Fleet management staff at the City of Seattle are: (l-r) Dave Seavey, fleet management director; Nanci Lien, fleet administration manager; Chris Wiley, fleet operations manager; and Michael "Vini" Vincent, vehicle mainteance manager.
|At a Glance
The City of Seattle achieved its No. 1 Fleet status through these accomplishments:
- Investing in staff training.
- Investing in updated technology.
- Right-sizing the fleet through a utilization study.
- Providing open communication to all staff.
Like so many cities across the United States, the City of Seattle has seen its share of economic struggles. The City’s Fleet Management Division (FMD) wasn’t exempt — it shared in the pain of increasingly tighter budgets, seeing profound reductions in labor and resources over each of the last four years.
Despite these challenges, the City of Seattle FMD made a decision: These reductions would not be obstacles. They would not hold the division back from improving its organization and meeting the challenges ahead. Instead, the division employed a long-term strategy: significantly invest in training, education, and technology — and get every member of the staff to think like a fleet manager.
Why this approach? At the core, managers of government fleets are charged with being good stewards of public funds by providing quality fleet services at a competitive price. So to think like a fleet manager is to make the most of the resources at hand, while also delivering high levels of customer satisfaction.
“When you’re on the floor and you’re thinking like a fleet manager, at the end of the day, we’re going to make better decisions today than yesterday,” said Dave Seavey, CAFM, director, Fleet Management Division.
United in this goal, the entire FMD staff, from maintenance to operations to administration, would together employ best practices, pave the way on a few of their own, and ultimately run a model fleet.
As a result, Seattle’s FMD has seen astounding improvements — and has been named No. 1 of the 100 Best Fleets, an award sponsored by INVERS Mobility Solutions and Property Room. Here’s how it got there.
Believing in People
According to Seavey, the core of the fleet’s improvements was investing in the division’s greatest resource — its people. The thinking was this: If it could get everyone within the organization, from employees in the shops to those in finance and operations, to think like fleet managers, it could make a profound change.
“Teaching and training are what turned the tide to get people to see things from a different perspective,” he said. “We made significant investments in our people because we want this to last for a long time.”
View a photo gallery of the City of Seattle's fleet staff here.