Future Travel


With much of the world closed for business, and no widely available vaccine in sight, it may be months, if not years, before airlines operate as many flights as they did before the crisis.

Among the steps under consideration: no cabin bags, no lounges, no automatic upgrades, face masks, surgical gloves, self-check-in, self-bag-drop-off, immunity passports, on-the-spot blood tests and sanitation disinfection tunnels.

As for food, the tendency is to stop serving altogether on short-haul flights, while the airlines consider ‘light refreshments’ for long-haul flights. Hong Kong Airlines has decided to stop offering food altogether.

Read the article at Forbes.


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.


Fleet Management Resources


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

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 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 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’ 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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