Management Archive

Will Hydrogen Electrify the Future of Heavy-Duty Trucks?

| Sean M. Lyden |
An industry executive says that hydrogen fuel-cell trucks – and the fueling infrastructure to support them – will become more practical and affordable in the not-so-distant future. Most discussions around fleet electrification today focus on battery-electric vehicles. And for good reason. More EV models are becoming available, costs are getting closer in line with conventional […]

Leadership Strategies: 6 Persuasion Principles to Win People Over

| Sean M. Lyden |
Dr. Robert Cialdini’s seminal work, “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion,” first published in 1984, is a must-read for anyone in leadership – including fleet professionals – because your career success hinges on your ability to influence, persuade and win people over to your proposals and point of view. Here’s an overview of Cialdini’s six persuasion […]

Winterizing Your Crews

| Grace Suizo |
There’s no need to wait until winter to start getting your fleet ready for the season, according to Ben Langley, director of training and development innovation for Driving Dynamics (, a provider of fleet driver safety training and risk services. In a recent interview with UFP, Langley encouraged fleets to immediately develop a winter driving […]

How to Retain Technicians in a Tight Labor Market

| David Cullen |
Exactly when we can state with certainty that America has emerged from the coronavirus pandemic is yet unknown. But much of the country is opening again, albeit cautiously. Businesses are taking stock of what they must do to get back up to speed. In some cases, that means looking to hire new workers to replace […]

Will Your Fleet Need to Rightsize in a Post-Pandemic World?

| Sandy Smith |
When the pandemic hit the U.S. in early 2020, the impact on utility fleets was swift. Even though utility work continued as an essential service, fleets had to adapt. Social distancing meant crews could no longer pile into one vehicle safely. Many light-duty vehicles were parked as some employees switched to home bases. Nebraska Public […]

Fleet 2030: The Top Trends Utility Fleets Should Watch This Decade

| Grace Suizo |
What do utility fleet managers need to keep an eye on over the next decade? What emerging trends will have the greatest impact on fleet operations? And what do fleet professionals need to have on their radar so they don’t fall behind the curve or get blindsided? UFP recently spoke with George Survant, a former […]

Leadership Strategies: Negotiating as if Your Career Depends on It

| Sean M. Lyden |
What’s a common trait among highly effective fleet professionals? They’re skilled negotiators. They get the best terms when purchasing vehicles, equipment and service. They persuade senior management to protect – and increase – their annual fleet budgets. And they gain top priority from OEMs to quickly address and solve critical equipment issues. So, as you […]

Do Tire Chains Make Sense for Your Utility Fleet Vehicles?

| Sandy Smith |
It wasn’t so long ago that, when the calendar began its march toward winter, fleets dug out tire chains and issued them to each vehicle. When inclement weather eventually arrived, it was up to the operator to install the chains. In recent years, however, things have changed, both in terms of options for traction devices […]

Smart Hiring Tips for Fleet Professionals

| Sean M. Lyden |
You’re looking to hire a mechanic, shop supervisor or data analyst. You’ve sorted through the applications and resumes, creating a shortlist of candidates who look great on paper. Now, it’s time for the interviews to assess who would be the best choice for the job. But when candidates operate as their own public relations agent, […]

How is the Coronavirus Pandemic Affecting Fleet Rightsizing?

| Max Chesnes |
Among the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic is the impact it is having on utility fleet rightsizing efforts across the U.S. Traditionally, rightsizing is about understanding the values and measurements of the appropriate level of fleet utilization, according to Charles Guthro, vice president of global strategic services for ARI ( The fleet management services company […]

Does Your Fleet Need a Data Analyst?

When Nebraska Public Power District added telematics capabilities to 200 of its work trucks, a few surprises lurked in the early reports. The data showed the work trucks spent much more time idling than anecdotal evidence from drivers and fleet managers had suggested, according to Matt Gilliland, director of operations for the largest public utility […]

Leadership Strategies: Creating the Connections that Produce High-Performing Teams

| Sean M. Lyden |
If you’re like many utility fleet leaders right now, you’re bracing for a significant brain drain in your organization as experienced technicians and other key people in the fleet department get ready to retire in the next few years, with fewer younger workers in the pipeline to take their place. So, how can you get […]

Improving Ergonomics through Better Truck Specs

| Fiona Soltes |
Small adjustments can sometimes make a big impact. For those who work with utility trucks, details like properly placed steps, strategically placed handles, appropriately grippy surfaces and convenient storage can mean the difference between safety and injury. A careful eye toward work truck specs, then, can aid in ergonomics – and result in a happier, […]

Recruiting for Fleet in a Tight Labor Market

| Sean M. Lyden |
Ask utility fleet professionals about their biggest challenge, and many will say that it’s recruiting – and keeping – good, young mechanics. That’s because you have to compete with OEMs, local truck centers and other types of fleets for access to a shrinking pool of highly skilled mechanics. So, how do you gain an edge […]

Is Now the Time to Rightsize Your Fleet?

| Grace Suizo |
The task of cutting fleet costs while remaining productive and providing quality service to customers can be challenging. Over time, rightsizing has become a go-to strategy to accomplish just such a task. To gain greater insight on the topic, UFP recently spoke with three fleet professionals about their take on rightsizing and the strategies that […]

The Fleet Manager of the Future

| Fiona Soltes |
Being a utility fleet manager today can be tough. How much tougher will it be tomorrow? With the constant advancement of technology, the increasing need for communications savvy and leadership acumen, ever-decreasing budgets, and an aging workforce being replaced by a younger cohort lacking institutional knowledge and experience, it’s a nail-biter of a time. So, […]

To Lease or Not to Lease

| Sean M. Lyden |
The conventional wisdom for most utility companies is to purchase their fleet assets outright. And there are some advantages to that approach: potentially lower vehicle acquisition costs, no debt added to the balance sheet, and greater control over resale timing and pricing. But as utilities see their profit margins getting squeezed, their fleet departments are […]

Utility Fleet Ergonomics: A Continuing Challenge

| Sandy Smith |
Workplace ergonomics have been on employers’ radar for 20 years, but even now, ergonomic-related injuries remain a costly expense – one that’s growing due to an aging workforce, current worker shortages and inexperienced industry newcomers. “As the age composition of the workforce changes, that does affect industry,” said Eric Bauman, principal technical leader and program […]

The Search is On for Quality Technicians

| Fiona Soltes |
Dale Collins, CAFM, fleet services supervisor for Fairfax Water in Virginia, faces an increasingly disturbing and familiar scenario in the next handful of years: Five of the eight people working in his two repair facilities will retire. The good news is that his organization is “pretty attuned” to the so-called Silver Tsunami of aging baby […]

Collaboration is Key When Rightsizing Your Fleet

| Fiona Soltes |
For organizations contemplating a fleet rightsizing effort that won’t anger end users, here’s some advice: use solid data, convey information clearly and seek understanding. “At the end of the day, it’s ultimately about communication,” said Charlie Guthro, vice president of global strategic services for fleet management company ARI ( Prior to a rightsizing initiative, operators […]
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