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truck technician works on laptop Photo: Aaron Marsh/Fleet Owner

Meeting the vehicle maintenance challenge

New workshop at ACT Expo takes on today's top maintenance issues.

According to a recent Fleet Owner survey of maintenance professionals, three of the top five challenges for today’s maintenance operations are: the complexity of systems and components on new vehicles, finding and retaining good technicians and keeping technicians trained on the latest technologies.

To directly address these critical concerns, Fleet Owner and the Advanced Clean Transportation (ACT) Expo are partnering to offer a new workshop for operations and maintenance professionals. The workshop will be held on Tuesday, April 23, in conjunction with the upcoming ACT Expo in Long Beach, CA that takes place from April 23- 26.

Called “Workforce Development: Meeting the Vehicle Maintenance Challenge,” the day-long event brings together a strong team of maintenance and operations experts to take on the toughest issues facing maintenance suppliers — from the mix of new power options and complex, connected new vehicle technologies to the recruiting and training challenges that come with them.

Online registration is open now for the full conference, the workshop only or for a special package that includes access to the Fleet Awards Reception on Tuesday night, the ACT Expo Exhibit Hall on April 24-25, plus a Ride & Drive on Friday, April 26.

“Technology is evolving rapidly across today’s increasingly complex and connected fleet. Now many fleets operate a wide range of vehicle types and classes powered by a variety of gaseous fuels, electricity, or hybrid systems,” observes Erik Neandross, chief executive officer of Gladstein, Neandross and Associates, producer of ACT Expo. “And those vehicles are coming equipped with more and more sophisticated onboard sensors and components, all producing and sharing data in real time. No jobs will be more affected by these changes than maintenance and operations.

“This is a watershed moment for commercial vehicle fleets and the suppliers who support them,” he adds. “Unless the industry takes steps together now to ensure there is a skilled workforce to support these new vehicles, the lack of adequate maintenance and operations capability could become a serious obstacle to their successful adoption.”

The workshop agenda includes:

  • Best Practices for Successfully Integrating Alternative Fuels and Advanced Technologies into Your Fleet: Maintenance and operations experts who were among the earliest adopters of new technologies and power alternatives, share secrets to their success including: pain points experienced in the integration or transition into new technologies; how they were able to make a culture shift to newer technologies and ensure vehicle utilization; tips on developing the training necessary to support new technologies while still supporting the other traditional technologies in their operations; and some of the most unexpected and valuable lessons learned along the way.
  • Training for the Electric Vehicle Ecosystem: Electric vehicles necessitate special training on a very different set of skills than any of the other alternative power choices to-date. Maintenance technicians, drivers, fuelers and executive management teams are all impacted. A panel of experts will cover some of the most urgent issues including: operator training to maximize e-miles, range and efficiency; low- and high-voltage system maintenance, repair and technician safety;  electric vehicle charging infrastructure use and maintenance; plus mission-critical insights for the fleet management teams responsible for delivering the accurate information on cost per mile and total cost of ownership that will be necessary to guide future fleet asset investment decisions.
  • Staying Ahead of the Curve with Incumbent and New Worker Training: In this session, training and recruiting experts take a hard look at how the convergence of mechanical and electronic systems onboard vehicles is dramatically changing training needs and procedures, including: how fleets can and must up-skill their current workforce and what to look for in new hires; how and where to find skilled workers in a market with an already-existing technician shortage; and emerging opportunities to engage younger and more digitally savvy workers in maintenance and operations.

Among the panelists and speakers sharing the stage at this event are: John Tiquet, fleet manager, Waste Management; Mike Hasinec, vice president of maintenance, Penske; Annalloyd Thomason, vice president and general manager, Natural Gas Vehicle Institute; John Frala, professor alternative fuels/electric & fuel cell vehicles, Rio Hondo College; Anthony Marshall, director of maintenance & engineering, UPS; and Alexandre Lalonde, product manager for bus and HV charging solutions, ABB.

Learn more about the program or to register online here.

The option including the reception, ride & drive and access to the exhibit hall also gives workshop attendees multiple networking opportunities plus the chance to see more than 250 exhibits showcasing the latest vehicles and transportation technologies from commercial electric vehicles and connected vehicle technologies to advanced driver assistance systems; vehicles powered by  natural gas, propane, renewable diesel and gasoline, biodiesel, ethanol, and hydrogen fuel cells; advanced powertrains; telematics and fleet management solutions and more.

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