Did you miss virtual networking during the Academy? It’s not too late!

For the week of April 6-10, 2020, AssetWorks hosted virtual networking discussions on our LinkedIn page. This was an effort to supplement the AssetWorks Virtual Academy on April 7th and 8th, and to help foster that spirit of interaction and professional development that we have all come to love and expect at the in-person AssetWorks Academy. By visiting our LinkedIn page, you can still read through the entirety of the conversations as they were. However, below are highlights and summaries from the conversations for each of the days. Just hover over the tile (or click, if you are on a mobile device) to read the snippets!

*Note: clicking the question under each day/host will take you directly to that full conversation on LinkedIn!*

Day 1 – Mario Guzman, Director Of Support Services, City of West Palm Beach:

“How are you leading your team during this period of uncertainty?”

Leadership during a crisis can take many forms. For Mario, it primarily revolves around keeping his staff safe, and helping them be productive. During this “period of uncertainty,” our brains can turn towards focusing on the short-term goals for survival. While incredibly important in the right circumstances, many people find this focus to conflict with a deeper sense of wanting to be productive, useful and still focused on the long-term. Mario recognized his team’s needs and helped them achieve them. First, he ensured that all had masks and sanitization materials to create a clean workspace. Next, while the workload shifted dramatically, Mario refocused his team on PM’s that were falling behind. Despite the changing circumstances, Mario was able to keep his team safe and encourage them to work on important tasks so that then they emerge from this crisis, they will be in a good spot. Click on the question above to see the full discussion and learn more best practices! Check out below to see some sneak peeks of the conversations:

Keith Leech Sr.

Are you having bargaining unit issues to respond to due to your mechanics being designated as essential vs. others who are working from home?

Mario F. Guzman

No bargaining issues now. We gave our staff gloves, masks and suits two weeks ago. We just put an order in for cloth masks so they can wear those. The most important thing is training – how to properly wear a mask and remove gloves. All mechanics are working at the shop, just at different shifts.

Day 2 – Keith Leech Sr., Chief, Fleet Division & Parking Enterprise, Sacramento County:

“How can you use your FMIS to overcome today’s fleet challenges and prepare for the future?”

Keith, as well as a few others, recommended that fleets take advantage of the work order systems within their FMIS to appropriately manage their response to COVID-19. For example, Dan Berlenbach described how they could add a “sanitize vehicle interior” to the tasks on their work orders, and Keith and Mario joined in supporting the idea. Modern technology allows for modern solutions. This sort of requirement not only helps to ensure that vehicles (and likely workstations) are sanitized properly, but also that the organization can track and report their extra efforts and resources when they next go to the council for their budget or to report on their response. Click on the question above to see the full discussion and learn more best practices! Check out below to see some sneak peeks of the conversations:

Dan Berlenbach

Has anyone else added a standard job to all work orders: “sanitize vehicle interior?” We did, our intent is to ensure it is done for common surfaces for every vehicle before a technician starts; to ensure it is recorded as being done; and to provide a means to retrieve hours spent (in case of reimbursement).

Keith Leech Sr.

We continue to conduct EV Suitability Assessments for potential field applications that are returned to base and work with our utility on assistance with expanding charging infrastructure to support them.

GPS data loggers and networked charging infrastructure should enable us to claim the CA LCFS credits from CARB when EVs take off!

Day 3 - Dan Berlenbach, Fleet Services Manager, City of Long Beach:

“How can you protect technicians from COVID-19 exposure since they cannot work from home?”

Dan’s conversations centered on an incredibly important issue: keeping technicians and other employees safe, while still performing essential duties for their communities. Through discussion and input from a number of industry leaders, the conversation turned to how organizations were breaking up their shifts and rotating schedules. Dan’s organization, for example, has technicians studying and growing professionally while at home (learning new skills, studying the appropriate safety measures, and more), and then calls them back on socially distant and split shifts for when maintenance has to be done in the shop. Click on the question above to see the full discussion and learn about how other organizations have split their shifts! Check out below to see some sneak peeks of the conversations:

Dan Berlenbach

Technicians can work from home! With the goal of social distancing and keeping your workforce safe in the long run, creative scheduling can allow your techs to space out more at the shop while spending some time working from home, doing study related to their craft.

Other options include rolling nights and weekends into their schedule to reduce the staff present at the shop. Have you implemented any creative scheduling due to COVID-19?

Dan Berlenbach

We set them up on a 4×10 schedule, with 2 days at work in week 1 and 3 days at work in week 2, then starting over again. They are directed to study the resources we give them (NAPA, ASE, Ford, and City Library provided more general courses), and we have called them back when the workload demanded.

Dennis Hogan

Our technicians wear nitrile gloves on each truck they enter and change or sanitize gloves between repair orders. We have masks available for our technicians and drivers, and we have a 55-gallon drum of hand sanitizer in each shop for technicians and drivers. We have installed protection between the foreman’s and service writer’s desk and where drivers drop units off for repair. We stagger lunch and break periods to ensure that we have adequate social distancing throughout the shop and while on lunch and break periods.

Day 4 - Bradley Northup, Public Works Superintendent, City of Carlsbad:

“When global/national events affect your business’s bottom line, what strategies do you employ to help minimize its effects on your operations?”

The discussion around businesses’ bottom lines was somber, but highly informative. The participants shared what their organizations were doing – measuring underutilization, catching up on old PMs, prioritizing patrol cars and highly essential vehicles and more – while also discussing how it would affect them going forward. Many were sharing how their 2021 and 2022 fiscal years would likely be reduced, and how they were already being asked about how they could find cost savings in future budgets. Click on the question above to see the full discussion! Check out below to see some sneak peeks of the conversation:

Bradley Northup

Undoubtedly our employers are pressing us all on how to trim down and prepare for harder times. What strategies are you expecting to employ to minimize these effects on your operations?

Keith Leech Sr.

We have yet to establish a staffing rotation, however, we’re looking at it now as a precautionary measure. Plan were considering is to put all non-Patrol builds on hold and have 1/3 of the shop staff off each week. So far, we have had no attendance problems and no COVID cases diagnosed.

We’ll be updating our annual review of underutilized and home retention and sharing TCO and cost per mile with department heads to justify retaining low use and the take homes. I anticipate this year’s exercise will be taken much more seriously than the past few years.

Day 5 - Mary Joyce Ivers, Deputy Public Works Director, City of Ventura:

“Does your community use a virtual Emergency Operations Center (EOC)? If so, what are your best practices or lessons learned?”

While the conversation didn’t necessarily revolve around EOCs, many of the participants shared how the community was working together. Mary Joyce detailed how their organization was working with Fire and Fleet to ensure that they all had spray sanitizer and hydrogen peroxide for their Hudson sprayers. At the same time, they developed a safe paper handling policy, and implemented new guidelines for the office. This was further enhanced by their ability to do a large portion of tasks without paper through their fleet management software. Click on the question above to see the full discussion! Check out below to see some sneak peeks of the conversations:

Mary Joyce Ivers

The CDC stated that the virus can live on cardboard and paper. We developed a safe paper handling policy. Thankfully our Fleet team uses tablets. Does anyone use the customer portal to promote a paperless shop?

Mario F. Guzman

Yes… using FleetFocus. No paper.

Dan Berlenbach

We do run paperless, to include our parts ordering, done from the technician’s workstation electronically.

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