January 8, 2015

Avoiding a major fleet rebranding mistake will keep your project on time and under budget

We handle a lot of fleet rebranding projects, but there are times when we decide not to bid on projects because it’s clear the companies are setting themselves up for failure.

How does a company set itself up for failure, you ask? By not understanding the fundamentals involved. Fleet rebranding is more about logistics than making graphics. If you’ve never been involved with fleet rebranding before, let me compare it to something most people are familiar with. Painting a room. It’s far more involved than simply picking a color and buying a can of paint. Whether you complete the project yourself or hire a painter, you need to consider logistics, such as: distance between paint store and room being painted; room dimensions (like tall ceilings); prep work needed (like stripping off old wallpaper); amount of paint needed; qualifications of the painter (have equipment needed for wallpaper stripping and tall ceilings); and availability to meet deadlines.

You would be surprised how many fleet graphic vendors also misunderstand the fundamentals of fleet rebranding. In the old days, only a few screen-printing companies could handle fleet rebranding projects because screen-printing was a specialized field. As technology evolved, thousands of companies began producing fleet graphics. Because fleet rebranding requires strong project management skills to get the logistics right, simply being able to produce fleet graphics isn’t enough.

I learned what happened with one of the projects we didn’t bid on, and it turned out worse than I expected. Because the company thought only about buying fleet graphics instead of the fleet rebranding project as a whole, it stuck with a vendor that supplied its graphics whenever a new vehicle was purchased. The company used that vendor’s new vehicle graphics and installation prices to establish its final fleet rebranding budget.

While new vehicles start with a clean slate, a fleet rebranding project includes the removal of existing graphics from each vehicle. Because removal of old graphics wasn’t in the project budget, two employees – a general manager and an operations manager – spent workdays and weekends removing the graphics themselves. Believe me, removing vehicle graphics isn’t part of management-level job description for a reason! Not only was the rebranding deadline missed, the two managers’ other responsibilities were put on the back burner to finish the fleet rebranding project.

By not understanding the fundamentals of fleet rebranding, this company made a costly mistake. To be successful, keep your focus on the big picture to save money and meet deadlines instead of fixating on a small piece of the puzzle.