March 23, 2021

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Editor’s Analysis & Top Industry News

All Roads (Should) Lead to Safety

In our fleet-centric world, road safety is of paramount concern. If you are unfamiliar with them, let us introduce you to the global NGO Together for Safer Roads (TSR). David Braunstein, TSR president, pledges: “Together, we can create safer roads. We want to create more partnerships, show the true value found in a meaningful reduction of injuries and fatalities. Finally, we want to share these success stories to propel the involvement of more businesses and communities.”

Last week, Ed Pierce gave us an extensive overview of the NTEA Work Truck Week virtual event, and this week, Ed writes the first in a two-part series highlighting the recently concluded International Automotive Remarketers Alliance (IARA) virtual conference. If you are looking for a reason to be optimistic about the used vehicle market and the U.S. economy, look no further!

Optimism is in the air, or maybe that’s just springtime, but it feels like we can breathe a little easier now. That we still must be on guard with the virus is reflected in the way NAFA is organizing I&E this year as a hybrid version. In a Zoom interview with Ted Roberts, NAFA CEO Bill Schankel, CAE, describes how those of us who can meet in person will gather in Pittsburgh, August 30th through September 1st, and a virtual event will follow in mid-September. What a thoughtful strategy!

Drive Safety!

Janice Sutton
Editor in Chief

VIDEO: Maintaining Morale and Retaining Your Staff

Your people are your number one asset, and maintaining morale should be at the top of your list – especially now. Here are a few great tips on doing exactly that.


 NAFA I&E 2021: A Hybrid Version of In-Person and Virtual

This year’s NAFA I&E will be a hybrid version, with an in-person event in Pittsburgh from August 30th through September 1st, followed by a virtual event in mid-September.

PODCAST: Customer Driven

 A Customer Driven Mindset

In this episode we speak with Laura Jozwiak about what it means to have a Customer Driven mindset, including how to walk in your customer’s shoes and how to provide excellent customer service.

The Fleet Spot

SambaSafety Transforms Driver Risk Management with Acquisition of Instructional Technologies Inc.

PR Newswire

SambaSafety has acquired Instructional Technologies Inc. (ITI), provider of best-in-class online driver training and technology since 1995.

The merger facilitates the ground-breaking addition of online training to the company’s continuous driver monitoring solution, Qorta™, closing the safety loop for employers across industry.

“Since our launch of the first license monitoring solution for employers, SambaSafety has revolutionized how companies manage driver risk,” said Allison Guidette, CEO, SambaSafety. “Today’s exciting announcement positions SambaSafety to again raise the bar and provide the industry’s only comprehensive platform to identify and efficiently act on driver risk with world-class online training.”

Read the news at PR Newswire.

NETS 2021 Strength IN Numbers Annual Road Safety Conference

October 19-21, 2021 — Mark your calendar now for NETS 2021 virtual conference.

NETS conferences bring together Global, Corporate, Government, and Non-profit employers.

Conference participants include NETS member companies from diverse industries, representing a collective global fleet of more than half-a-million vehicles, ~80% passenger vehicles, that travel nearly 11 billion miles annually

Why should you participate in NETS Conferences?


John Cail of Merchants Fleet Wins ‘Pros to Know’ Award

This award recognizes outstanding executives whose accomplishments leverage supply chains for competitive advantage
Merchants Fleet Release

Merchants Fleet is pleased to announce that John Cail, Senior Vice President of Merchants Mobility has been named a 2021 ‘Pros to Know’ award winner from Supply & Demand Chain Executive, the only publication covering the entire global supply chain.

“We are extremely proud of John Cail and the Mobility team he leads courageously. He quarterbacked our last mile delivery business throughout the global pandemic and kept America moving,” said Brendan P. Keegan, CEO of Merchants Fleet. “John is an innovator, a creator, a leader and definitely a Pro-to-Know.”


RepairSmith Announces Its Expansion to Portland and Partnership with Local Nonprofits

RepairSmith officially announced the expansion of its at-home car repair and maintenance service to the greater Portland area. In addition, the company has launched its on-site repair and maintenance service for business fleets in the region.

The company is kicking off its launch by partnering with two Portland nonprofits which are providing the community with access to food and transportation, Metropolitan Family Service (MFS) and Ride Connection.

The company will provide them with $20,000 in free repair services to their vehicles as part of RepairSmith’s Jump Start program. Through Jump Start, RepairSmith will provide a quarter of a million dollars in free vehicle and repair maintenance service for nonprofits throughout RepairSmith’s service areas this year.

Read more.

International Automotive Remarketers Alliance

By Ed Pierce, Contributing Editor

The 2021 IARA Virtual Conference was conducted last week the International Automotive Remarketers Alliance and featured important presentations for remarketers and fleet professionals interested in remarketing trends for 2021 and beyond.

The conference kicked off with opening comments by Laura Taylor, Charleston Auto Auction Accelerate and former National Auto Auction Association (NAAA) president. She began by noting that, although everyone knows how chaotic 2020 went, the current situation is really good for remarketers. “Conversion rates are high. The inventory may be a little short, but we’re selling everything that’s coming through the door.”

NAAA president-elect Charles Nichols of BSC America, followed Laura and stressed “how nice it is to be able to run cars again.” And noted “everybody has been so resilient through all of this. I’ve not seen a group be more cohesive. It’s a real statement to the industry, our organization, and our people.”




What are the best practices for enterprise tech leaders who are aiming to effectively manage their growing remote workforce and better serve their consumer base?

By Rahul Tiwari, Managing Director, goDeskless

How the world has transformed in a year. Over the past 12 months, we have all become accustomed to doing everything remotely.

After such a turbulent transition, the question arises: Are companies ready to properly accommodate the needs of their digital workforce?

Pre-COVID, digital transformation was already a priority for many companies. However, almost every strategy largely ignored the needs of the deskless workforce. 80% of the global workforce does not operate from behind a desk – that’s 2.7 billion sales reps, customer service advisors, field workers, technicians, and more. These employees have had to perform their tasks using tethered, office-based tools that often hindered their
efficiency and productivity.



Making Roads Safer

By Ed Pierce, Contributing Editor

Together for Safer Roads (TSR) is a global NGO (nonprofit) founded in 2014 that works with government, businesses, and community stakeholders on local projects, fleet safety management, and technology initiatives to prevent traffic crashes, injuries, and deaths.

Says David Braunstein, TSR president, “Road safety is not just limited to car crashes and aggressive driving. It also includes near-misses, motorcycle, bicyclist, and pedestrian collisions. These incidents cost life and limb and billions of dollars in medical care, property damage, and lawsuits each year.

“In the United States alone, traffic crashes are a leading cause of death in people aged 54 and below. To put it into perspective, that is 40,000 deaths annually and 4.4 million injuries requiring medical attention. TSR and our members believe this can all be prevented.


Fleet Trends & Issues

Meet Ford’s New Pursuit-Rated F-150 Pickup for Police

Image: Ford


The next time you get pulled over, it may be by an officer in a Ford pickup truck instead of a traditional “cop car.”

Ford Motor unveiled its new 2021 F-150 Police Responder on Tuesday ahead of spring state and local government bid cycles. Commercial vehicles, such as police vehicles, are a focus of the company under Ford CEO Jim Farley, who took over the helm from Jim Hackett in October.

The police pickup is based on the consumer version of the truck but includes special options and tuning to “meet rigorous law enforcement use” at speeds of up to 120 mph. The vehicle also features a new “police engine idle,” which allows officers to remove keys from the ignition and securely exit the truck with the engine running with the touch of a button.

Read the article at CNBC.

EV Startup Rivian Announces a Tesla-Style U.S. Charging Network

Car and Driver

Electric-vehicle startup Rivian announced this week that it is rolling out a North American “Adventure Network.” The charging network will be for the exclusive use of owners of its upcoming R1S and R1T EVs. In structure and in planned scope, it looks similar to Tesla’s Supercharger network.

Rivian promises 600 charging stations by the end of 2023 that will contain a total of more than 3500 individual 200-kW DC fast chargers—compared with the Superchargers’ current maximum of 250 kW. Rivian says users can add 140 miles of range to their Rivian EVs in 20 minutes, while Tesla’s Superchargers are claimed to give back up to 200 miles in 15 minutes.

The chargers are plug-and-charge automatic units, will be powered by wind and solar when possible, and can be located on road trips using the vehicle’s navigation system.

Read the article at Car and Driver.

UPS Vans to Get the Electric Treatment


UK-based startup Arrival, which has signed a contract with UPS for 10,000 delivery vans, plans to open a second microfactory in the US, not too far from its first one in York County, South Carolina, that will produce electric buses.

Last year the startup company shared images of its toaster-shaped electric van, which will be based on a “skateboard” platform of Arrival’s own design and will have a range of about 150 miles on a full charge. The vans will be aimed at last-mile delivery rather than interstate travel between UPS hubs, and will feature composite bodies.

Almost a year ago Arrival received a €100 million investment from Hyundai and Kia, which includes an agreement to develop commercial vehicles together with Arrival. The announcement of a second US microfactory coincides with the startup’s plans to go public – as well as the new administration’s indication it will champion the zero-emission vehicle.

Read the article at Autoweek.

Ford to Eliminate Individual Desks for Many Workers After Pandemic Subsides

USA Today

Everything will look different when white-collar employees officially return to Ford Motor Co. offices after months of spending weekdays at home.

Many individual desks will be replaced with common spaces. And how work is done will change dramatically because thousands of workers are expected to remain remote, with supervisor approval. Workers will return to Ford properties only as assignments require.

In the months after the initial COVID-19 shutdown in 2020, employees packed up their workplace belongings last summer and took things home. There will be no need to bring anything back.

Read the article at USA Today.

Trouble for Lordstown Motors

The Detroit Bureau

Lordstown Motors officials went on the offensive Wednesday afternoon, aiming to dispel mounting doubts about the EV startup’s future in light of a damning research report questioning whether it has received any real orders – while suggesting its founder and CEO is a “con man.”

Lordstown officials claim they’ve received more than 100,000 non-binding production reservations from commercial fleet users. But that’s been thrown in doubt as a result of a report published last week by short-seller Hindenburg Research.

“They’re absolutely facing the fight of their life, no doubt about it,” said Sam Abuelsamid, principal automotive analyst with Guidehouse Insights. “I’ve always been dubious about the number of orders they claim considering they’ve never built a product before. They’re going to have to provide real evidence of what they actually have … and they need to demonstrate an actual product.”

Read the article at The Detroit Bureau.


Crisis and Innovation

McKinsey & Company

Research suggests organizations that innovate through crises by focusing on generating new growth versus simply weathering the storm outperform significantly over time. But leading your organization to a successful COVID-19 exit requires making fundamental shifts in mindsets – starting at the top.

To put the organization on a new growth trajectory requires three actions:
Reallocating toward the future – place bets, backed by sufficient funds and people, on emerging profit pools while reassessing legacy decisions.
Embedding flexibility – reorganize around new, crisis-inspired ways of working.
Hacking processes – focus on outcomes rather than activities to increase speed.

Driving change of this magnitude has to be deliberate. To spearhead transformation-related initiatives and impose accountability that ensures the changes stick, organizations should create “reimagination teams” staffed with top emerging talent. Ultimately, however, it is the business leaders’ responsibility to set the course, speed, and tone of the pivot that will deliver innovation-led growth.

Read the article at McKinsey & Company.



Fleet Management Weekly Staff

Although subrogation ensures fair compensation after an accident, too many fleets leave money on the table due to inexperience and the inordinate amount of time it takes to pursue owed compensation.

Yes, the collection process is complex. It is time-consuming and obstacle ridden. The amount of time it takes to investigate a claim fully, gather the proper recovery documentation, and negotiate a settlement places a heavy burden on already-busy fleet departments.

The onerous work and length of negotiations for subrogation has given rise to subrogation specialists, and more fleet operations now rely on dedicated and skilled subrogation experts who know how to collect every dollar that is rightfully owed to the fleet.


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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