Recognizing the 2016 Leading Fleets

July 2016, Government Fleet - Feature

by Staff

The remaining fleets are listed in alphabetical order:

City of Beverly Hills, CA

Contact: Craig Crowder
Units: 415
Staff: 11
Maint. Facilities: 2
Overcoming Challenges: Fleet wanted to improve preventive maintenance (PM) compliance, reduce downtime, and improve technician efficiency. With two new technicians, management had to fast track training, mentoring, and job shadowing. Staff continued to have brief meetings at the beginning of each day to discuss key items or issues. These steps reduced PM overdue rates from 24% to 8%, improved fleet availability from 83% to 92%, and raised technician efficiency from 64% to 78%.

City of Charlotte, NC

Contact: Chris Trull
Units: 6,397
Staff: 119
Maint. Facilities: 5
Overcoming Challenges: Aging equipment is driving up maintenance and repair costs. Fleet provided equipment analysis data to prove that repairing a light vehicle and extending its life is more cost efficient than extending the life on a heavy vehicle (dump truck, refuse truck, and construction equipment). Fleet staff has been working with city’s Budget Office and user departments to try and replace more heavy equipment and less light equipment on an annual basis.

City of Chesapeake, VA

Contact: George Hrichak, CEM, CPFP
Units: 1,554
Staff: 36
Maint. Facilities: 1
Overcoming Challenges: The city experienced suspension failures on 10 of its fire engines. Long parts lead times and repair costs of more than $38,000 stretched the budget. Using savings from the fuel budget, fleet retrofitted all failed units to the newest configuration suspension. This retrofit allowed the ball joints to be replaced independently of the control arms, eliminating the possibility of this type of sudden expense on this platform again.

City of Cincinnati, OH

Contact: David Cavanaugh
Units: 1,800
Staff: 70
Maint. Facilities: 9
Overcoming Challenges: Declining capital resources and increasing vehicle replacement costs have resulted in nearly 50% of the citywide fleet being out of lifecycle. The city began a Capital Acceleration Program (CAP) that is designed to infuse capital funding for accelerated fleet replacement over a seven-year period. It will bring 85% of the fleet within lifecycle within 12 years. Staff is working with a consultant to guide the fleet through this process.

City of Conroe, TX

Contact: Erik Metzger
Units: 599
Staff: 8
Maint. Facilities: 1
Overcoming Challenges: Staffing and space are fleet’s two biggest concerns. A relatively low pay scale makes it hard to attract qualified technicians. Fleet now allows technicians six months to obtain certifications from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) and to obtain a Commercial Driver’s License. The pay increase has helped retain most of the new employees. Staff is also requesting a new fleet facility that has twice the space of the current one.

City of Durham, NC

Contact: Joseph Clark
Units: 1,612
Staff: 44
Maint. Facilities: 3
Overcoming Challenges: The fleet has limited funding for its vehicle replacement program. A new utilization study recommended doubling annual utilization. This led users to relinquish equipment and utilize vehicles more effectively, and fleet developed a 10-year replacement plan that incorporates lifecycle cost, return on investment, and acceptable annual increases in funding levels. It also identified $500,000 in annual savings in reduced maintenance and operating costs.

City of Fairfield, CA

Contact: David Renschler, CPFP

Units: 345
Staff: 15
Maint. Facilities: 1
Overcoming Challenges: The city conducted a year-long project to have propane autogas tanks, dispensers, and new vehicles purchased, but the public shut down the project due to environmental and safety concerns. This opened the door for fleet staff to convince executive management that renewable diesel would be a good option. It allows the fleet to reduce greenhouse gas emissions even more than the propane autogas project and with no infrastructure costs.

City of Fargo, ND

Contact: Harold Pedersen
Units: 600
Staff: 38
Maint. Facilities: 2
Overcoming Challenges: After evaluating three different idle management systems for police cars, fleet staff could not find one that was guaranteed to not activate when parked inside a building but would monitor battery voltage to start the vehicle when the voltage got to 11.5 volts. Staff rewired some systems and parts to put together a system that would fit the city’s parameters. It was economical, was the best fit for meeting officers’ requirements, and decreased fuel consumption.

City of Fort Collins, CO

Contact: Tracy Ochsner
Units: 2,040
Staff: 36
Maint. Facilities: 4
Overcoming Challenges: Fleet had an inadequate vehicle replacement program, where most departments had to initiate a request for new vehicles. To change this, staff used its fleet management system to create a report listing all vehicles that needed replacement. Staff posted the results in its budget manual for every department to allocate funds in their 2017-18 budgets. The feedback on this initiative was very positive, and fleet anticipates this will reduce overall costs.

City of Henderson, NV

Contact: Robert Herr
Units: 1,407
Staff: 20
Maint. Facilities: 2
Overcoming Challenges: Fleet had a disparate parts room with no central monitoring or control and an inflated inventory with underused or obsolete parts. Staff planned a redesign that would add two new tire carousels and make room for a central parts room, which was approved by City Council. The new space provides better monitoring, control, and security of parts and tires, and more efficient management and distribution of parts with fewer underused and obsolete parts.

City of Huntington Beach, CA

Contact: Robert LaRoche
Units: 822
Staff: 16
Maint. Facilities: 3
Overcoming Challenges: As the city moves out of the recession, fleet staff must determine which vehicles and equipment get replaced first and juggle the desires of multiple customers. Staff worked with customer departments to establish priorities and provide acceptable alternatives to ensure their operational needs are met. Staff handled replacements through grant funding, moving vehicles around, and leasing.

City of Indianapolis, IN

Contact: Ronnie Rhoton
Units: 4,787
Staff: 104
Maint. Facilities: 3
Overcoming Challenges: In 2015, Indianapolis began the process of converting its non-pursuit vehicles to electric plug-in hybrid vehicles, beginning with 200 vehicles. The logistical coordination of disposing older vehicles from the municipal fleet, as well as the reassignment of hybrid EVs, has posed challenges, primarily in the areas of vehicle home charging and charging stations. The city identified strategic areas for charging stations and has already implemented certified home charging units for high usage drivers.

City of Lakeland, FL

Contact: Gary McLean
Units: 1,350
Staff: 28
Maint. Facilities: 1
Overcoming Challenges: Fleet gambled to cut its budget at the same time the city enacted a hiring freeze — even though fleet had three vacancies at that time. Management drastically cut fuel budgets, reduced three positions from payroll, and reduced operations and maintenance account lines. After the crisis was averted, fleet was approved to hire replacements, but continued to hold vacancies, discovering an actual service level increase. This led management to evaluate staffing for a permanent reduction going forward, based on attrition.

City of Oceanside, CA

Contact: Jeffery Hart
Units: 481
Staff: 12
Maint. Facilities: 1
Overcoming Challenges: Fleet faced the recent retirement of two of its most senior technicians who were also the city’s police vehicle upfitters. With an aggressive recruitment program, staff was able to hire a team leader and a certified Master Technician from a local dealership for the light-duty side and a talented fire mechanic from a neighboring city. The fleet faces the retirement of two more senior technicians next year.

City of Orlando, FL

Contact: David Dunn, CFM
Units: 3,077
Staff: 57
Maint. Facilities: 1
Overcoming Challenges: The fleet was training technicians but losing them to other agencies with better pay incentives. Staff launched a city-wide salary assessment survey, retrained its core technicians to keep up with the rapid pace of technology in fleet vehicles, expanded educational sessions provided by manufacturers and vendors, and developed a pilot program with a university to develop specialized training on new technology to technicians.

City of Raleigh, NC

Contact: Travis Brown
Units: 2,599
Staff: 77
Maint. Facilities: 3
Overcoming Challenges: Fleet’s biggest challenge was in planning, building, and occupying its new facilities. Staff made sure there was new technology for greater productivity, facility locations were dispersed to decrease travel time for customers, and the facilities had greater capability. Fleet worked to address the challenges of these new buildings and larger-capacity fueling stations, which come with new monitoring and fueling equipment that require routine inspections, maintenance, and training.

City of Ventura, CA

Contact: Mary Joyce Ivers, CPFP
Units: 394
Staff: 9
Maint. Facilities: 1
Overcoming Challenges: Fleet had problems with two newly delivered fire pumpers: identified deficiencies had not been corrected at the factory. The Fire Department suffered a downtime of more than 3,000 hours for both pumpers. Fleet staff worked with the manufacturer and dealer to hold them accountable for multiple warranty issues. Staff is also working with various other manufacturers to have recalled parts delivered directly for fleet technicians to make repairs.

County of Riverside, CA

Contact: Lisa Brandl
Units: 4,317
Staff: 52
Maint. Facilities: 7
Overcoming Challenges: The county continues its goal of being a zero-emission fleet, in alignment with the local air quality management district’s vision. The fleet is purchasing all-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles and the necessary infrastructure, and 80% of its light-duty passenger vehicles bought in FY-2014-15 were gasoline-electric hybrids. Fleet obtained grant funding to help pay for these purchases as well as electric vehicle chargers.

County of Sonoma, CA

Contact: David Worthington
Units: 1,312
Staff: 23
Maint. Facilities: 2
Overcoming Challenges: In the past year, technical team members experienced various injuries and problems that led to their absence from work. Employing extra help on the shop floor allowed staff to keep up with work — until those workers left for permanent positions elsewhere. The department began subletting any work beyond current staffing capabilities, added one full-time position, and looked into creating an applicant pool for extra help technicians.

County of Ventura, CA

Contact: Peter Bednar
Units: 1,568
Staff: 42
Maint. Facilities: 3
Overcoming Challenges: During the recession, fleet staff decreased by 29%, with only a fraction of vehicles reduced. Staff fell behind on maintenance and repairs. Fleet management determined it needed eight additional staff members but couldn’t hire them. Fleet began sharing data about open work orders in a visual dashboard with technicians, discontinued inefficient systems, and eliminated non-value operations on new police vehicles, among other changes. These efforts improved efficiency despite the lack of staff, and fleet saved more than $680,000 by working leaner.

Dakota County, MN

Contact: Kevin Schlangen, CAFM, CEM, CPFP
Units: 382
Staff: 13.5
Maint. Facilities: 1
Overcoming Challenges: About 60% of staff were new hires or in new positions, and the county had a hard time hiring entry-level technicians. Fleet staff revised job descriptions, expanded its mentoring program, used benchmarking data to support new pay grades and operational changes, and participated in college career fairs. Through these efforts, it gained approval to hire fleet trainees, from which fleet filled three full-time technician positions.

DC Water, District of Columbia

Contact: Timothy Fitzgerald
Units: 1,800
Staff: 8
Maint. Facilities: 2
Overcoming Challenges: The fleet’s biggest challenge is getting user departments to understand best value versus lowest bid in contracts. Fleet began spec’ing a mesh network system within its vehicles, driving up acquisition costs. The mesh network allows the vehicle to connect to other vehicles, buildings, and infrastructure, which allows for less expensive networking by decreasing data costs. Fleet staff worked with user departments, tested the system with them, and showed them the benefits — including cost reduction of 40% — to convince them that this would be the best value purchase.

Denver International Airport, CO

Contact: Jeff Booton
Units: 958
Staff: 74
Maint. Facilities: 1
Overcoming Challenges: The fleet’s biggest challenge was upgrading its fleet management information system (FMIS) while simultaneously developing and incorporating an entirely new workflow process. Staff underwent a year-long process, from initial ­design through implementation, to reinvent how it processed all its maintenance actions. Then, staff collaborated with the software provider to make this workflow an integral part of its FMIS. The new process standardized maintenance inputs, which gave staff the ability to produce metrics.

Eugene Water & Electric Board, OR

Contact: Gary Lentsch, CAFM
Units: 262
Staff: 10
Maint. Facilities: 1
Overcoming Challenges: Fleet had planned for workforce retirements, but not early retirements caused by changes in the retirement system. Over a two-month period, 40% of fleet staff had either retired or accepted higher paying positions elsewhere. The department partnered with a couple of dealerships to work in the fleet’s facility with its own technicians with an equal shop labor rate. This helped fleet meet temporary staffing needs and allowed technicians to learn new repair techniques from the dealership technicians.

Forest Preserve District of DuPage County, IL

Contact: Michael Webster
Units: 615
Staff: 16
Maint. Facilities: 4
Overcoming Challenges: The fleet has problems finding obsolete and hard-to-find parts for its GM medium-duty dump trucks. GM no longer produces the medium-duty line, and the propane autogas systems on the trucks are no longer manufactured. When a part is back-ordered in the GM system, staff contacts its GM factory rep to begin the search process with its network. Staff also checks aftermarket channels and works with the local hose and fabrication shops to have parts fabricated to expedite the process.

Hillsborough County, FL

Contact: Robert Stine Jr.
Units: 3,800
Staff: 54
Maint. Facilities: 4
Overcoming Challenges: Fleet absorbed financial, procurement, information technology, and acquisition workload from a previously consolidated department that was disbanded. Fleet received two staff members to handle these services and recruited two additional people to absorb the additional workload. Fleet started recurring support meetings to prioritize actions, developed focus groups, and eliminated staff process steps. These actions allowed fleet to receive adequate staff support in order to meet customer needs.

King County Fleet & Metro Transit, WA

Contact: Jennifer Lindwall
Units: 2,955
Staff: 125
Maint. Facilities: 5
Overcoming Challenges: Fleet was challenged with “greening the fleet” to meet the emissions ­reduction goals in King County’s Strategic Climate Action Plan. The division underwent a business analysis to identify new strategies and efficiencies to reduce emissions without compromising service. In addition to growing its fleet of electric vehicles, King County broadened outreach to customers to help identify new efficiencies in their business operations, choose more efficient vehicles, and encourage a commitment to the environment.

New York City Citywide Administrative Services, NY

Contact: Keith Kerman
Units: 28,471
Staff: 1,672
Maint. Facilities: 40
Overcoming Challenges: The Dept. of Citywide Administrative Services-Fleet and the Mayor’s Office released a Clean Fleet Plan to continue implementation of the city’s sustainability plan. The city issued a Request for Information (RFI), receiving 76 official RFI responses that included alternative fuel strategies, vehicle add-ons, infrastructure development, and idle management. Fleet is working with agencies to review the proposals, set up follow-up meetings, and further develop its Clean Fleet strategy.

Orange County, FL

Contact: Bryan Lucas
Units: 3,565
Staff: 65
Maint. Facilities: 1
Overcoming Challenges: Turnover due to retirements has been the fleet’s biggest recent challenge. When fleets know there will be permanent positions coming available, it offers strong applicants the chance to start in a “casual” position. This gets them working quicker and allows fleet to try them out before the permanent positions are filled. Staff members work closely with local technical schools and colleges for recruiting. They post vacant positions on their career sites, offer tours to students, and participate in the schools’ advisory boards.

Sacramento County, CA

Contact: Keith Leech Sr.
Units: 2,300
Staff: 104
Maint. Facilities: 11
Overcoming Challenges: An update to the county’s fleet management information system (FMIS) several years ago was unsuccessful, resulting in very limited use of the system. This prevented the fleet from making data-driven business decisions. Fleet worked with a consultant to identify ways to improve efficiency and use of the FMIS, eventually hiring an FMIS application administrator and contracting with the software vendor to further improve efficiencies.

While the following fleets were not named among the top 50, the accomplishments and efforts of these fleets warrant recognition.

  • Bonneville Power Administration, WA
  • Chesterfield County, VA
  • City of Fayetteville, AR
  • City of Harrisonburg, VA
  • City of Kirkwood, MO
  • City of Moscow, ID
  • City of Orange, CA
  • City of Phoenix, AZ
  • City of Roanoke, VA
  • City of San Jose, CA
  • City of Tyler, TX
  • City of West University Place, TX
  • City of Wichita, KS
  • Cobb County, GA
  • NYC Parks, NY
  • Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, FL
  • Regional Municipality of York, Ontario, Canada
  • Sarasota County, FL
  • State of Delaware
  • Town of Castle Rock, CO
  • Washington State Department of Transportation

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