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January 17, 2024
By Robert “Bobby” Bock
NAPS Southeast Area Vice President
With the arrival of the new fiscal year, every functional area is looking for ways to reduce their operating budget. The team at Fleet Management has been tasked with a budget reduction that, in actual dollars, amounts to $100 million. With 306 VMFs around the country, we have our work cut out for us.
So, how are we going to hit this large target? We are drilling down into the Enterprise Data Warehouse (EDW) to see where money is being spent. We still have a fleet of delivery vehicles over 30 years old. If we were required to have state license plates, our older vehicles would qualify for antique plates.
The two areas offering the most opportunity for cost reductions are vehicle accidents and unreported damage. When the VMF brings a vehicle in for scheduled maintenance, too many times we find damage to the vehicle that has not been reported. We reach out to the Safety Office, then contact the office where the vehicle was assigned.
You know the rest of the story: There’s no record of any damage to the vehicle anywhere in the system. In most delivery offices, supervisors walk the lot on a daily basis, observing carriers loading. Did you ever really look over the vehicles you walk by?
Recently, we brought in a Mercedes van with a rear sensor light out. On inspection, we found the rear bumper had been pushed in. The vehicle still was under warranty, but the vendor pointed to the damaged bumper as the cause of the light fault. This was a $2,000 hit to the VMF for the repair, plus loss of the vehicle for deliveries while it was repaired.
Delivery units can play a big role in helping the Postal Service reduce vehicle expenses by doing a quick walk-by of your assigned vehicles as often as possible. I know it can’t be done every day, but if you are known to look at vehicles, your employees also will be looking at their vehicles.
We are getting a large shipment of new vehicles that will present new challenges for carriers. The next generation delivery vehicles (NGDVs) are trucks over nine feet tall, just as the ProMasters in our fleet. Roof damage to these vehicles amounts to several thousand dollars. This type of damage is totally avoidable.
I have a wish list for the Postal Service this year: We need new mobile post offices. These trucks are as old as our LLVs and the generators in the mobile post offices are critical to running the equipment. The generators are either breaking down or out of service.
I also want to see the Postal Service eliminate the use of private companies to tow our vehicles. We need to have rollback tow trucks that can handle the wide variety of vehicles we use. This would result in large savings for towing expenses.
Categories: The Postal Supervisor
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