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Driving America’s Businesses Forward with Proactive ESG Strategies at the Forefront


Driving America’s Businesses Forward with Proactive ESG Strategies at the Forefront

Entering the new millennium, few companies across all industries had a watchful eye toward environmental stewardship, particularly throughout the heavy-duty truck transportation industries. However, just a few short years later, governments in many countries began to better understand the benefits that could come from corporations curbing their carbon emissions output, and new greenhouse gas mandates began to take effect by the early 2000s.

Pioneering Insight for Industry Sustainability

In the early 2000s, the use of data analytics began to help fleet customers run their operations more efficiently. Fleet Advantage CEO, John Flynn, had a family relative who was receiving treatment for cancer caused by environmental pollutants, and Flynn realized the importance of leveraging resources to help companies with transportation fleets not only comply with the new environmental regulations but serve as model corporations regarding environmental stewardship.

Flynn understood the importance of being the future of truck leasing by advocating solutions that would significantly reduce emissions over time. By 2011, leading fleet consultants had begun to make strong recommendations against the use of older-model equipment because of toxic emissions. They introduced never-seen-before emissions scorecards, and an innovative replacement program with financial flexibility in mind that made it beneficial to operate newer, clean-diesel engines. These programs also helped fleets meet new GHG-1 Federal mandate standards and calculated fuel economy gains at 2.5% MPG and CO2 reductions.

A Focus on Environmental Stewardship

Between 2016 and 2021, leading industry players continued their mission to help fleets change the way they see the environment, as well as their impact. Advanced asset management strategies helped companies reach environmental, social and governance (ESG) goals while promoting sustainability through shortening asset life cycles, optimizing vehicle specifications to be more fuel-efficient, and to align with the duty cycle as well as geographical locale. New approaches also specified lighter components that allow for longer maintenance intervals which reduce environmental hazmat waste disposal.

Today, with Flynn’s foresight, companies are boasting vastly improved environmental records while implementing ESG strategies in front of customers, regulators, and other critical stakeholders. As an example, Fleet Advantage has saved customers approximately $250 million and approximately 175,000 metric tons in emissions since inception.

Socially Conscious Organizations

In addition to environmental stewardship, social criteria are also within companies’ ESG strategies. It’s important that organizations are operating the newest and safest trucks that keep all motorists safe and help attract and retain a greater pool of diverse drivers and other staff. Fleet specification experts work with each company to design new trucks for maximum safety, fuel efficiency, lowest maintenance cost, and highest resale values through innovative programs that focus on upgrading to newer trucks with advanced safety features. By focusing on safety proactively, fleets are recognizing risks that they may otherwise not likely identify, as well as a solution that could save millions of dollars in cost reduction while avoiding damage to their corporate image and brand identity.

Socially responsible organizations today also recognize that a more diverse approach to the transportation industry unlocks more potential growth for organizations through the advancement and empowerment of a gender-diverse workforce.

Governance & Corporate Leadership

Governance is an area many companies have struggled with in recent history. This pertains to the governance factors of decision-making, from sovereigns’ policymaking to the distribution of rights and responsibilities among different participants in corporations, including the board of directors, managers, shareholders and stakeholders. Governance factors highlight the processes for organizations. Fleet experts today provide analytics, processes, and transparency so that clients can meet legal requirements and satisfy every stakeholder in the process.

Today and Looking Ahead

Today, Flynn is proud of the leadership his company displays in life cycle asset management, data analytics and overall strategies to help clients lead competitive and agile organizations through better decision-making. Leading companies today are proud of the culture they have created internally, and many are strong examples of how diversity and inclusion in the workplace can have a substantially positive impact on their organization, employees, customers, and the surrounding communities. They believe that the long-term success of any business calls for a diverse body of talent that can bring fresh ideas, perspectives, and viewpoints into the workplace. Fleet experts now strive to create a culture of diverse individuals from all races, ages, genders, education levels, and cultural backgrounds.

Ultimately, leading executives like Flynn and his company have a goal to help the industry become as sustainable, socially conscious, and governed with as much integrity as possible. Every effort these leading companies put forth is to benefit all – the environment, clients, stakeholders and local communities.


About The Author: Katerina Jones is Vice President, Marketing and Business Development at Fleet Advantage, a leading innovator in truck fleet business analytics, equipment financing and lifecycle cost management. For more information visit

fleets management

Not All Equipment Leases Are Created Equal: How Transportation Fleets Can Become More Flexible and Cost Effective with Proper Leasing Strategy

The broader economy has rebounded quite well from the severe market turbulence of 2020. In fact, seven countries, including the U.S. and China, have already reached their per capita GDPs return to pre-pandemic standing, according to the latest report from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). According to the group, global economic output will rise by 5.8% in 2021, up significantly from 20201. 

Key to this economic activity are companies with transportation fleets that provide the movement of goods across America. However, many of these firms must make strategic organizational decisions that can impact their bottom lines when determining the right procurement strategies to upgrade hundreds of aging trucks in their fleets. The costs involved can be significant depending on the type of investment structure (lease versus purchase), and even as more companies shorten their equipment life cycles through leasing, many firms are realizing that not all lease agreements are equal. 

Companies in a Full-Service Lease (FSL) already know it is not a flexible option. But it is also critical to understand the many variables and costs under an FSL program when compared to an Unbundled Lease (UBL) agreement. 

Businesses Need Flexibility for Market Changes 

2020 was a difficult year for virtually every business because of the drastic market changes felt across every industry. Businesses needed flexibility to adapt to the turbulent environment and scale their organizations accordingly. 

Entering 2021, Federal stimulus measures and pent-up consumer demand have resulted in the American economy now heating up, forcing many companies to look for an expansion of operations. Companies with transportation fleets also need to keep an eye on costs as inflationary pressures are increasingly resulting in profit erosion. 

A key inflation indicator rose a faster-than-expected 3.1% in April as price pressures built in the rapidly expanding U.S. economy, the Commerce Department reported recently. The core personal consumption expenditures index was forecast to increase 2.9% after rising 1.9% in March 2. Whether through market contraction or expansion, companies with transportation fleets today need to be as flexible as possible in running their fleet operations. 

Unfortunately, not all lease structures are created equal, and some fleet organizations have suffered from an inability to exercise this flexibility through a full-service lease structure, which binds them in a lease contract over a specified period of time. 

With flexibility at the forefront of the business strategy of operating a fleet, scrutinizing every detail of a fleet’s vehicle lease structure can mean the difference of millions gained or lost toward the bottom line, which can be detrimental when organizations need to preserve every penny for profits today.  

Full-Service Leasing Defined 

Full-Service Lease is a lease in which the lessor provides financing and other transportation services packaged in a single monthly payment. Full-Service transactions are often that, just transactions and the contracts are tenured and strategically designed to avoid high-impact deal breakers.  

In an FSL agreement, fleets essentially hand over all decisions affecting the fuel and maintenance costs to their lease provider and instead focus on a “bundled” monthly payment. 

While on the surface, this may sound like a marriage of convenience, Full-Service leasing eliminates flexibility since it locks the organization into a rigid contract and terms for a set long-term period, wherein the cost for maintenance and finance are combined along with general overhead costs. Unfortunately, limiting the operational flexibility can be disastrous when business conditions change, or industries experience severe shifts overnight. 

Unbundled Leasing: Flexibility & Competitive Costs 

In contrast, UBL agreements are designed for fleets to work with a provider that can help break out costs individually and identify the lowest-possible financial costs involved with operating a fleet, including fuel economy efficiency, and eliminating unnecessary maintenance and repair costs. 

A UBL offers flexible financing options based on actual costs; not what costs were projected at the onset of the decision process. UBL offers vehicle life cycle management for better cost and performance optimization. In a UBL agreement, companies have greater flexibility on these individual costs and the freedom to upgrade and scale the size of their fleet, guaranteeing the lowest-possible financial costs involved with truck acquisition. 

Significant Cost Savings Involved when Unbundling 

The monthly cost savings can be significant. After taking into account the lease payments, warranty and maintenance fees, an organization pays either an average of $1,816.11 per month (unbundled) compared with $2,792.00 per month (FSL). When calculated over a span of 100 trucks, that fleet would experience a first-year savings of approximately $1.2 million toward the bottom line3  

These monthly costs are further exemplified when finance costs are also taken into account. Finance costs are a significant calculation in any equipment acquisition. Purchase or lease requires a cap cost number and a finance number. The most effective process to reduce the truck cost and finance cost is to have competitive equipment and finance options. Access to multiple Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) and lenders is key to obtaining the lowest equipment and finance cost. These competitive options can be achieved when lease agreements are unbundled, allowing the freedom and flexibility to shop for the most competitive options available. The cumulative per-truck savings over a six-year life cycle amounts to $60,000, or roughly $6 million for a fleet with 100 trucks3 

The need for organizations to adapt through flexibility is no longer just a buzzword, it’s a competitive strategy. According to McKinsey and Company, businesses that operate with agility in mind will enjoy a powerful impact on their bottom line, as well as other significant benefits to the organization. This level of agility will not only help companies navigate through today’s unpredictable market, but will help position for growth tomorrow.  


About The Author: Katerina Jones is Vice President, Marketing and Business Development at Fleet Advantage, a leading innovator in truck fleet business analytics, equipment financing and life cycle cost management. For more information visit  





How American Companies Are Reimagining the Way Goods Are Shipped Across the Country

Companies across virtually every industry are reimagining the ways in which they move goods from their warehouses and distribution centers to local retail and grocery stores throughout the country.  Challenges arise with the increased need to ship items direct to consumers in many cases – a method growing in popularity stemming from online shopping. 

The demand for more dedicated and private fleets is a surging trend, as shippers continuously find it harder to identify and utilize for-hire trucks due to tighter capacity, particularly from an outpouring of online shopping, increased driver shortage challenges, and volatile rates for moving freight (spot rates). 

Private and dedicated fleets are often more beneficial to all parties involved – the driver, transport company, and customer. Drivers typically enjoy slightly higher wages with regular routes and newer, safer trucks; companies benefit from higher customer service marks as well as improved corporate image knowing their trucks are cleaner; and customers enjoy more accurate, on-time delivery rates that translates into higher quality of customer satisfaction.  

Increased Moves Toward Private Fleets 

Traditional for-hire transportation companies have taken notice and are shifting more of their operations over to the dedicated fleet side. Notable transportation brands such as J.B. Hunt and Transport America are increasingly moving more of their operations to dedicated fleets1. 

The COVID-19 pandemic forced this shift for many retailers and their customers. As the economy saw drastic declines in 2020, some industries saw an increase in demand, such as grocery and convenience stores. This prompted many organizations to place a larger emphasis on private fleet operations to better control costs and adapt quicker to these business climate changes.  

For example, Ahold Delhaize USA says it is transitioning six facilities under its three-year initiative to switch to a fully integrated, self-distribution model driven by its own private fleet. With the transition of the six facilities in 2021, about 65% of Ahold Delhaize USA brand center-store volume will be self-distributed. In late 2019, the company unveiled a three-year, $480 million plan2 to expand its supply chain operations and shift to a self-distribution model, which includes e-commerce channels. 

According to the National Private Truck Council’s (NPTC) 2020 Benchmarking Survey Report3 

“The primary reason companies reported operating a private fleet was to provide exceptional levels of customer service that is unavailable on the open market, especially at a time when transportation and logistics capacity has been relatively constrained. Operating a private fleet provides control over service levels, guarantees availability, and increasingly assures cost-competitive transportation alternatives regardless of market conditions. In this year’s survey, more than 92% of the respondents, in response to the open-ended question, “What is the Primary Reason Your Company Operates a Private Fleet?” answered “customer service.”  

Newer Trucks Drive Better Customer Service 

There is a direct connection between a high level of customer service and a private fleet’s focus on utilizing newer, cleaner, more reliable trucks that protect the environment and offer advanced safety features. 

According to a recent industry report on truck utilization and costs, newer trucks offer significant benefits to a fleet’s bottom line. Fleet operators can realize a first year per-truck savings of $16,856 when upgrading from a 2016 sleeper model-year truck to a 2021 model. For a fleet of 100 trucks, when upgrading to a 2021 model-year fleet savings can reach $1.7 million4. 

Fuel economy represents a significant portion of the savings through truck replacement. Fleets can save $5,084 per truck in fuel in the first year following replacement of a 2016 model-year sleeper, a 15% increase in fuel economy and reduction of CO2 emissions.  

Per a recent analysis, a Global 2000 and Top 100 Private Fleet health-conscious wholesale grocer reduced over 8,500 metrics tons of CO2, as well as helped conserve 848,575 gallons of fuel by upgrading to a newer fleet of trucks. At $2.44 per gallon that equals over $2 million in avoided fuel expense, along with improved Miles Per Gallon4. These savings greatly benefit the bottom line and the fleet’s customer can boast about its attention toward conservation. 

Private Fleets See Stronger Driver Retention Driven by Safety 

While there remains a national shortage of drivers, private fleets typically enjoy a higher level of driver retention because of fewer truck breakdowns and a higher level of attention toward their safety. The NPTC’s latest benchmarking survey illustrated that 64% of its drivers reported that they returned home every night3. 

Safety and confidence in the maintenance of each truck is a leading motive. A recent industry survey showed that 11% of transportation fleets estimate they have saved more than $1 million in crash avoidance by upgrading to newer trucks with advanced safety features. The survey also illustrated that 55% of fleets said escalating maintenance and repair costs (M&R) is a leading motivating factor for upgrading to newer trucks5 

Each of these factors represents a growing reason why the transportation of goods in America is being reshaped by the structure by which today’s leading transportation fleets operate. Many companies in a variety of industries are retaining their own private or dedicated fleet of trucks, driven by trusted drivers operating newer, cleaner, safer trucks that are more reliable and beneficial to everyone’s bottom line. 


Katerina Jones is Vice President of Marketing and Business Development at Fleet Advantage, a leading innovator in truck fleet business analytics, equipment financing and lifecycle cost management. For more information visit



3: National Private Truck Council; 2020 Benchmarking survey Report