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Fleet managers often have to communicate the status of their fleet to stakeholders outside of the fleet world. In this episode, we talk with a fleet veteran about what matters to people in leadership and how a fleet manager can use data to better inform those around them.
The Fleet Code

Communicating Fleet to Key Stakeholders

Jun 27, 2022

Fleet managers often have to communicate the status of their fleet to stakeholders outside of the fleet world. In this episode, we talk with a fleet veteran about what matters to people in leadership and how a fleet manager can use data to better inform those around them.

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Welcome to the Fleet Code, a podcast brought to you by Fleetio where we dive into the latest fleet trends, technologies, and best practices. I'm Zach Searcy, and like most people who work in fleet – or fleet adjacent, in my case – I feel like I spend a lot of time explaining exactly what fleet means to anybody that doesn't live in that world. And quite frankly, I'm not nearly as good at it as our guest today.

Bob Polka currently serves as the director of fleet operations at Treeways, a nationwide group of vegetation management providers who specialize in services pertaining to critical infrastructure, such as line clearing and storm response. But Bob has also been on pretty much every side of fleet that exists, and he's learned over the years how to finesse the terms and turns of phrase that make up a fleet operation in a way that anyone can understand, especially anyone in the C-suite.


Bob, thanks for joining us today. You're actually a first for our podcast in that somebody on your team nominated you to be a guest and no pressure, but they said some really nice things. They said that you would be a quote, great interview. So I guess my first question, how do you feel about people complimenting you like that behind your back?


Well, I wasn't too happy about it when I found out about the nomination, because I like to keep a low profile, but I do appreciate the invitation and I'm excited to be here because. Like you say for many decades, which sounds really bad. Um, I've been in fleet, so I guess, uh, I'd like to, I'd like to refer to myself as seasoned, not old, but, uh, seasoned many years in fleet all the way from a, uh, uh, started as a mechanic and worked my way up, uh, every position in fleet except for a parts department.


Is that right? So, so tell me about when and where you started and how you –


Well, I started, it started back many, many, many, four moons ago, as you've already, already explained. So here I am.


That's awesome. Well, I know that, uh, here at Treeways, your fleet is pretty spread out. How many assets are you currently managing and what regions are you serving?


All right now we've got just, just a touch over a thousand assets. Uh, we're managing in multiple states. We're in Michigan. We're in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey. So those are the states that we're currently working in right now.


Today I really wanted to talk about communicating fleet to some of the stakeholders who are maybe not directly related to fleet or who are outside of fleet, but maybe involved in helping you make decisions. Um, and we actually, so I had a conversation with the fleet manager recently who referred to fleet as I believe the redheaded stepchild. So he was talking about how fleet is often viewed as a cost center. And it's easy for people to get distracted by the cost of maintaining a fleet, especially as we're talking. Increased vehicle prices and supply chain issues and all the costs that come associated with that. With that in mind, I'm sure accounting is probably pretty heavily involved in fleet decisions or budgeting, but in your experience, who are some of the key stakeholders for fleet management who might not necessarily be in fleet?


Well, typically my it's been my experience that, you know, you spent the fleet is. A big cost for any, any company that I've been in. And I've been in the utility business to tell a telecommunications business, the, the, uh, over the road, so to speak, you know, the class he'd fleets and, and the tree, the tree service or vegetation management business.

And no matter what business you're in, it's always the, um, you know, it gets a lot of attention because you spend a lot of money you spend on. Of ONM money, operations, maintenance money, and you spend a lot of, of capital money. Um, if you want to keep the fleet where it, where it needs to be. So some of the players that are outside of fleet are typically your CS, CFO, your CEO, your COO, uh, which is, you know, they're really in most cases an advocate because they want the new equipment.

They want it, the reliable equipment, you know, and things like that. Typically the CEO sits with you and there's an advocate, whereas the C CEO, CFO, I've got those deep, you know, those deep questions as far as do we need to spend and why are we spending it? What benefit is it going to be from spending it and all those, those questions that come to it.

But those are probably the biggest players that are outside of fleet per se. And those are the people that you really need to, to help understand. The, the concept of fleet replacements and things like that, that they need, you know, they need to understand because you know, a lot of people think that, Hey, w we'll just keep running it forever.

You know, we can, as long as we can get parts, we can run it from yeah. And I'm sure. So, uh, people within the C-suite, it probably varies based on where you're at, but where you're at right now, how involved are they in terms of making purchasing decisions or budgeting decisions or giving you all the, the lead, the leeway that you need to, to be able to better.

They're there they're very much involved because again, it's, it's a big spend. Um, it has big impact on the bottom line at the end of the day. So they're very involved in it. Um, plus they want it, you know, they want to make sure that they understand so that when, when they have to answer to their bosses, which everybody has bosses, um, you know, they, they make, they want to make sure that they understand exactly, you know, what we're doing, why we're doing it, why we need to do it. And things like that.


Yeah. Yeah. And that actually touches on something that I've heard, um, talking to several people within the industry. I mean, obviously the way that people within fleet and you with a maintenance and tech background, the way that tech people or technicians talk about fleet is different than the way that the C-suite might understand.

And so we've talked with fleet managers who have gotten frustrated in the past because they just, they felt like stakeholders didn't understand fleet and they wanted them to, to approve a purchasing decision, but there was something holding them back. But also I would say that it's part of a fleet manager's job to help them understand fleet.


Right. It is an, and I think over my career where I've found her, I've learned the hard way is that you try to touch on the key, the key. Um, points where the, the hot buttons, so to speak, like, um, you know, a CEO wants to understand what that rate of return is, or that return on the investment is right.

Whereas, uh, maybe a CEO wants to understand how is that going to. Improve my productivity. Right? So you talk about start of day impact. Then you talk about, you know, reliability and, and then you, you know, you always want to make sure that everybody is onboard with safety, and then they understand that there's, you know, there's some advantages to, to freshening the fleet from a safety perspective, but you always want to try to find what, in my experience, it seems that the C-suite as you referred to it, it always has, is this.

Hot buttons or sweet spots that they want. They want to make sure that you understand that that's very important to them. And again, some of those being, you know, started, they impact productivity, safety, you know, return on investment and things like that. So that's, that's what I've learned over the years.


What are some ways that you've learned those? Like, is it just through conversations with them and like trying to prod them to figure out what's important to them? Or is it just something that you have to observe based on the questions? I think when you, you know, the first couple of times you go in, especially when you're going into a corporation or a company that's really never had a, a, a truly defined replacement program and you start forecasting out of five years and you show them what the costs are and you show them what, you know, if you only spend this much, this is the wave, so to speak, that's pushing on you.


Um, I think it's been my experience that, you know, The first couple of times you get a total rejection of no way you're not spending anything. You'd definitely step back and say, okay, how do I regroup and come back at it again, because obviously that didn't work. Right. So it's kind of like asking mom and Dan, you know, when you were a kid, you know, can I have an extra cookie?

And you know, the first attempt when you got the straight out, no, then you got a little more creative and started to figure out, okay. You know, how do I, how do I push their buttons to get what I want? Right. You know, how do I make sure that I satisfy their concerns or their questions? Their wants and needs to try to get what I need.


Yeah. Yeah, no, I like that. I mean, if, for example, you said the CEO is going to be focused on ROI. So maybe what you can do is focus on how much your vehicles that keep breaking down are costing you. So you're like we have obviously already purchased this, but annually it's costing us this much in maintenance or this much in repairs or this much in downtime even.

And so being able to pull those numbers and then show that to them and say with a new vehicle, we can eliminate all of those. So yes, there's a cost, but here's what we're reducing.


Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I think the biggest thing I try to tell any, anybody that you know, is if they ask me is always be able to speak to your numbers. And, and a lot of people just focus on being able to speak to bad numbers, but be just as. As excited to talk about good numbers and how did you get those good numbers and focus more on that?

Understand all your numbers, understand why you got some bad numbers, but also make sure you understand why you got some good numbers too, and really try to emphasize those so that you can, you know, get to where you need to be as far as the fleet replacements.


Yeah. I love that because then also you get them excited about some of the things that are happening in fleet and reduces some of that friction from fleet being a cost center in.


Right. The redheaded stepchild. That's a good analogy. Or the, uh, I like to refer to us as the necessary evil, um, because yeah, you're right. There's a big focus on fleet. All sleep, doesn't spend money. That's all they do. That's all fleet does. But if you can change that mindset to say, Hey, everything we do in this company.

Needs fleet to do what they do to make sure everything happens, whether that's deliveries, whether that's vegetation management, whether this making sure that the bucket truck rolls so that they can go out and put the restore the power, right. Nothing really happens in any company that has vehicles without those vehicles running and doing what they need to do. So you try to emphasize that.


Yeah. Well, and especially in your field where it is. In a storm response situation and you have a vehicle that's being, uh, particularly moody that day. Like you can't have that. You've, you've gotta be able to mobilize your guys and get them out into the field so they can repair things.

And timing is obviously extremely critical there. Right?


Exactly. I mean, for us in particular, you know, we've got, you know, the line crews are waiting for us to come in to clear the trees so that they can put the lines back up in a storm situation. So, you know, it's, it's critical that our equipment is, you know, running to the best that it can – top performance.


Yeah, absolutely. So I feel like you told me earlier, you said that, uh, some of the things you've learned, you learned the hard way, I feel like there's a story there. Do you have any specific experiences of times where you were like, oh, well that's a learning moment.


Well, yeah, when you go in and you think you're all prepared and you go in to try to ask for a couple of million, whether that be one or 2 million or 10 million or 20 million. You know, you don't even get, you don't even get off the runway. So to speak, it's a little, it's a little disheartening at the first time.

Um, but you learn, you know, you, you understand again where you need to be and, and you gotta understand your audience. You know, what, what one, one particular CEO might be interested in, maybe not be with the next CEO is that you come across, you know, so you gotta, you gotta understand your audience. So. Yeah.


So, uh, you said that in one of your positions, I forget which one it was, but you started as a tech and then worked your way into a fleet management position at the same company.




What was your, your first meeting with the stakeholders? What was your first meeting with them like, and, and what, what kind of information did you take with you ready to share?


Well, the first, the first opportunity that I had, uh, when I was at to utility and I, I stepped into fleet management. Um, there wasn't, um, a lot of. And I learned this, I learned this after the meeting, there wasn't a lot of communication or for lack of a better term education from fleet to the, the, the decision makers so that they could understand, you know, there was just a, kind of a, Hey, we need money to replace vehicles there.

Wasn't a, uh, an in-depth story explained or, or. Just so that everybody understood why that was so important. And, you know, the things that it touched, the reliability, the productivity, the start of day, the safety and all those other things, you know, there's a lot to be said about, um, morale of the, of the, uh, the workforce, right?

If you, uh, if you never put in new equipment, it, uh, you know, it just doesn't, you know, it wears on the morale of the, of the, the, uh, The workers, as far as, you know, they never see any new equipment. So don't making sure that you, you know, you educate them. And that's probably my first encounter was understanding that, okay.

I thought they knew all that, but no, they didn't. So now I gotta, I gotta regroup. I gotta come back and maybe tell a little story for. So that everybody understands and then, and then he hit him with a, Hey mom, dad, I need it a couple hundred bucks. You know, here's why I need that cookie so badly right now.


Uh, no, I appreciate that because I think, um, I think that often does get lost. Is fleet managers go in and say, Hey, this is what I need, but that why is, is where you really get them to start advocating on your behalf. And, uh, to view it as an educational opportunity for you to say like, Hey. These are the things that are important to me.

And here's why, and here's how it impacts all of our operations and our bottom line and things like that. Having that lined up, uh, goes such a long way, just in terms of, of having them understand the next time you come to them, like the value and the thought that you put into it before you got to them.


Well, it's like when I was in there, when I was in the class eight fleet and the rendering business there, it was, it was one thing to go in and say, Hey, look, we've got all these pickups and deliveries and we got. We've got, uh, materials coming in and product going out and we're delivering and we gotta be on time and we need, we need reliable equipment.

We need to re you know, freshen up the fleet and things like that. Well, you can talk about it their way, or you can come in and you can say, okay, last year our fleet traveled 29 million miles total. And that's actually a true number. Yeah, that's a whole different. Now all of a sudden you get a little bit of attention to say, holy cow, 29 million miles.

And, you know, especially, you know, the, the, the C-suite, they understand those big numbers and they understand how big those numbers are. You know, 29 million miles is a lot of miles. Um, so, you know, sometimes just coming in with a little bit of a story, so to speak, you know, Prime the pump, right? Yeah. Little, little nighttime store, bedtime story before we take a nap, so to speak.


Right, right. Yeah. I, uh, I will forever view fleet metrics as the bedtime story moving forward. I think that's just a wonderful little thing. Um, but yeah, no. And you're speaking our language at this point. I mean, obviously with Fleetio, we're pretty focused on generating fleet metrics and allowing you to get those insights into your fleet.

Hey, Zach here, interrupting myself to add on to our little shameless plug. Chances are, if you listen to our podcast regularly, you're on the hunt for tips and tricks that can make you a better fleet manager, and we have yet another educational resource to offer you, for free, absolutely no cost to you.

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Our first series has five-parts on the basic principles of fleet management and is available for you to sign up today. I'll include the link to that in the podcast description, or you can go to, that's masters (with an s) of fleet dot com.

Again, it's completely free to you. Now let's get back to Bob.

Um, but, uh, obviously fleet software has not always been around. What are some of the ways that you've tracked metrics kind of throughout your career and how have you adapted those to make sure that you are gathering what you needed and that it was all.


Well, I can remember a time when you did your PM scheduling on three by five cards, right? You had months, you had a little little box with your three by five cards in and you had each month and you had your vehicles in there that said, okay, this, this unit's due for this this month. And in a way you win. So, I mean, it's come a long way. Um, the biggest thing, I think that having a good fleet management system, fleet maintenance management system, especially like Fleetio is the fact that.

When you get those questions, the speed at which you can respond, demonstrates that you have command and control of your fleet. And I think when you have a good system, And I'll give a shameless plug to Fleetio, I think gives you that control. And when you can, in my experience, when you can demonstrate that you have control and an understanding and information about your fleet at your fingertips, and you can respond very quickly to questions in some cases, Within minutes of them asking as you're sitting and having a conversation, it, it just pays dividends because of the fact that it just says, Hey, okay, this, this, this guy knows. And he has control of the fleet. And if they, if he can demonstrate that you've got control of your fleet, then it's been my experience. They're way. More inclined to let you have some money, because now they feel like you're going to control that money as, as well as you're controlling your fleet. I love that.


And it just goes back to what we were talking about earlier. It's the why it's the it's it's you not coming in and saying like, Hey, I need a couple million dollars for such and such. It's you're saying, look, based on these numbers, this is why I think we need this and you give them the justification. And, uh, you know, I feel like it's easier to get approvals on things when you can prove the value or the why behind what you're.


Absolutely. It's just like coming in and saying, Hey, I got to spend, I need a budget of $800,000 for tires, and everyone's going to leave a hundred thousand dollars for tires, but it's much there'd to be creative. Say, Hey, look, we've got, uh, X number of units in the fleet and we've got, you know, 25,000 wheel positions as a result of having that many units in the fleet.

So therefore I need $800,000 tire budget, much different. It's much different than just coming in and asking, Hey, I want that cookie rather than saying, Hey, I haven't had anything to eat all day and I really need that cookie cause I'm hungry.


Yeah. Yeah, man. I love that. We keep coming back to the cookie analogy. We're right after lunch and uh, I've eaten and I'm ready for that dessert now. Uh, so I know what we're doing after the call. Um, but no, I, I appreciate that. Uh, I had a thought, oh, so typically I feel like fleet managers, when they think of talking to people outside of fleet, they feel like they've got to dumb things down or make it really general it's they feel like there's this language barrier, but it sounds like you're recommending the opposite. You're saying, look, get specific, find specific numbers and, and speak to these people. They understand how they understand the weight or the gravitas of large numbers. So use those to your.


Exactly and make sure that again, knowing your audience, make sure that you're, you know, there's one thing. I mean, if a bunch of fleet folks are talking, you know, there's a lot of lingo that we use that we know as fleet people, being in the business long time we understand it, but you've got to make sure that you understand your audience and know that, okay.

I don't necessarily have to dumb it down, but I have to make sure that I don't assume that everybody knows that fleet lingo. So instead of maybe using an abbreviation, like. You know, GVWR I have to spell out and say, well, that's gross vehicle weight rating. Okay. Whereas if for a bunch of fleet, guys, we're all gonna wing out, you know, or fleet people, I'm sorry, you know, GVWR and everybody knows what you're talking about.

ZACH Yeah. Yeah. So have you, do you feel like, as you, as you talk more and more to people in leadership, like the frequency of conversations, you kind of start to bring them up to speed on some of those fleet terms? I would imagine as you meet with them more and more. BOB

You know, they learn very quickly and, uh, you know, as you meet with them more and more than the conversation starts to, you know, be more like you're dealing with, you know, people that have been in the business long time, because now they're comfortable.

They understand, you know, you've explained it to them more, or they've learned from, you know, your conversations or your presentations or things like that.


Yeah. Yeah. So separate from software changing and technology changing throughout your career. What are some other ways. That fleet has changed that you've seen?


Well, the biggest change, I think is the, the availability of information. If you think about it back in the day, I can remember when I first became, I'm going to reminisce here. When I first became a fleet manager, one of the, one of the. Trade shows it was out there still is, was the, it used to be the ICUEE show down in Louisville, Kentucky every two years.

And it was utility equipment, uh, expo. I can't remember what, what it was international equipment expo or something like that, but it had everything to do with equipment and tools for, um, Construction line maintenance, gas, construction, things like that. And I can remember the first show I went to coming back with two, three ring binders of the little brochures.

Remember the one page brochure you'd get explaining the product, whether that was a, uh, uh, part or whether it was a trailer or a, or a vehicle or whatever the case may be now today. I mean, it's a matter of. Pulling up your computer and, and finding that information and the specifications are right there.

You don't even have to pick up the phone and talk, you know, and talk to salespeople or anything like that. All your answers are right there. So I think the biggest change that I've seen is the availability of information. I mean, if you're having a problem with a truck has attacked from a textbook. You know, they can come and they can Google it.

And there's usually some sort of a blog out there or something to at least give, give a different perspective or, you know, maybe try something different if you're out of ideas and things like that. You know, fleet management, there's a ton of ton of information there as far as, you know, fleet replacement, staffing analysis, silly, you know, all those things, just the, the accessibility of the information is probably the biggest change.


Yeah. Yeah. So obviously I know your background in terms of how you're gathering information. I know that you all are using Fleetio to manage your fleet's maintenance. Does your leadership have access to your Fleetio platform or is it something that you just send them things as they ask questions?


We actually have started a, um, I came up with the idea, the other Wells a couple of weeks ago now. And we've, I think we're three weeks in. We noticed that, that we weren't getting the. Users to excess fleet deal like they should. In other words, the, uh, the operations, they just weren't comfortable, I guess, getting in there and looking for their maintenance card or their insurance card or looking where fuel was purchased, all the data that's available in, in fleet, which is a wealth of information.

Even, even down to the, to the general foreman level. There's a wealth of information in there. And we were noticing that we weren't getting the. People weren't accessing the system like they needed to. So I came up with a once a week. We have a standing meeting for a half an hour and it's called friends of fleet deal and we do a half an hour and we have usually a subject that we focus on.

So in other words, um, one week might be, you know, how do I access my insurance cards and registration cards? So. Our standing time, we'd open the session as a teams meeting, uh, you know, I would share my screen and then we'd show them how do we access that information? And then we'd open the floor up for just any questions that could take us anywhere in the system, to be honest with you.

But we'd found that having some subject, um, already lined up and maybe, you know, um, publicize that so people know, Hey, yeah. And I'm familiar with it. I don't need to attend to. Um, or, Hey, I really want to see, maybe I might learn something. So we've definitely are seeing an increase in the users since we started that.

And we're also seeing the participation in our friends of fleeting are meeting increasing. That's good to hear. And I mean, obviously as you have more people involved in the platform and inputting data and checking data, there's fewer margins for error. And also the information that you're receiving is more up to date and, and more valuable for you all, as you try to make decisions.

It is. And, and the thing of it is, I mean, I just talked to the HR folks today and they're very interested in, in, uh, using Fleetio to upload license information, driver, license information, med cards, because, you know, right now it's more of a manual process for them to send out reminders that that folks licenses are expiring and med cards are expiring.

So, you know, they're very excited to jump on it. So it's not, you know, it's really taking on a little bit, uh, Broader scope now that it's kind of outside of not just tracking vehicles and maintenance, but now we're actually going to use it to start to track licenses and med cards. And even maybe as far as, um, some of the herbicide certifications and the certifications that our folks have out in the field.


That's awesome. I'm just bringing as much information into one platform as you can. So that accessibility is always there. Do you have standing regular meetings with your C-suite team? Like the people who are stakeholders with.


I do. Um, so there's a lot, you know, we do a lot of, uh, of, uh, standing meetings, so to speak, to talk about, you know, where are we, where's the fleet, you know? Um, w where, what do we see in the horizon as far as any issues, upcoming issues and things like that.

I mean, right now, every, you know, the biggest subject on everybody's list right now is fuel costs, right? What are you going to do about fuel costs? How can we minimize our fuel costs as a continuous. To go higher and higher.

So yeah, I do, I do have the regular meetings and it's a good opportunity. We even do quarterly meetings with the, uh, you know, the presidents and a little bit farther down the food chain, so to speak. Um, it's good because it gives us an opportunity to educate again, to demonstrate that we have control of the fleet and that we are monitoring, you know, Yeah.


Are there any data points or metrics that they get particularly excited about or, or things that you've seen the most value in sharing with them on a regular basis?


Well, the biggest, probably the biggest metric is, is, and it's been the biggest metric for any fleet I've been in is, and it kind of sums up all the other things is fleet availability, right?

At the end of the day, is my truck ready to go? Can I use it? Can it be used as long as I want to use it without any issues? So really the biggest metric, I think the, probably the most important metric is fleet availability. And then they start to trickle down, you know, and then you look at PM compliance and then you look at cost and cost per mile, depending on the type of fleet that you're in and things like that, then they start to trickle off.

But at the end of the day, it's all about fleet availability because that's what you got the fleet for. Right. You need it to work. Yeah. Yeah. Do you have a specific, like uptime metric that you're shooting for? Is it just a general, like let's look for problem vehicles are outliers and make sure that.

We're treating those accordingly. Well, you try and look at, you know, you gotta look at it from the, from the ops perspective, there might be vehicles in our minds from a fleet perspective that are more what I'll call core equipment. But if you're driving a non-core piece of equipment, that's core to you and very important to you.

So we try to look at everything on an equal level and say, okay, we need to have. You know, like our fleet availability needs to be at X level, no matter what it is, whether it's a core piece of equipment or non-core, we still need to make sure that it's available and ready to go. And those, those metrics change, depending on the vocation of the, of the unit, the business that you're in, you know, are you running a 7 24 o'clock or you're running an eight to five or six to six, 12 hour clock?

Do you work Saturdays? Things like that. Um, so they, they, they vary on what that is as far as. You know, what's an acceptable metric. Yeah. Yeah. Or is there something that you've presented to leadership recently that just got them stinking excited? Was there something that you've shared that they got really pumped about?

Um, I think the fact that we're trying to, to figure out how do we minimize the impact that a unit when a unit breaks down. So I think there's been some, a real excitement around the fact that. We've started to develop a solution or at least what we think is the solution to try to minimize the impact of that happening.

Because at the end of the day, you can do the best maintenance going. You can do everything right. And the truck's going to break down. Right. It's going to happen or it can happen. So what can you do? So I got to say probably the latest thing has been the fact that we're coming up with a pretty, a pretty creative solution, I think, to, to get a truck out to the field.

Within 24 hours of a unit going down. So I think that that's probably the most exciting thing we've had so far.


Yeah. Can you give us a sneak peek as to what your creative solution is or is that proprietary information?


Well, no, I wouldn't say it's proprietary. We're just trying to figure out, you know, there's a big, there's a big challenge for us as far as, you know, our trucks require a CDL drivers and it's tough to find folks that have CDL.

So how do we move to. So we're trying to partner with some tow companies to say, Hey, you guys have always got CDL drivers, right. Um, can either drive our truck or tow our truck for us, um, on the off hours. So there's an advantage to them. There's an advantage to us. So we're trying to work that out right now.


That's cool. That's a creative workaround too. I know we've talked about supply chain issues, but obviously there's labor shortages as well. And so that's a, it's an interesting way to kind of look outside of your current organization to, to be able to fit. Right. Yeah. Cause we looked at, you know, to get the, have drivers on staff, but you know, yourself, if you have five drivers, they're never in the right spot at any rate at any given time.

So we kind of came up with the idea to say, Hey, there's a lot of tow companies around. There's a lot of tow companies that have off hours. Right. Um, that, you know, they're looking for something to do. So we're hoping it works.


Well, cool. Well, best of luck in that. So we're reaching the end of my questions that I have, but I think for the, for the last question, I think it'd be fun to go back to you as you transitioned into your first fleet management position. And you're going into that first meeting. Uh, do you have any words of advice for yourself in that situation? If somebody could have told you something, as you prepare for that meeting, uh, that would have really helped you, what do you think.


And I tell this to, to anybody that, that I'm trying to teach, is that be confident because nobody in the room knows more about your fleet than you do, right? And you may have this much knowledge of your fleet because you're new at your job. Or you may have this much knowledge that you're asleep because you've been there and you're, you're seasoned like myself.

Um, at the end of the day, nobody knows more about your fleet than you do. So use that to your advantage because you didn't talk about your fleet with confidence, because like I say, nobody knows more about it than you do. And especially coming from the, the shop floor, you've got a firsthand experience of what it looks like, uh, to, to have a vehicle come in that needs urgent repair or what, what parts might, might need to be improved or what vehicles are being particularly troublesome.


I love that. I think that's awesome. And a second part of that confidence, I would assume is the ability to speak on what, you know, to be able to, like, I think when you develop that confidence here, you're better able to then sit in that room and say like, this is what I know. And there's not an air of, of doubt because you know that, you know, those things, right.


Like I said, be confident, talk about the things, you know, and don't be, don't, don't be afraid to say, I don't know, and I will get back to you. Okay. Don't, don't try to, to. Two BS your way through it. So to speak, just say, just be honest and say, no, I don't know that I haven't come across it and let me research it and I'll get back to you and then make sure you follow up.


I love that. Well, thanks so much for joining us again today, Bob. I appreciate all your, all your stuff. And I think, um, your, your you're seasoning, uh, will benefit plenty of other people who are, who are, uh, completely unseasoned. Um, and I was going to try to throw in the cookie analogy one more time, but I can't think of a way to seamlessly loop it in.

So I appreciate you joining us today.


I appreciate the invitation. Thank you.


And that's The Fleet Code, y'all. Another huge thanks to Bob for talking us through how to talk through fleet. Here's a quick rundown of the highlights from our conversation:

Think about your organization's goals from the C-suite's perspective so that you can convey information in a way they'll find valuable.

Have regular meetings that keep everyone in the loop.

Be transparent and keep data accessible with the right fleet technology.

Know what metrics matter and focus on high-visibility areas of your fleet.

Be confident in what you're trying to convey and never be afraid to say I don't know and search for the answers to the questions people are asking.

We'll be back next month with another episode full of tips and tricks from other fleet vets. In the meantime, check out the rest of season 2 if you haven't already, and be sure to subscribe on your podcast service of choice so you don't miss any Fleet Code goodness. Be sure to join our newsletter and follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook to stay up to date on all things Fleetio and get access to all kinds of free tools and resources.

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