• Mark Bowden

Winter is Coming...Is Your Fleet Prepared?

Jack Frost is not far from visiting those of us that reside in the northern half of the country. Winter months bring additional challenges for government fleets as they work to keep up with demand ensuring the safest roadways possible for their township, county, or city roads.


Advancements in fleet technology have opened the door for government agencies to be more informed and better equipped when winter storms arrive. Real-time data and insights allow agencies to remain vigilant and reduce costs.



Unsure if your fleet is adequately prepared for winter conditions? Connect with the Argos Connected Solutions team to learn more about our suite of products and services to help you maximize your winter operations.


Optimization


Time and resources are the biggest challenges that fleets face during the winter months. As soon as a winter storm is forecasted, the clock is ticking and preparations must be made. Smart fleet management begins with optimization. Do you have enough salt to cover the roads? Will minor roadways remain unplowed due to time? These questions are just the tip of the iceberg.


Salt Spreaders


Salt may not be utilized nationwide, but for the states that do spread salt before a winter storm, they know that it can quickly become a major expense. For years, fleets were forced to basically spray and pray that they had enough to cover all of their major roadways. Beyond wasting resources, salt can be harmful to the environment and government fleets can be on the hook for any environmental damage in residential neighborhoods.


Telematics that are equipped for each truck can now monitor material usage on a granular level. Up to the minute data now helps to curb material waste and any harmful effects it might have on the environment.


Snow Plow Routes


Smaller communities might not struggle with snowplow routing, but as the community grows, the need to deploy additional vehicles or hire independent contractors to address capacity needs will inevitably increase. Route optimization should be at the top of the list of priorities to prevent overlap, wasted time, or missed roadways.



Platforms like Geotab provide fleet managers an eagle-eye view of all of their equipment to help streamline the planning process. Not only will this ensure that all roadways are cleared, but it will reduce fuel consumption along with unnecessary wear and tear on vehicles.


Accountability


Whether you are at the top of the municipality’s organization or are behind the wheel of a snowplow, accountability will eventually come into the picture. First and foremost you are charged with reducing costs where you can. Citizens want to know that their tax dollars are being used wisely. When they feel that resources are being wasted, perception is impacted.


Telematics for Independent Contractors


Even if your fleet is equipped with telematics, there is a good chance that your independent contractors' vehicles are not. Today’s systems are plug and play, easy enough for anyone to do in their home driveway. Taking these additional steps will prevent improper billing from independent contractors and help you create a foolproof operations strategy.


Depending on your agency’s structure, independent contractors could make up as much as 50% of your snowplows during the winter months. Having them tie into your telematics dashboard can help your team adequately prepare, monitor, and adjust in real-time.

Citizen Perception


Government agencies are constantly balancing perception and resources. One roadway goes unplowed and you could have the locals up in arms. Damaged precision is one thing but a missed roadway or damage to a citizen’s property puts the local government at risk. What if that unplowed road were to have caused an accident? Where does that liability fall?



Investing in fleet technology provides a security blanket that government fleets can use to limit liability and increase public safety. When those two are working together, your public perception will certainly increase.


Preparing Your Fleet For Winter


Winter might be right around the corner, but there is still time to update your fleet technology and set yourself up for success. Whether you are replacing outdated equipment or are implementing a system for the first time, the Argos team has your back. Visit our website to learn about our government programs and affiliations that can help you bypass the RFP process and get your fleet up and running before Old Man Winter arrives.



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