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Editor’s Perspective Archive



Electrification: Ambitious Goals, Practical Realities

I spent a few days in June at the Electric Utility Fleet Managers Conference in Williamsburg, Virginia. Ann Brown-Hailey, Seth Skydel, the EUFMC board and the entire EUFMC staff put on an amazing event. It felt great to see everyone in person for the first time in three years. The theme that pervaded the conference: […]

Electrifying Heavy-Duty Trucks with Hydrogen

Any fleet pursuing a goal of 100% electrification will need to plan to include hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles in their mix, specifically for their Class 8 truck segment. That was the overarching theme of a Green Truck Summit panel session – “How Hydrogen and Fuel Cells Will Affect Work Trucks” – that I attended in March […]

Navigating Post-Pandemic Challenges

As we head into spring, the fleet industry is starting to get back to some sort of normalcy after what has felt like a two-year winter. After skipping last year, the NTEA Work Truck Show is back in Indianapolis in March. And EUFMC returns to Williamsburg, Virginia, in June after a two-year hiatus. But some […]

Win Them Over

As a fleet manager, your role is about more than managing assets; you also must manage and work with people to get things done. Think about it. No matter how bulletproof you believe your proposal might be for, say, why the fleet department should receive a larger budget this year, you can expect some pushback […]

Making the Best of the Way Things Turn Out

| Sean M. Lyden |
The delta variant. Automotive plant shutdowns. Order-to-delivery delays. So much is in flux right now. And that’s when uncertainty and anxiety often begin to deplete our energy and cloud our judgment. But in times like these, I’m reminded of a powerful quote by the legendary basketball coach John Wooden, who said, “Things turn out best […]

The State of Fuel Prices

As of press time, the national average price of gasoline is $3.13 a gallon, up 44% from $2.18 a year ago, according to AAA, when the pandemic lockdowns were in full force, stifling fuel consumption. And California, the most expensive market, is already at $4.31. So, what’s driving the surge in fuel prices? There are […]

Regain Your Focus

It’s easy to keep your focus when you have a rush of proverbial fires to put out. You know, like dealing with unexpected equipment breakdowns, handling complaints from business unit supervisors about delayed vehicle orders, or maintaining sufficient staffing levels in the shop during a pandemic as techs get sick or exposed and must stay […]

Developments to Watch in Self-Driving Trucks

Just three years ago, the media was all abuzz about how a brave new self-driving world was right around the corner. Today, the media and industry analysts have slow-rolled their predictions as technology companies and automakers still grapple with developing autonomous driving systems that are ready for prime time on a large scale. As it […]

Why California’s Ban on Gas and Diesel Vehicles Matters

In September, California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that his state will ban the sale of new light-duty gasoline and diesel vehicles, effective in 2035. And by 2045, new medium- and heavy-duty trucks sold in California must also be zero-emissions. So, what does this news mean for utility fleets? It means that the transportation industry is […]

Who Can You Trust?

| Sean M. Lyden |
Whatever task you’re performing as a fleet professional – whether it’s purchasing equipment, hiring new technicians or presenting your case for a budget increase – you have to work with a wide range of different types of people to accomplish your objectives. But how can you tell who you can trust? Try using a system […]

You Ask, We Answer: Your Research Team for Navigating These Uncharted Waters

One of the challenges of providing you with content that offers timely and interesting insights is that so much is changing so quickly in the world and in our industry. The coronavirus pandemic has pushed utility fleets to re-evaluate how they operate, spec vehicles and manage their shops. For example, in cases where vehicles are […]

Becoming a Steady, Highly Effective Leader in Uncertain Times

In his “Meditations” nearly 2,000 years ago, Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius gave us a powerful picture of what it looks like to be a leader during a crisis. He wrote, “To be like the rock that the waves keep crashing over. It stands unmoved and the raging of the sea falls still around it.” As […]

Building – and Maintaining – a Strong Professional Network

A common trait I’ve seen in interviewing numerous successful fleet professionals over the years is that they’ve all learned how to cultivate a strong network. Relationship-building is a critical skill for professional success because you never know when you’ll need to call on someone to help you get out of a jam, make an important […]

Never Split the Difference

Negotiation is a significant part of your job as a fleet professional. You have to negotiate new supplier contracts, the fleet budget with senior management and job offers with top talent. So, if you haven’t read “Never Split the Difference: Negotiating as if Your Life Depended on It” by former FBI hostage negotiator Chris Voss, […]

What are Your Stories? Share Them.

| Sean M. Lyden |
A couple of months ago, Dale Collins, the fleet services supervisor at Fairfax Water in Virginia, emailed me about four new crew trucks he had ordered. He and his team were proud of the final product – and of the nearly three-year process they went through to get the spec right. Collins thought there might […]

How to Get Buy-In on Your New Fleet Initiative

You’re planning to roll out a new telematics deployment or ask senior management for a bigger budget, expecting to encounter some resistance. How do you position your proposal to get buy-in from stakeholders? The ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle offered insight into this topic with his work “The Art of Rhetoric,” which was published about 2,400 […]

Electric Outlook for the Work Truck Industry

My biggest takeaway from this year’s NTEA Work Truck Show? The industry appears to be headed toward an electric future. But a lot of work still needs to be done for that future to become a mainstream reality anytime soon. Here’s what I mean: Electrification is building momentum because the cost of battery technology has […]

Your Job Title Says ‘Fleet,’ But You’re Actually in Sales

Whatever position we’re in, we’re all selling something – an idea, a point of view or a proposal – whether we want to call it “sales” or not. That goes for fleet professionals as well. In his book “To Sell is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others,” best-selling author Daniel H. Pink put it […]

Respect

In a pre-show call for a fleet industry podcast, the interviewer asked me to talk about UFP and our audience to get insight into the range of topics we might discuss during the episode. I shared what I’ve learned from speaking with many of you over the past four years. After I finished, the interviewer […]

Tesla’s Turmoil and the Future of Electrified Transportation

| Sean M. Lyden |
It has been a tumultuous 2018 for electric carmaker Tesla and its embattled CEO, Elon Musk. Earlier this year, a handful of crashes involving Tesla vehicles increased scrutiny of the safety of their semi-autonomous Autopilot systems. Then there have been the ongoing manufacturing challenges causing lengthy and expensive delays in building the Model 3 – […]
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