Government Fleets: Challenges, Solutions, and Trends in 2022, Part 2
Last week in the first part of our government fleet blog series, we covered some of the top challenges public sector fleets are up against—from public accountability and resistance to in-cab cameras to hurdles with sourcing equipment—and offered tangible ideas to help fleet managers overcome some of these challenges.
In this post, we take a closer look at two key trends to watch for in 2022: the growing demand for electric vehicles (EVs) and difficulties hiring and retaining tenured employees. But don’t worry: we also offer up tips that can help government organizations stay forward focused and tackle these future challenges head on.
One of the biggest government fleet trends is “going green.” Governments are looking at any and every way to reduce their carbon footprint, institute more green initiatives and, of course, save money.
One way government entities can make that happen is to replace conventional vehicles with electric vehicles. Not only do EVs reduce emissions, but they also cut their maintenance and operating costs. The federal government’s eGallon calculator shows that an EV costs less than half its gasoline counterpart to go the same distance. The calculator is based on residential rates: Public fleets that have their own solar or wind power will pay even less. There are also generous federal incentives to encourage the switch to EVs, which can further reduce the higher purchase costs.
Sustainability efforts—demanded by the public and sought after by elected officials—are becoming more important than ever to government organizations. Green initiatives demonstrate that your organization is working to reduce the environmental impact of local service vehicles. Right now, motorpool vehicles are the first to go electric, but there’s no doubt that EVs are rapidly becoming an important part of current fleet operations and are driving future planning. The biggest questions we hear are “How do we get there and how soon?”
Since certain fleet operations can have a negative impact to the environment if excessive idle time, route efficiency, or regular maintenance are not monitored and managed effectively, it is often an important area of focus for sustainability initiatives. Fleet managers must rely on accurate telematics data to provide a starting point. Initial planning really requires data, and that’s where GPS tracking comes into play. There are hundreds of data points that need to be evaluated before adding more EVs to fleets, and GPS tracking technology can help fleet managers decide what vehicles to electrify first, and what vehicles can be pushed off to a later date.
Recruiting, Hiring, and Retaining Top Talent
Over the past two years, the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the staffing crunch across nearly every industry. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found that employee turnover rates rose from an already staggering 54.5 percent in 2016 to 69.7 percent in 2020. The fleet industry is no exception to the challenge of recruiting, hiring and retaining top talent, and this trend will continue in 2022.
Experienced public fleet mechanics are retiring without clear successors and public fleets can’t recruit fast enough. Meanwhile, fewer people are going to trade schools, and those who do are scooped up quickly into jobs that pay higher right out of the gate. Furthermore, some public fleets require new hires to have their own tools; at $25,000-$60,000 that is a huge expense for someone right out of trade school. Finally, even in the fleet industry, the next generation wants to work with the latest technology, which provides greater job stability and long-term growth opportunities.
Even though there’s more room to grow in the public sector, especially when you factor in generous pensions, the fact is that someone just starting their career is likely to choose the bigger paycheck and lower entry costs. Fleet managers are trying to overcome this by visiting high schools and community colleges to steer students toward apprenticeships.
But here’s a silver lining: The new generation of government employees are often more tech savvy. They’re not afraid of getting their hands dirty with new technology.
GPS tracking and videos telematics allows fleet managers to do more with less—it can improve efficiency, boost productivity with more effective routing and dispatching, and give them greater overall insight into how their fleet is performing. So when the time comes to implement this new technology, these tech-savvy employees can be the go-tos for piloting the program and offering feedback.
Summing Up Government Fleet Challenges in 2022
Public fleet managers have their hands full with accountability and liability issues, outdated driver policies, limited buying power, and numerous other challenges. But by updating policies, collaborating with other agencies, addressing workforce issues, and embracing sustainability, they can still thrive. It just takes planning, long-term vision, and the right tools to get moving.
The good news is that we’re always here to help, and we’ve helped numerous government organizations (like Dallas County) implement new GPS tracking and telematics effectively to their fleet. If you need assistance, don’t hesitate to contact us.
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