Paul Shaffer: Plant Your Tree

There’s an old Chinese Proverb that says:

“The Best Time To Plant
A Tree Was 20 Years Ago.
The Second-Best Time Is Now.”

I know that some reading this article did not prepare for these turbulent times. As a key decision maker, perhaps you continued down the same old path with the same approaches that have carried you from year to year. It worked, you thought. The results haven’t been dramatic, but it’s not been catastrophic either. It was easier to make no decision (which is a decision) than to explore other options for your fleet.
Now that fuel prices are averaging over $5.00 for the first time ever, you are unprepared for these significant impacts to your budget – impacts that affect your ability to carry on with normal day to day activities. In times like these, I feel a little like Noah. The warning of impending higher oil prices was not an “if” but “when” scenario.
Plant The Tree Today. Even if the storm has hit your fleet unprepared, it doesn’t mean that you can’t take measures now to work toward mitigating the current scenario and, at a minimum, ensure this doesn’t happen again.
We all know the definition for insanity – doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results. To get those different results, action needs to be taken.
Not tomorrow, not next quarter, not next fiscal year, but now.
I don’t know what the best solution is for your fleet, though I would be happy to assist. Each fleet is different and unique. But there are solutions that can improve your current situation if you’ve been on the sidelines.

You might be asking,
“How do I plant the tree today”? Great question. Let me offer some very basic things that can get the ball rolling:

1) Contact a fleet peer that has been proactive and planted that tree 10-20 years ago. Learn from them. Take advantage of their expertise and experience. They’ll be able to share things to not do, as well as best practices. It will launch you quicker than if you went solo. It will seem daunting otherwise. I can offer some suggestions.

2) Make sure you have a crystal-clear picture of your fleet. Number of vehicles, gallons of fuel consumed annually (vs miles driven), type of vehicles, type of applications, duty cycle, fuel prices/costs etc. Having the necessary data will improve the decision-making process. You need to know where you are today.

There are more, but let’s keep it simple, right? This is a simple way to plant the tree today. Just like the tree doesn’t grow to maturity in one day, you can’t fix everything in one day. It’s a process which starts with some very simple steps that will move you from the ordinary to the extraordinary.

For more information contact
Paul at pshaffer@landiusa.com