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How to Evolve Your Fleet Strategy for the Remainder of 2020

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The half-way point of the year has arrived, but for many fleet professionals it may feel like it has been longer than a mere six months. While states begin to reopen and fleets feel out the “new normal,” it’s like we are entering a new age rather than the second half of the calendar year. You may be looking at your current fleet strategy and realizing it doesn’t address some of the key issues of today, such as sanitization protocols, extended order to delivery timeframes, backlogs in DMV processing, cash flow restrictions, and changing fuel prices. Yes, the change has been significant – and so your fleet strategy needs to evolve, too. Here are some ways to look are your fleet with fresh eyes so you can get back on track for the remainder of 2020.

  • Take the time for a formal mid-year strategy evaluation. The mid-year point is a natural time to take stock of what your goals for the year were and how you are tracking to those goals. However, this year has been exceptional, so simply measuring progress against your original goals will likely not be enough. A full evaluation of your goals may be more appropriate.
  • Don’t be afraid to give yourself a blank slate if needed. You likely spent a significant number of hours at the end of last year and early this year laying out your strategy and goals for the year. It’s possible that the best thing you can do to move forward is to throw out your original plan and start again. Do not allow the sunk cost fallacy to take over – cut your losses if necessary and evaluate your fleet operations with fresh eyes in light of new realities.
  • Evaluate your vendor network and seek their expertise. Now is the time to take stock of your vendor network and observe how they have handled and adapted to the recent changes. Some vendors may have had to shift focus or reduce capacity while others may be thriving, so you may have to adjust your sourcing strategies. Talk to your vendors about how their strategy has changed for the year and their business continuity plans so you can be better informed about how they are aligned to your business needs going forward. This is also the time to lean on vendor expertise to help update your policies and tactics across areas like maintenance, safety, lifecycle, and more.
  • Adjust your budget.  Company budgets have been drastically impacted, so it’s time to sit down with finance and other internal stakeholders to update your budget. Updating forecasts is going to be particularly critical to determine how to revise your cycling policy, which units should remain in service and which should be disposed of in order to maintain or improve cash flow. With low fuel prices during the pandemic and reduced fuel spend due to idle vehicles, updating your fuel cost forecast is especially important. If needed, reach out to your fleet management partner about programs that can provide cashflow relief, such as extending amortization terms through a sale and leaseback, possible extension of lease terms, or remarketing unneeded assets.
  • Adjust your timelines. In addition to updating your budget to reflect new financial realities, timelines need to be updated to reflect new supply chain realities. While OEMs have re-opened, it is important to note that order to delivery times will be extended and delays are going to happen. Your strategy should be adjusted accordingly, whether that means bringing in short-term rentals to fill gaps or adjusting your cycling cadence to account for longer order to delivery times. Many other fleet services like maintenance locations have continued to operate throughout the pandemic as essential businesses but implemented policies to maintain social distancing that may impact number of appointments or drop-off procedures. Continue to call ahead for service appointments and prioritize which units should receive maintenance first in case it takes longer to service vehicles. There are likely to be backlogs at DMVs as well, so be prepared and equip your drivers with in-process letters.
  • Definitions have changed – update your policies accordingly. Perhaps no definition in fleet has changed more than that of driver safety. What was once viewed through the lens of driver behavior has expanded to include disinfection and safety protocols. Ensure that your current driver policy aligns with recommendations offered through the CDC and Department of Labor website. If your fleet uses pool vehicles, consider limiting the group of drivers who share the vehicle, and ensure that all driver record-keeping processes are tested and updated accordingly. Apply this same holistic eye to your whole fleet policy, updating where needed to accommodate new definitions, scopes, and best practices.
  • Ensure you’ve looked at your fleet holistically. As you are updating your policies and strategies, make sure you follow a methodical process so you address each aspect of your fleet. The result of any policy and strategy updates should be a complete, harmonized picture of how the various aspects of your fleet operations will effectively work together to produce the desired results. A checklist, flowchart, or other visual may be useful to ensure no area is overlooked and to map any overlaps.

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Most importantly, enter this phase of re-strategizing with a healthy dose of patience. Delays and backlogs are a reality of the re-opening process, so it is important to be understanding and adaptable as much as possible. Stay flexible, communicate with both internal and external stakeholders, and you will be able to seize new opportunities and successfully adapt to make the remainder of 2020 a success.

If you are wondering how to best adapt your strategy or need programs and solutions to put your changes into action, visit Merchants Fleet’s page dedicated to this topic.

By Adam Secore, SVP of Operations

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Source: https://www.automotive-fleet.com/10118179/how-to-evolve-your-fleet-strategy-for-the-remainder-of-2020

Blockchain

Potential Benefits of Blockchain Technology in Accountancy

Potential-Benefits-of-Blockchain-Technology-in-Accountancy

Wondering how Blockchain can revolutionize accounting? You have landed on the right page. This article will talk about Blockchain technology, technologies that make Blockchain possible, and how it can impact the accounting domain.    So let’s get started with what this technology is all about.    Table of Contents    What is Blockchain? Technologies That … Read More

The post Potential Benefits of Blockchain Technology in Accountancy first appeared on Blockchain Consultants.

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Potential-Benefits-of-Blockchain-Technology-in-Accountancy

Wondering how Blockchain can revolutionize accounting? You have landed on the right page. This article will talk about Blockchain technology, technologies that make Blockchain possible, and how it can impact the accounting domain.    So let’s get started with what this technology is all about.    Table of Contents    What is Blockchain? Technologies That … Read More

Source: https://blockchainconsultants.io/potential-benefits-of-blockchain-technology-in-accountancy/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=potential-benefits-of-blockchain-technology-in-accountancy

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Aerospace

Adept at adaptation

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Adept at adaptation

There may be challenges ahead for the industry, but UK-based AS9100 Rev D accredited precision engineering specialists, Bright Engineering says it is holding its nerve.

Being situated at the heart of East Lancashire’s aerospace belt might normally be seen as an overwhelming benefit for any small business involved in advanced manufacturing. However, as is the case for many subcontractors up and down the country, the grinding to a halt of the commercial aviation sector has proved to be a huge challenge, albeit not entirely insurmountable.

Bright Engineering services a number of industries with the supply of precision components and sub-assemblies and has customers across the UK, and several in the US. Bright counts aerospace as around 20-30% of its operating income, but is fortunate to be involved in many other sectors including green technologies, electronics and automation, as well as defence.

Pre-lockdown, the company had built up resilience on the back of strong multi-sector demand in 2018-2019, and in 2019 pressed ahead with a fairly extensive programme of machine tool investment upwards of £1 million. This expenditure signified Bright’s most major rejuvenation of the shopfloor and replacement of ageing machinery it had seen for several years, and followed a trade mission to Yamazaki Mazak’s headquarters and plant operations in Japan.

Bright’s latest CNC machines include the Mazak Variaxis i500 and the Integrex J200S

For Bright, the benefit of the trip not only extended to witnessing first-hand how the machine tool manufacturer handles quality, but allowed the business to forge new relationships which have endured. From this experience Bright now counts new customers and suppliers which have allowed it to strengthen the business throughout the pandemic.

One of these relationships led to a production order for ventilator components, which carried the business and its people through the dark days of the March 2020 lockdown.

“The medical order at the time of the Covid outbreak was a matter of pride for Bright and its workforce,” says managing director, Jon Hoyle. “It involved working day and night seven days a week until it was complete and our team enjoyed being part of this national effort. It kept us going mentally, as well as at an operational level.”

As the end of the lockdown emerged, Bright’s usual customers started coming back to life, although Hoyle admits in certain sectors it is still only coming back in fits and starts. Sales from the US have remained strong, whereas many buyers in the UK have remained on furlough. The result from this is all to do with adaptability. Pre-lockdown, Bright’s strategic aims were around building a long-term orderbook for the future.

Ready and willing

The company admits the vision is currently a bit shorter-term, but as sales director, Steve Amey says: “It ensures we remain flexible, listen to the needs of our customers and evolve the business plan on a monthly basis. That is the reality of 2020, and we believe that regular refinement of our working model will make us all the stronger in readiness for 2021. The capacity to spring back is ready and waiting.”

Of course, the business has utilised the much-welcomed furlough scheme as the pandemic has evolved. However, it has also taken many positive steps to guarantee operational stability in testing times. In certain cases, remote working has really proved positive for Bright and the workforce have made good use of products, such as Microsoft Teams, Skype, WhatsApp, etc. to really stay in touch, keep things moving for the clients, and transmit key messages to staff around the pandemic.

As well as staff communication, Bright has also engaged some really creative uses of Teams, as Amey continues: “Involvement in the Ventilator Challenge UK project was a fast-paced affair, with design and production requirements evolving several times a day. At one point, Teams was the catalyst for one of the quickest pieces of customer decision-making I have seen in my career.”

The episode Amey refers to was a dramatic win in terms of customer experience, and saw Bright on Teams chat with its own supplier partner, the customer, as well as the end user. The usual protecting of sources had to be put to one side for the good of the project, and in fact led to one of the proudest moments of collaboration Bright has been involved with. With Bright’s strategic input, using the customer’s CAD/CAM package over Teams, a component was redesigned, re-posted to CAM and sample component produced by Bright within 90 minutes of the initial technical query being raised.

Indeed, there have been some other real wins for the business during the course of the year too. As certain staff may have been off work for shielding purposes, the company’s apprentice cohort were relied upon more heavily.

“The conditions thrust on us by this pandemic have actually allowed our apprentices to shine,” states Hoyle. “20% of our workforce are undergoing training from Level 3 to HNC, and during the ventilator production our youngsters seized the challenge, often taking the responsibility that we would expect of a quality inspector or section leader. We got to see their very best attributes over a four-week period and it was impressive.”

Bright has rejuvenated its shopfloor and replaced ageing machinery

Further to keeping production moving, the apprentice team have at times, had slightly more interaction with their leaders, and less day-to-day pressures than any other normal year in the company’s history. Ensuring this time wasn’t wasted, it has allowed for accelerated periods of learning on Bright’s latest complex CNC machines, such as the Variaxis i500 and the Integrex J200S multi-tasking machines. In fact, it hasn’t gone unnoticed across any of Bright’s senior leaders that its apprentices have really seized the opportunity to develop their skills over the last six months.

On the horizon

As Bright looks to the near future, there is an equal mixture of concern and trepidation but also a feeling of opportunity. Hoyle believes there is a strong case for the government to continue some targeted support for the sector. Areas like East Lancashire, Motorsport Valley in the South East, West Midlands, Northern Ireland and the North East all provide a rich and varied contribution to the UK advanced manufacturing output as a whole. Plenty of people in the industry felt a continuation of the job retention scheme was necessary, particularly in a way that specifically encouraged part-time working. The Chancellor has since made his announcement, but Bright would also like to see business rate support as well as increased assistance for apprentices over the age of 18, particularly those on HNC programmes.

“Aerospace provides a large portion of business to UK subcontractors and government and companies themselves need to get to the other side of the pandemic in one piece,” concludes Hoyle. “For the foreseeable future, we control costs, look at alternative revenue streams and get even closer to our existing customers.

“Customers in the main aren’t looking to exploit the current situation. Instead they want reliable trustworthy supply chain partners and our continued support. We also talk to our competitors and listen to their problems and successes; sharing best practice is usually free of charge, but highly valuable, and that one successful collaboration could make all the difference to our joint future success.”

www.brightengineering.co.uk

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Source: https://www.aero-mag.com/bright-adept-at-adaptation-13102020/

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Aerospace

ElevAero acquisition strengthens Midlands based supply chain

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ElevAero acquisition strengthens Midlands based supply chain

Adam Bartram director of ElevAero (left) with FPL’s former owner Geoff Neale

ElevAero, a leading manufacturer and supplier of specialist fabrications, assemblies and machined components for the aerospace and defence sectors, has acquired 100% shares of Formrite Precision Limited (FPL). The acquisition took effect from the 1st of October 2020 for an undisclosed sum as ElevAero continues to expand from its base in Nuneaton (UK).

FPL has established facilities in Aldridge, West Midlands, supplying a range of tooling and precision components to the aerospace and industrial gas turbine industries. Core services provided by FPL include large fabrications, machined components, test rigs and ground support equipment and assemblies. The company has leading OEMs and large tiered engine suppliers in its customer base.

FPL manufactures large fabrications, machined components, test rigs and ground support equipment

ElevAero says the acquisition is a strategic purchase which will complement and enhance its cost-effective offering for aerospace component manufacture, assembly and low-cost sourcing and supply.

Adam Bartram, director and owner of ElevAero said: “We have been looking to acquire Formrite Precision for some time to strengthen our position in the marketplace and to offer our clients a total end to end supply option. In a challenging time for the aerospace industry we are very proud to be in a position to continue investing in the right opportunities that will provide our customers with reliable, competitive supply solutions whilst protecting and creating jobs in the Midlands.”

www.elevaero.com

https://formrite.co.uk

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Source: https://www.aero-mag.com/elevaero-acquisition-strengthens-midlands-based-supply-chain/

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