Being visible can be a positive thing

Published in the November 2017 issue of Fleet Affiliation

Unfortunately, fleets may get their share of the limelight when there is a catastrophic problem. This visibility is not what fleet managers want to see or to be remembered for. One negative incident can negate years of successful actions and initiatives. Frequently, this may trigger upper management’s involvement in a community where they have little knowledge, creating consequences that can become unrepairable — no one wants negative visibility and bad publicity.

Conversely, positive visibility is welcomed. Take a moment and evaluate the entire fleet operation. Fleet operations contain many unique aspects going beyond what an end user may be aware of. Oftentimes, an operation is doing things deserving of credit, but they go unnoticed. Bringing small, yet important, details to the forefront give operations a large amount of creditability. One example is to make preventative maintenance tasks visible. The end user may assume preventative maintenance includes an oil change and a tire rotation. In reality, the technician drained oil, sent an oil sample out for analysis, performed a multi-point safety inspection, adjusted parts such as brakes, recorded wearable items and projected when they would require replacement and finally took the vehicle for a road test.

It would be amiss to not discuss sustainable fleet operations. Upper management typically understands large scale sustainable practices such as alternative fuel, electrification and idle mitigation. These are positive practices that receive a lot of attention. However, fleet operations may have other overlooked sustainability benefits. Some examples are re-refined oils and lubricants, low or no volatile organic compounds cleaning supplies and degreasers and water-based paints. Additionally, operations can take part in sustainable actions such as recycling, using energy efficient lighting and responsible disposal of hazardous materials.

Becoming visible
As discussed, positive operations elements can bring positive results. How can good decision making and efforts become visible? The fleet community has several opportunities to put the organization into a positive light — awards and contests can be effective. These often provide third-party validation to practices and procedures your operation is already doing. They also provide a source of pride and recognition for individuals and departments that operate behind the scenes in a large organization. In addition, they highlight fleets that have proven excellence. This gives opportunities to benchmark operations and introduce successful changes.

Staying connected within the fleet community
Unlike many industry segments, fleets maintain extensive collaborative conversations across many types of industries. Industries within fleet do not view themselves as competitors and can often cooperatively exchange ideas. This makes possible an extremely successful fleet forum, offering a vast amount of take-away concepts. Staying connected and communicating with peers — sharing successes as well as failures — is valuable. Tom Johnson and the 100 Best Fleets will be hosting a roundtable discussion for fleets on Friday morning, March 9. This opportunity is held in conjunction with The Work Truck Show® 2018 (, allowing fleet professionals to share common challenges and hear solutions from direct peers. For more information about this event and the 100 Best Fleets organization visit

The Work Truck Show 2018
The Work Truck Show is your once-a-year chance to see all of the newest industry products, choose from dozens of industry-focused training courses, and gain access to technical engineering representatives from hundreds of exhibiting companies. Attendees can interact with thousands of industry professionals; set up meetings with current suppliers or customers; find solutions to resolve technical issues; and talk shop with industry peers at special events and receptions.