Managing the Financial Side of Commercial Fleets

Market Trends

Finding the Right Balance: Over-Spec’ing vs. Under-Spec’ing Trucks

Spec’ing a truck is a complicated process no matter where you are in the world. Building the right truck requires hundreds of decisions and choices – and each choice potentially impacts another. Where it gets tricky is finding the balance between over-spec’ing and under-spec’ing a truck, each with its own unique set of consequences. READ MORE

Encroachment Blurs Traditional Fleet Responsibilities at Multinational Fleets

Many interdepartmental and operational conflicts that intersect at fleet are typically driven by the challenge of balancing HR/driver requirements versus finance/procurement requirements, which are often at odds, with the gains in one area negatively impacting the other. And, the hard reality is not all department or operational managers are team players and, as a result, there are the inevitable interdepartmental (and personal) conflicts. READ MORE

Migration of U.S. Fleet Management to the European Fleet Model

I can envision internal and external political and economic pressures that could prompt the U.S. fleet market to migrate to a European fleet business model offering company-provided vehicles as a form of compensation. READ MORE

Photo: Nexus Communication

Common Misunderstanding about the European Fleet Market

Non-European fleet managers of multinationals often attempt to extrapolate their local fleet norms to other global fleet markets, with the most common misunderstanding occurring with the European fleet markets, which, cumulatively, is the world’s largest fleet market. Here are some examples of differences that can lead to misunderstandings: READ MORE

Truck Overloading is an Ongoing Safety, Risk Management & Operating Cost Problem

Not only is an overloaded truck in violation of numerous state and federal regulations, it is unsafe to operate. As statistics show, year-after-year, overloaded trucks are one of the leading causes of truck-related accidents. In addition to safety concerns, an overloaded truck is costly to maintain and operate. READ MORE

Industry Dialogue Needed to Ensure Regulations Don’t Impede Advances in Fleet Technology

A watershed moment occurred July 21, 2015, with the introduction of a first-of-its-kind bill, the Security and Privacy in Your Car Act. It directs NHTSA to conduct a rulemaking to issue vehicle cybersecurity regulations against unauthorized access to electronic controls or driving data. There are number of stakeholders in the “OBD ecosystem.” In addition to government regulators and auto OEMs, important OBD stakeholders include fleet managers, aftermarket suppliers, and industry associations. READ MORE

Graphic courtesy of NHTSA.

NHTSA’s New 5-Star Crash-Test Criteria Will Increase Safety and Acquisition Costs

On Dec. 8, 2015, the U.S. Department of Transportation proposed upgrading the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) 5-Star Safety Rating system for new vehicles by adding new standards for accident-avoidance technology, which will make it much tougher for OEMs to achieve a 5-Star Rating. Without a doubt these safety technologies are beneficial, but they cost money and will also exert upward pressure on new-vehicle acquisition costs. What are the full fleet implications? READ MORE

Do Your Drivers Know their Company Vehicle is not Equipped with a Spare Tire?

As a fleet manager, it is your responsibility to let drivers know their company vehicle is not equipped with a spare tire. The danger is many drivers do not know their vehicle doesn’t have a spare – until they need it. Drivers often say they were never told their new company vehicle didn’t come with a spare. Approximately 36 percent of model-year 2015 vehicles were not equipped with a spare tire. This compares to 5 percent in 2006. READ MORE

The Popularity of Euro-Style Vans to Put Upward Pressure on Euro-Metric Replacement Tire Costs

Sales of Euro-style vans exceeded total sales of traditional body-on-frame vans for the first time in 2015. This is an important milestone in the evolution of the fleet van market, but the rapid market share expansion of Euro-style vans will have a near-term impact on replacement tire availability, which, in turn, will exert upward pressure on pricing. READ MORE

Flat Fuel Prices Forecast to Extend Through 2016

Lower prices for gasoline and diesel have been a welcome relief for fleets, in some cases, reducing operating costs by 25-30 percent. While the past three years have been heaven-sent for the fleet industry overall, it has had a dramatic impact on fleets operated by energy companies, which are scrambling to cut costs to offset the decline in oil prices. The unfortunate fact of life is that one person’s fortune is sometimes another’s misfortune. READ MORE

Operating Costs Flat for Third Consecutive Year

Calendar-year 2015 marks the third consecutive year that fleet operating costs have remained stable compared to the past three years, primarily due to the continuing softness in gasoline and diesel prices. Replacement tires, the second highest operating cost, were stable due to the ongoing softness in commodity prices, primarily rubber and oil, while increased maintenance intervals contributed to lower maintenance costs for fleets. The forecast is more of the same for CY-2016. READ MORE

Managing Fleet with a Long-Term Perspective

If you implement fleet programs that contribute to the achievement of overall company-wide goals, you will get the attention (and praise) of senior management. You must view vehicle acquisition, replacement planning, funding alternatives, and sourcing alliances with manufacturers and suppliers as high-level strategic corporate decisions. Without long-term planning, it is impossible to have a well-managed fleet. READ MORE

Increased Demand and Rail Delays Create Upfitter Logjam in MY-2015

One challenge for both the 2015- and 2014-MY has been the increased volume of fleet vehicles going to upfitters, which has resulted in capacity constraints. With the increasing demand and growth of the commercial truck and van segments – particularly among utilities and service industries – the percentage of upfitted vehicles is growing. Upfitters are feeling the pressure of increased demand. READ MORE

High-Roof Vans Causing OTD Delays

Railroad backlogs impacted ship-thru units requiring upfitted equipment in the 2015-MY. Not only is there a rail-car shortage, but there were also logistical delays in loading and unloading rail cars due to the higher volume of high-roof vehicles. The limited number of rail cars that can accommodate the larger, high-roof vans created a backlog at assembly plants and caused delays in shipping to and from upfitters. READ MORE

New Category of Fleet Manager to Gain Legitimacy

For the past several decades, FMCs have employed in-house fleet managers in their fleet administration departments to manage client fleets, but were promoted from within the FMC. Now, we are starting to witness FMCs hiring traditional fleet managers. Does this make a trend? It is still too early to tell, but, what I can say is that it has caught our attention. My prediction is that this is indeed the start of a bona fide, long-term, industry trend that will accelerate in future years. READ MORE

Vehicle Abuse: An Overlooked Remarketing Cost

The resale value of a used vehicle is determined by three factors: the unit’s age, total mileage, and overall condition. A used company vehicle in poor condition, because of driver abuse or neglect, will result in lost resale value or incur unnecessary reconditioning expense at auction. Here's what you can do to minimize vehicle abuse. READ MORE

Fleet Incentives

Determine the actual cost of owning and running a vehicle in your fleet. Compare vehicles by class and model.

FleetFAQ

Fuel Management

Bernie Kanavagh from WEX will answer your questions and challenges

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Fleet Tracking And Telematics

Todd Ewing from Fleetmatics will answer your questions and challenges

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Fleet Management And Leasing

Jack Firriolo from Merchants will answer your questions and challenges

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Author Bio

Mike Antich

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Editor and Associate Publisher

Mike Antich has covered fleet management and remarketing for more than 20 years and was inducted in the Fleet Hall of Fame in 2010.

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