The March edition of The Municipal is one in which we pay special attention to issues of fleet service and management. But in late January, as I tapped out a few relevant thoughts, states on and near the eastern seaboard had a more pressing matter at hand.
Th e images I saw that first night of snow chains on fire engine tires would have been edifying, had the method worked. Unfortunately, the rig — I think it was in Tennessee — was still no match for Winter Storm Jonas.
But who’s the first out the door the minute blizzard status is downgraded? The plow trucks, dump trucks and backhoes — the big rigs, of course! These are the heavy-duty rigs we don’t use every day, but without which life doesn’t have a chance of returning to normal in a reasonable time frame, especially after a wallop like that nor’easter. Saturday was the storm: Sunday was big truck day.
In other truck news, after shuttering its medium-duty truck line seven years ago, last October GM worked out a deal with Navistar to develop and build them again. The Class 4/5 trucks, larger versions of a chassis cab pickup w/hood in front, will go into production in 2018.
Navistar already builds medium-duty trucks like municipal dump trucks, so this development will off er buyers more choices and make more Class 4/5 trucks available more quickly for cities that are in the market. News releases said the vehicles would be developed using Navistar’s rolling chassis configurations and would include GM commercial components and engines.
If you’d like to hear more vehicle and fleet technology news that could determine how you do business for the rest of 2016, don’t miss the NAFA 2016 Fleet Management Institute & Expo coming to Austin in April. Registration is still open, and Th e Municipal would love to see you there.
In addition to the always-relevant exposition, the opportunity to learn and network makes the trip the most valuable one fleet managers will attend this year. Those topics include:
• Alternative fuels and choosing the right fuel technology
Does senior management want to demonstrate sustainable leadership? Then you’re probably analyzing alternative fuels options. Identify the alternative fuels and how they’re benefitting fleets, as well as what fuel technology is right for your fleet.
• Driver monitoring: myths vs. reality
This overused term varies widely not only in its definition, but also in its interpretation. Learn what driver monitoring is and isn’t, how to make driver-monitoring data actionable so your drivers and communities are safer and what elements and tools make up a comprehensive driver monitoring program.
• How to improve equipment utilization with smart sharing practices
Local government fleets have a long history of collaboration, mostly done between neighboring communities and at a very small scale. But companies such as Lyft, Uber and Airbnb are changing the conversation of access versus ownership. Learn how new Web-based tools in the government sector can improve equipment utilization and how regional working groups can now work more effectively by searching online for equipment that is close to them.
Fleet management is the function of minimizing or removing risks associated with vehicle investment, while improving the efficiency of service delivery, maximizing productivity, and ensuring 100 percent compliance with ‘duty of care’ regulations for optimal efficiency and economy. Because so much taxpayer money goes in and out of the fleet budget, those decisions must be made wisely. I hope we’ve given you the information you need to do just that in 2016.