Fuel Management

Focusing on Fleet Management

November 2007, Government Fleet - Feature

by Chad Simon

Today’s fleet managers need the ability to cost-effectively manage a public sector fleet as expenditures continue to rise.

MAXIMUS Asset Solutions’ FleetFocus system is a Web-based fleet management solution designed to offer maintenance cost reductions and asset tracking while improving fleet productivity and efficiency, according to the company.

FuelFocus, also offered by MAXIMUS, supports continuous, real-time fuel management over a variety of communication platforms. FuelFocus can help fleets improve accountability for fuel purchases, offer consumption savings of up to 15 percent, and reduce waste by 10-20 percent, according to company figures.

Government Fleet spoke to three public sector fleet managers to find out how these two systems helped control their fleet expenditures. Here’s what they had to say.

Salt Lake City Tracks Data
Margaret Chambers, director, Division of Fleet Operations, Salt Lake City, manages a total fleet of 7,360 vehicles, of which 768 are either hybrid or alt-fuel (E-85, CNG, electric). She is responsible for both fleet and fuel management.

During the 1997 general legislative session, the Utah state legislature created the Division of Fleet Operations (DFO) to consolidate the state fleet. The DFO issued an RFP for a fleet management system that would capture all information for vehicles, attached equipment, preventive maintenance, repair, reservations, drivers, and fueling transactions. That summer, City fleet management purchased the FleetFocus system to address these issues.

In addition to the system, Salt Lake City’s fleet uses an outside vendor’s fuel card program, which automatically interfaces with FleetFocus to track fuel inventory.

“We use FleetFocus to upload fuel transactions received from the vendor daily,” said Chambers. “We also use it to track fueling for low-utilization sites that do not have automated gas-card readers by setting up fuel tanks and entering the fueling information manually using internal fuel tickets.”

Agency fleet personnel, auditors, and management review fuel transaction reports online and in real-time on the fleet’s secured reports page.

“By using this system, we have developed many secured Web reports,” said Chambers. “One report gives miles per gallon by vehicle compared to manufacturer specifi cations. This report may indicate whether a vehicle is not using the correct fuel card, correctable driving behavior (i.e., aggressive driving or long idle times), required repair, or possible misuse of a fuel card.”

Atlanta Monitors Discrepancies
Jan McIntyre, fleet services director, City of Atlanta, is responsible for a 5,000-vehicle fleet, of which 3,200 are onroad, 77 running on CNG.

“We decided to go with FuelFocus in November 2005 to better track our fuel utilization in real-time,” said McIntyre. “FuelFocus uses only one fuel key, whereas our previous system used two keys. One of this system’s unique features is that it is a module of our fleet management system; therefore, we would not need to have a program written to communicate through our fuel system.”

According to McIntyre, city fleet management was interested in acquiring online real-time fuel usage and equipment mileage tracking. “The system’s user-friendly, real-time capabilities enable us to more readily monitor discrepancies that may arise,” she said.

University Avoids Privatization
Bryan Flansburg, CAFM, director of transportation services, University of Colorado-Boulder, is responsible for the university’s fleet administration and lease, garage, and driver-training operations. He also manages the University of Colorado’s health science center fleets at both Boulder and Denver campuses.

His current active fleet consists of 586 units, which include neighborhood electric vehicles (NEV); compact, mid-size, and full-size automobiles, pickups, and vans; one-ton cube vans; 26,000-lb. GVW or greater dump trucks, cube vans, and flatbeds; garbage trucks; and buses with capacities ranging from 26-68 passengers.

The university’s fleet also features five hybrids and three CNG buses. All of its diesel-powered buses, dump trucks, and garbage trucks run on biodiesel.

“Our fleet went live with FleetFocus in July 1999,” said Flansburg. “We had an inhouse system with Y2K issues that needed to be replaced. The university was moving toward a new financial system with the capability of supporting Oracle databases.”

The university’s fleet uses the system for its motor pool, shop scheduling, barcode, and replacement analysis modules. “We also use InfoCenter and MaxQ, which support the interface between FleetFocus and our financial system. The notifi cation module alerts drivers when their vehicle is due for service,” said Flansburg.

Fleet management originally implemented FleetFocus to acquire vehicle maintenance, fuel, accident, motor pool, vehicle operator, shop operations, and external fuel information. “InfoCenter allows us to view reports online based on live events,” he says.

In 2005, the university opted for out-of-state fleet management. “During this process, the university’s Board of Regents asked us why we didn’t privatize fleet management,” said Flansburg. “I had already done my homework with information extracted from FleetFocus about how many hours the mechanics flag; how many daily, weekly, and monthly rentals had gone out of our motor pool; and how many hours our buses were rented. I was able to inform the Board of Regents that by keeping the fleet in-house, we would be able to save a half-million dollars a year.”

Flansburg also uses an outside fuel card vendor, which imports directly into MAXIMUS products for easy fuel-cost tracking. “We also have some in-house-built access databases, which connect through an ODBC connection to the MAXIMUS tables. One of the databases searches for driver availability based on their class schedule and the motor pool module. The scheduler puts in the beginning and ending date and time of a particular bus charter run that we are attempting to fill, and the system returns the available drivers and phone numbers for management to contact,” explained Flansburg.

For more information about FleetFocus and FuelFocus, visit www.assetworks.com/fleet.cfm or www.assetworks.com/fuel.cfm.

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