Automotive Fleet

SEP 2013

Magazine for the car and truck fleet and leasing industry

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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR How Can 'Newbie' Fleet Managers Make a Difference? would like to make some follow-up comments to Ed Bobit's editorial on "newbie" feet managers. For all you newbies, welcome to the rebirth of feet managers. What I mean is, I can't think of a better time to be a feet professional. No other time has a feet manager been able to make so much of an impact on their organization. Here are a few key points why: • Revenue Generating Unit (RGU): Companies now look to you to save/make money in a challenged economy. • Green: Most companies' feets are their biggest carbon footprint. • Safety: One of the most dangerous things our operators do is drive a vehicle. • Technology: How does the vehicle, telematics, and alternative fuels affect your business? I The Impact of Larger Diameter Tires on Fleets In reply to the Market Trends editorial, entitled "The Impact of Larger Diameter Tires on Fleets," I've tried to avoid anything larger than 16-inch rims on my feet's light vehicles because of the higher replacement cost. The diffculties you cite about the rapidly-growing number of tire sizes impact on tire availability hadn't got on my radar yet. It's not so bad for a scheduled replacement, but what happens when a tire is ruined and you need to get your truck back on the road today? For a feet our size to inventory all the tire sizes has been diffcult in the past, and we've relied on a tire contractor for most of our replacements. The situation you describe would indicate that a lot of local tire dealers will be more reliant on their wholesale distributors for day-to-day sales. I've wondered, in recent years, about the economics of the larger tires. An 18-inch tire has a signifcantly longer wear surface (circumference) than a 16or 15-inch tire. Therefore, I'd expect it to wear for signifcantly more miles before it needs replacement than the smaller tire. The proof is in tire cost per mile. You've quantifed that at a 10-percent increase, ("According to an annual maintenance survey conducted by GE Capital Fleet Services, the average replacement tire cost per month rose 15 percent, and, on 6 AUTOMOTIVE FLEET I SEPTEMBER 2013 • Logistics: Being that manufacturers don't retain as much inventory, it's critical to provide product right when it is needed. Of course, these are just some quick bullets, but I think our biggest obstacle you should be aware of is the lack of collaboration between all of the feet management associations. Anthony Foster Fleet Manager Corporate Procurement Pioneer Natural Resources USA, Inc. Irving, Texas a cost-per-mile basis, rose 10 percent in 2012 compared to 2011.") That's the critical element for me. The higher circumference isn't going to buy me even a break even, much less an advantage, in my tire costs. As you state, the increase in cost isn't all due to larger tire sizes, but it's a factor. Don Thomson, CAFM Retired Fleet Manager City of Salem, Ore. Rather than get upset and allow emotion to build two silos, I'm going to attempt to strategically turn it around by integrating feet EVs located next to public vehicles at EVSE locations. That way, any media pictures will (should) always contain a City feet vehicle with its overblown graphic wrap advertising "zero emission City vehicle." As Bugs Bunny would say: "We'll show 'dem wascally hatches!" Stephen Kibler, ACFM Fleet Manager City of Loveland, Colo. Contending with Silo Departments In a recent editorial, entitled "Why is the Fleet Manager the Last to Know," you cited one cause as the "silo mentality" found in many organizations. I was recently "trumped" by one of those "silo" departments. I wrote a Colorado Energy Offce grant application to add more electric vehicles (EVs) and EVSE chargers. Since the grant had local media interest, our utility department (whom I was collaborating with) decided my cover letter didn't focus enough on promoting and expanding private EVs enough. The utility group (without giving me any pre-warning) rewrote the whole application and partnered with another municipal utility. Fleets initial needs were still included, but at lower priority. Fleet also had the 20-percent match funding already budgeted. The good news, we were awarded the grant and feet's portion was still included. The bad news, feet will be providing the match funding. ERRATA: 2013 AF Fact Book The Fleet Account Manager – Midwest for Volkswagen of America is Mike Peterson. He can be reached at Mike. AmeriFleet Transportation Omitted from 2013 AF Fact Book AmeriFleet Transportation 1360 Union Hill Rd., Bldg. 2 Alpharetta, GA 30004 (800) 728-9235 Fax: (800) 309-0464 Steve Gibson, SVP E-mail:

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