Fuel Management

Santa Barbara Expects to Save $61K Through Heavy Equipment Motor Pool

January 07, 2013

The heavy equipment motor pool consists of 16 pieces of equipment shared among 50 users.
The heavy equipment motor pool consists of 16 pieces of equipment shared among 50 users.

SANTA BARBARA, CA – The City of Santa Barbara, Calif., formed its first heavy equipment motor pool in October 2012, expecting to save $35,800 annually and $25,000 in one-time savings through the reduction of three trucks. The City is using INVERS technology for motor pool management.

Central key management eliminates the need to keep track of duplicate keys.
Central key management eliminates the need to keep track of duplicate keys.

The City's heavy-duty pool consists of 16 pieces of equipment — dump trucks, medium-duty flatbed trucks, a crane, and a forklift — shared among 50 users. During the planning process, the City identified an underutilized 10-wheel dump truck, which would have needed an expensive retrofit under the new California emissions laws. Disposing of this dump truck led to annual savings of $18,800. In addition, the one-time savings of $15,000 for the avoided emission upgrade nearly financed the entire equipment pool expansion, according to INVERS. Gary Horwald, fleet manager for the City, expects he will be able to dispose of one more dump truck and a paving truck after the trial phase, which would lead to another $17,000 in annual savings and an avoidance of a $10,000 emissions upgrade for the dump truck.

An INVERS KeyManager box is located right next to key Public Works department offices with vehicles in designated parking spaces nearby. Some of the equipment currently remains available only to certain users to make sure that a vehicle would always be available to those users, especially in emergency situations.

“However, they still need to reserve the equipment, and therefore all trips are logged,” Horwald said.

The City has saved money through pooling both its light-duty and heavy-duty vehicles.
The City has saved money through pooling both its light-duty and heavy-duty vehicles.

The City hopes to extend the availability of those trucks to the whole user group after the trial phase. The City is now able to accurately track the usage of every piece of equipment in the same way that it does with its light-duty motor pool, where billing is by rental dispatch time and miles driven. INVERS expanded its technology for the City to also allow the tracking and billing of motor-on time, which for some heavy equipment, such as the crane and forklift, is more important than the miles driven.

Before starting the motor pool, departments were responsible for daily maintenance work such as fueling, and cleaning or checking oil and lights. “That’s on us now,” Horwald said, “and a real benefit to the users.” Another point of frustration with the previous system evolved around the use of duplicate keys, which is no longer an issue due the central key management and scheduling.

The City of Santa Barbara first introduced the heavy equip­ment pooling concept with the Department of Public Works. “We showed them what we had done with the light-duty pool, looked at their costs and utilization, and pointed out po­tential savings,” Horwald said. “I was fortunate, because up­per management had already seen the success of the light-duty pool and when the con­cept of a heavy equipment pool was introduced, I had the support from the top of the organization.”

The City formed the light-duty pool in 2009 using INVERS technology. Through this initiative, the City was able to take 40 assigned cars and reduce this to 26 pooled cars. This led to savings of $51,240 annually and significantly increased utilization.

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