Fleet managers: do you know how to turn a wrench? Does it matter?
When the new pickups came in, Tom Collom found they were being drop-shipped to dealers that were 60 to 80 miles away from the office and his drivers. The agreement with a new dealer group saved the company $100 on PDI (pre-delivery inspection) fees for each truck, he was told by senior management.
Collom, a shop supervisor in West Texas for a major oil and gas producer, pointed out that the company was losing double that by having to pay drivers for an extra half day of travel just to get the trucks. The senior manager’s response? “His exact words to me were, ‘I’m showing on paper that I’m saving money,’” Collom says.
In recent years, Collom has seen a shift in the positions at his company that oversee fleet. And the way he sees it, this new blood hasn’t driven a net savings of time or money for the vehicles he manages.
“We’ve got a bunch people now that are trying to run (fleet) like bank managers and accountants,” he says. “What takes years to get the efficiency and productivity incorporated into your shop and your fleet can be totally destroyed by people who haven’t actually worked on vehicles.”
Collom used to have a good working relationship with management when it came to fleet, he says. They may not have been mechanics, but they knew enough about what was happening on the ground and under the hood to talk the same language. That’s not so true anymore.
Marc Canton, a consultant for Mercury Associates, agrees. He’s seen instances in which fleet managers with no automotive background were taken to the cleaners by repair service providers and even their own techs.
Canton recalls an instance in which a single repair was paid for three times with different invoice numbers and slightly different terminology. Other times a fleet manager didn’t have the wherewithal to sniff out an unneeded upsell or challenge a repair cost or delay. (One was told that the parts for an airbrake on an F-150 take a long time to come in.)
Read the rest of this article by Fleet Forward here.