by Pranab Adhikari, High School Apprentice

Training is essential in every organization for various reasons. An increase in training correlates to enhanced employee performance, heightened morale, an increased capacity to adopt new technologies and methods, and a boost in employee productivity. Over the years, the amount of time spent on training at Fleet has increased. In the year 2018, employees logged roughly 460 hours of training. So far in 2021, employees have already logged approximately 600 hours of training. This increase in training hours at Fleet led to increased productivity and increased efficiencies in processes. Training is particularly crucial for technicians due to the fact that vehicle technologies are constantly evolving.  Our workforce needs to evolve as well. Every year, new vehicles are released with a great deal of improvements and technicians are required to continually adapt their skill sets.  

Training in 2018 vs 2021

Since we added electric and hybrid vehicles to our fleet, our technicians have taken on the instructions and responsibilities needed in order to maintain and operate these vehicles. An example includes training for our electric bucket trucks and electric drive systems. Excessive idling is harmful for vehicles because it causes unnecessary wear-and-tear to an engine. In addition, idling vehicles release chemicals, gases, noise and particulate pollution, which are detrimental to our community’s health and the environment. Electric bucket trucks eliminate idle time by powering the lift and other functions of a bucket truck without running its engine, which results in a significant decrease in emissions.

Employees receiving training on bucket trucks

Technicians also participate in training to maintain our fire engines. We launched our first electric fire engine this year. To best support the Madison Fire Department, we must ensure that employees are knowledgeable and able to operate and maintain these vehicles.

Electric fire engine

Another example includes training for our electric forklifts. These forklifts are able to load thousands of pounds of supplies, and they contain the latest emission-reducing technologies. Although we are providing hours of training for these electric vehicles up front, in the long run they require little to no maintenance.

Electric Toyota forklift

In a related but different area, another product that we added was a new timekeeping system. This system allows us to clock employees in and out digitally. This tool was deployed to prevent us from using paper cards by employees to punch their arrival and departure times. Another reason why this tool is useful is because it allows employees and supervisors to edit timesheets and time entries as errors can occur. This makes it easier for supervisors to track their employee attendance on a day-to-day basis. An additional system we added in order to benefit our organization is a system that shows information on the television screens here at Fleet. This was adopted to display information in an easy and efficient way; plus it saves paper. However, we must first train the employees necessary in order to utilize these systems effectively.

All Fleet employees and city employees from other divisions this year participated in a newly launched safe driver training as part of Madison’s Vision Zero plan, in which they learned about defensive driving and safe driving techniques. Technicians also took an NFPI troubleshooting hydraulics course. NFPI is a program that develops comprehensive courses that fulfill mechanical maintenance training needs.  Finally, training can also be non-technical in nature.  For example, most Fleet staff have completed APM 3-5 training focused on maintaining a respectful workplace environment.

In a similar vein, employees in administrative positions require training in order to stay up to date on software and applications such as Excel. The more knowledgeable employees are, the better they will be able to solve any challenges that occur in their work.

We will ensure that training will never end at Fleet.  The training employees complete at Fleet is done to create a more productive, efficient, and safe work environment. The tools and resources that we are using for employee development not only educate our employees, but also achieve the ultimate goal of reducing roadway collisions and saving lives by improving the safety of drivers and the public. We will continue to invest in our employees’ continued education through in-house, and external, training.

This content is free for use with credit to the City of Madison - Fleet Service and a link back to the original post.