Maybe it’s this way for you, or maybe not? The truth is, the days of “trust me, I’m the fleet manager,” have come and gone. Indeed, we cannot point at one event or a particular technology to say this is the reason for the change. Rather, it has been a combination technology, the availability of data, reporting, and predictive models that have really changed the industry.
I once heard a simple phrase from a friend that has had a significant impact on the way I try to do make decisions – Knowing vs Thinking. “I want you to know, not think,” my friend James told me as he recounted the lesson he learned from a mentor earlier in his career, a boss who also was his mentor. Just think about the impact of what you are delivering, consider these statements:
“Well, I think that changing our Preventative Maintenance program will have a positive impact on our budget.”
“After careful review, I am certain that changing our Preventative Maintenance program will save the organization an average of $5,000 per quarter.”
There is quite a difference when you can defend what you are saying with data and numbers instead of relying on what might otherwise be considered a gut feeling. Of course, providing these examples is also a matter of putting words together and presenting them to you – the reader, but nevertheless we face “knowing vs thinking” situations on most days.
At the heart of our mission at Longobart-Ross is providing you the tools to do just that – know vs think. There is plenty of data out there, what you present and how you present it makes all the difference. Fleet Managers are often expected to not only be an expert in Fleet, but also in fields such as budgeting, policy writing, and Human Resources matters. The reality is that while there may be a few individuals out there that can claim to be all, most are not. Let Longobart-Ross help you in areas where you may need help.
It is far too often that Fleet professionals gauge their experience by the number of years they have been in the fleet industry. I would argue that experience is relative to how hungry you are. What do I mean? It’s pretty simple so let me explain.
Let’s create a make believe situation for the example, our two subjects will be Jane and John, both of which started as Fleet Managers on the same day in very similar fleets, and for the heck of it, let’s say they started 3 years, 11 months, and 17 days ago. Jane is extremely interested in progress, change, technology….not doing things the way they’ve always been done. John on the other hand is not interested in creating waves, he wants to come into work, keep everything quiet, collect a pay check, and go home. Jane, recognizing that she is pretty sharp and also values her hard working staff, realizes that attending industry trade shows is a must….and a fantastic way to grow your network. John, well, John doesn’t attend….he feels that he has a pretty good handle on stuff and he needs no improvement.
I can guarantee that Jane’s resume after nearly four years would involve a bunch of words like “developed, spearheaded, created, launched…” versus John’s that would read more like “maintained, maintained, maintained…” Being actively engaged at work and in your industry is the right combination to exponentially grow as a fleet professional, despite the length of your career.
This year’s Government Fleet Expo (GFX) was no different. The comradery of fleet professionals continues to strengthen and the willingness to share only improves as social media and technology improves. Longobart-Ross encourages you to attend fleet events, no matter if they are local, regional, or national. There is one thing you can certainly bet on, you may or may not be doing what your counterparts are doing, but what’s for sure, there is always room to do what you are doing just a bit better.
Just recently, I attended a ceremony honoring employees that had been with the City of Norfolk for 5, 10, 20, 30, and 40+ years. On each table, programs were neatly placed in front of every chair, and on the back page there was a fun little bit of information. While I must admit, I was not around to see most of it and too young to care about some of the other part, I can now read it and appreciate it.
The most obvious thing was the increasing prices as the years progressed with the exception of some commodities in 1996 and 2006. We all have our own opinions to justify the fluctuations, but surely we can all agree on one thing, the only thing that remained constant is change. Who would have thought that cell phones once resembling bricks in the early 90’s and would morph into cool little flip phones by 1996. Most of us can recall having to press the keyboard hundreds of times as you cycled through to find the right letter to type a short text. I bet you in 1986, Topper flying through the skies in “Top Gun” would have thought to himself “negative ghost rider” if he was told about this flip phone technology.
So why is all of this change important? Several reasons. In a book I read not that long ago, “Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done,” the author tells a story of an employee that was disappointed with his yearly evaluation. This employee raised the point that he didn’t understand why he had received an average review if he had done the same thing this year, as he had last year, when he received a great review. The supervisor responded “…if you’re staying the same, you are falling behind.”
We could get into super fascinating numbers and percentages of just how much technology and data has changed, grown, and where it’s projected to be in just a few years but I’m sure that it would be way to much information. Having said that, being a data driven organization in 2016 and moving forward is paramount, the only problem is how to make the most sense out of data and changing information. Longobart-Ross can help you make sense of all this information, but most importantly help you focus in on the key KPI’s to help you perform at optimum efficiency. Learn more about our new and proprietary program that helps analyze your fleet by clicking here.
In 1909, the first brick was laid at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. I’m sure that the crews tasked with paving the entire 2.5 mile track may have guessed at the amount of bricks they were going lay; care to take a stab at the number? 3.2 million bricks from start to finish. A daunting task, but the point is, they started one by one, brick by brick, 63 days of knuckle busting work.
Every successful event, structure, task,….fleet, starts somewhere. Every organization, no matter how good or efficient they are can get better, just ask Toyota. Toyota built one of the most reliable brands in the world around a concept which they call “The Toyota Way.” The Toyota Way places emphasis on continuous improvement in all aspects of their organization from top down.
At Longobart-Ross, we are passionate about helping your fleet make a positive impact in your community. Our services cater to organizations of all shapes and sizes regardless of their current level of performance.