Spring tune up – cleaning up your replacement options

Published in the March 2018 issue of Fleet Affiliation

With the spring season beginning, it generally means the start of the ordering season. Paired with the conclusion of The Work Truck Show® 2018, many manufacturers announced new trucks and vocational equipment that will be hitting the market soon. This is a good time to check up on your operations. As a fleet manager gets more experienced with his or her operations, ordering becomes a comfortable task, almost second nature. Standardized equipment and streamlined maintenance procedures provide your company an advantage with regard to efficiency and organization. 

When vehicles have reached the end of their life cycle, often they are replaced with the updated vehicle. Specs are compared and like units are often ordered. This is not necessarily a bad practice; however, there may be missed opportunities for your replacement vehicles. Fleet managers often re-use last year’s spec and may be missing new technologies. For example, eight chassis OEMs introduced new vehicles or major updates to their current offerings at Work Truck Show 2018. To take advantage of going beyond last year’s spec or the current replacement model, it is important to understand how the current vehicles are being utilized.

Begin with understanding operations
As this column has discussed previously, it is important to have clear lines of communications with all stakeholders. When this fails to happen, equipment procured for an intended use gets used in ways it was not designed for, creating inefficiencies for users and increased maintenance costs. When it comes time to replace specialized trucks and equipment it is important to have a good understanding about how the units were used and will be used. This presents an opportunity to look closely at your drive and duty cycle.

Change — it can be an opportunity
Although standardizing is important and keeping similar equipment year after year can be efficient for operators, it is crucial to realize that sometimes change is necessary. A fleet manager who understands operations completely and has stayed educated on new product offerings will be able to make better decisions when facing change. Another step is to train those who use the equipment.  They may not have the same exposure level to new product offerings or alternative technologies as compared with fleet managers. Education and communication will aid in operations and when making informed decisions.

If you would like to discuss this, or any other fleet issue with NTEA, contact Chris Lyon, NTEA Director of Fleet Relations, at  info@ntea.com