If you ask Rocky Buoy, the fleet manager of San Luis Obispo County, how his government fleet managed to become the winner in this year’s 100 Best Fleets award program, he will never take personal credit. Rocky believes that his fleet management duties include serving his customers and employees. He doesn’t believe in taking credit for the success of his fleet. However, he does give credit to his team-oriented leadership style for making a difference in the way the fleet was run.
Let’s take a look at some key highlights of the fleet performance and practices of San Luis Obispo County.
Highlights of San Luis Obispo County’s Fleet Performance
Here are some incredible highlights of San Luis Obispo County’s amazing performance:
- An impressive 99% customer satisfaction rate.
- 11% vehicle downtime only due to accident repairs.
- 96% of all vehicle repairs finished within 24 hours.
- An impressive 87% compliance rate with planned preventive maintenance.
- Fuel costs 18% lower and repair costs 35% lower than the average cost in the local retail market.
- 84 BEVs and hybrids reduced fuel spend by 37%, fuel usage by 31,000 gallons, and CO2 emission by 17%.
- 20% boost in vehicle remarketing revenue by switching to national online platforms from the traditional local brick and mortar auctions.
- $300,000 in cumulative rebates and grants to obtain electrified vehicles and install about 30 recharging stations in 3 varied locations.
- Widespread use of digital technology to process work orders, vehicle GPS, Wi-Fi, diagnostic tools,shared drives,and video calls to order parts from a national supplier.
Buoy believes that his fleet company was able to achieve these impressive stats and performance ratios thanks to his department of 12 employees. His department thoroughly understands that they are an internal service provider and their primary job is to facilitate the other departments to achieve their tasks and objectives seamlessly. Buoy credits his workforce’s commitment, clear understanding of their objectives, and belief in their mission statement for his fleet’s success.
Here are some other ways in which Buoy took his government fleet to the top position:
A few years after Buoy was appointed, he wasn’t satisfied with the sheer amount of unscheduled repairs that his fleet mechanics were doing. The standard benchmark for unscheduled repairs is 1 against every 4 scheduled preventative maintenance and San Luis Obispo County’s numbers were more than that. Moreover, the number of repair callbacks and the fleet’s vehicle availability were subpar as well.
So, Buoy decided to launch a multi-year campaign to improve the state of PM inspections and emphasize on the importance of repairing the vehicles timely and effectively. The first step was to share the fleet’s performance metrics with his entire department. Then, the task was to get achievable goals and then measure the employees’ progress and the fleet’s performance against them. Another important aspect was to look for repeat issues that would require supplementary attention.
A great step that Buoy took was to only share the performance metrics of the entire team rather than to point out the errors made on an individual level in the scheduled departmental monthly meetings. This allowed him to establish a team-oriented culture within the company.
The idea was to raise the bar of expectations and give the team and each individual the time and space to reach it without calling them out on their mistakes. After all, if an employee was making a mistake, then the whole team was getting affected by it. This attitude made room for a workplace environment where all the employees had each other’s back and functioned as a team.
Encouragement and Coaching
Buoy’s unique management style is due to the lessons he learned from his time in the Navy. He served 20 years in the Navy’s construction battalions, known as the “SeaBees,” and eventually became the Chief Petty Officer, which is comparable to a sergeant. With each promotion, Buoy reviewed leadership and technical training, which taught him to focus on team performance and how to motivate people to excel at their jobs.
He believes that when you’re a squad leader, you want your squad to be the very best. The way to become the best is to take care of your troops. Buoy believes that this is what his job is as a fleet manager as well; his objective is to take care of his troops.
This can only be done when you don’t single out an employee for their mistakes. After all, the role of a leader is to coach and train their subordinates. You simply can’t call them out on their mistakes in front of everyone else and expect them to become better at their job. The under-performing employee already knows that they are under-performing, so the job of a leader is to motivate, inspire, develop, and coach them to become their best version and excel at their job.
Encouraging Self-Esteem and a Sense of Belonging
Buoy firmly believes that everyone wants to excel at what they do. No one goes into work thinking or wishing to do a bad job. So, if an employee is failing at their job, then you need to think about what is going wrong. Either the employee doesn’t have the right training that they need to fulfill their responsibilities or something else is not right. Just don’t jump to the conclusion that the employee doesn’t want to do the job or succeed at it. This is why it’s important to encourage self-esteem and to let your employees know that you are there for them. Also, you need to create a sense of belonging in them so that they can come to you and share whatever is wrong without feeling uncomfortable about it.
Now that Buoy’s department has achieved success, he believes that the government fleet can sustain its performance. The current approach at the company is that of committed process improvement. The trick is to seek ideas, implement improvement, and celebrate each success. This allows the employees to enjoy working for the company, which motivates them to do better.
Buoy firmly believes that San Luis Obispo County managed to snag the best fleet award because it understood the human needs and desires of its employees. It catered to those desires and gave them a work environment that encouraged, motivated, and understood them. It provided them a sense of belonging and also celebrated their accomplishments. This enabled Buoy and the company to have a group of people who are truly devoted to taking their fleet company to new heights of success.