Recognizing the 2016 Leading Fleets

July 2016, Government Fleet - Feature

by Staff

Many of  the Leading Fleets awards recipients are pictured here after The Honors Celebration at the Government Fleet Expo & Conference on June 21.
Many of  the Leading Fleets awards recipients are pictured here after The Honors Celebration at the Government Fleet Expo & Conference on June 21.

The Leading Fleets awards program recognizes public sector fleet organizations for their leadership, efficiency, ability to successfully overcome challenges, and vision for the future. The award, open to public fleets, encourages fleets to strive for excellence. In addition to the rankings for the top 20 fleets, the award also recognizes fleets in size categories to distinguish the differing challenges fleets of various sizes face.

This year’s award is sponsored by Ford. 

We thank this year’s judges for dedicating many hours to review applications and lend their expertise to the industry: 

  • Paul Condran, fleet services manager, City of Culver City, Calif.
  • Craig Croner, CPFP, administrative services manager, City of Boise, Idaho
  • Sam Lamerato, CPFP, retired fleet superintendent, City of Troy, Mich.
  • Pete Scarafiotti, CAFM, CEM, CPFP, fleet director and automotive engineer, City of Mesa, Ariz.
  • Doug Weichman, CAFM, director of fleet management, Palm Beach County, Fla.

No. 1 Small Fleet (499 or fewer assets): City of Buckeye, Ariz.

The Buckeye fleet, with 410 vehicles, exhibits leadership by having technicians set goals that are in line with key performance indicators as well as being involved with industry associations and through an internship program with a high school and community colleges. It ensures competitiveness by establishing a labor rate that is lower than neighboring maintenance facilities and saved more than $43,000 in one year by performing in-house warranty repairs.

Its five-year plan is to reduce its carbon footprint by 5% and replace 10% of its fleet with alternative-energy vehicles by 2020.

“This award is a testament to the entire fleet staff who worked tirelessly in the past seven years to ensure that we are where we are today,” said Mike DePaulo, CPFP, fleet manager. “Being ranked No. 1 of all small fleets says that we did it right, and we will continue to do it right.”

The City of Buckeye consistently exceeds its performance goals in availability, preventive maintenance, customer
satisfaction, billed hours, and quick turnaround. Photo Courtesy of City of Buckeye
The City of Buckeye consistently exceeds its performance goals in availability, preventive maintenance, customersatisfaction, billed hours, and quick turnaround. Photo Courtesy of City of Buckeye

No. 1 Mid-Size Fleet (500-999 assets): City of Bellevue, Wash.

The City of Bellevue fleet of 889 vehicles is governed by a four-­person Fleet and Communications Management team. The fleet’s involvement in the industry allows it to learn and employ best practices. It maintains ASE Blue Seal certification, outsources work when appropriate, and has a strong remarketing program.

The fleet’s five-year strategic plan includes looking into a new facility, pursuing additional insourcing opportunities, and replacing its aging fueling infrastructure.

“Entering the Leading Fleets contest offered us the opportunity to review current practices and helped us place renewed focus on very specific areas. Receiving the award as the No. 1 mid-size fleet was a tremendous honor and is testimony to all the hard work and dedication of the entire fleet team,” said Patrick Spencer, fleet administrator.

The Bellevue fleet has a staff of 24 employees and has been an ASE Blue Seal facility for seven years. Photo Courtesy of City of Bellevue
The Bellevue fleet has a staff of 24 employees and has been an ASE Blue Seal facility for seven years. Photo Courtesy of City of Bellevue

No. 1 Large Fleet (1,000 or more assets): City of Columbus, Ohio

With 6,280 vehicles, the City of Columbus fleet was named the No. 1 large fleet as well as the No. 1 overall fleet. For more information on this operation, click here.

Each City of Columbus fleet employee contributes to the award by being efficient and working on new ­initiatives. Photo Courtesy of Columbus
Each City of Columbus fleet employee contributes to the award by being efficient and working on new ­initiatives. Photo Courtesy of Columbus

The top 20 fleets are ranked below:

1 City of Columbus, OH

Contact: Kelly Reagan
Units: 6,280
Staff: 121
Maint. Facilities: 4
Overcoming Challenges: When Ford eliminated the Crown Victoria and the Police Department began advocating for SUVs, which fleet opposed due to fuel efficiency concerns, fleet staff responded with a compromise. Fleet worked with Police to find a solution in the form of an anti-idling device. The system automatically turns off the engine once idling exceeds a certain amount of time but does not affect auxiliary equipment. The system was installed on 94 cruisers in 2015 and resulted in a 26% reduction in idle time.

2 City of Fort Wayne, IN

Contact: Larry Campbell, CPFP
Units: 1,957
Staff: 29
Maint. Facilities: 2
Overcoming Challenges: Departments have grown significantly in the past few years. Fleet separated each department and division using class codes to show that it is unbiased and to ensure that turnaround time and fleet availability is equal for each department. It found that while the overall city vehicle availability may be high, it might be low for one department. Fleet runs a report daily to ensure the numbers are about the same across user departments and to see why there might be any differences.

3 Montgomery County, MD

Contact: Bill Griffiths
Units: 3,419
Staff: 204
Maint. Facilities: 13
Overcoming Challenges: Staff needed to meet and exceed performance targets on reliability, availability, and preventive maintenance (PM) compliance in the midst of a right-­sizing initiative. Existing staff members formed a training, quality assurance, and reliability team. They created training trees for career growth, administered more than 30 training classes, and partnered with the local college. This approach resulted in a 26% increase in reliability, a 98% PM compliance rate, a 27% decrease in downtime, and a 6% decrease in cents per mile.

4 City of Tulsa, OK

Contact: Brian Franklin, CPFP
Units: 3,120
Staff: 79
Maint. Facilities: 4
Overcoming Challenges: Customers weren’t adhering to preventive maintenance (PM) schedules because they didn’t want to take units required for critical tasks out of service and because PM schedules didn’t accommodate their work shifts. Fleet opened a PM-­only shop for heavy equipment and outsourced light-­duty PMs to a local vendor that had 12 citywide locations, extended hours, and Saturday service. Fleet staff also ensured motor pool vehicles were available to those getting PMs and created an online PM scheduler. PM compliance now exceeds 95%.

5 County of San Diego, CA

Contact: Sharyl Blackington
Units: 4,105
Staff: 61
Maint. Facilities: 8
Overcoming Challenges: With the integration of a volunteer fire department into the county Fire Authority, the fire fleet increased by 60%. Fleet faced a shortage of manpower and ­certified fire mechanics to maintain and repair the vehicles. Using industry maintenance and repair units (MRUs) to calculate needs, fleet received approval for two additional full-time technicians. Eight technicians attended training and became certified fire mechanics. Fleet added a mobile service truck and is working on retrofitting a satellite maintenance facility to primarily support the fire fleet.

6 City of Houston, TX

Contact: Victor Ayres
Units: 11,685
Staff: 378
Maint. Facilities: 25
Overcoming Challenges: Reduced capital budgets make vehicle replacement a challenge. For light-duty vehicles, fleet created a shared motor pool program and in 2015, expanded it from three locations to 12. The shared motor pool vehicles have a 50% increase in utilization through better management and telematics. This allowed fleet to eliminate 88 vehicles and eliminated the planned purchase of another 75 vehicles.

7 City of Buckeye, AZ

Contact: Michael DePaulo, CPFP
Units: 410
Staff: 7.5
Maint. Facilities: 1
Overcoming Challenges: In order to attract and retain qualified employees, the fleet created a new job classification, Master Technician. Qualifications include being ASE Master certified for automobiles as well as medium-heavy trucks and five years of experience. Fleet also created a tool maintenance allowance, creating a policy that provides increasing yearly allowances based on how many years of service the technician has.

8 City & County of Denver, CO

Contact: Todd Richardson
Units: 2,163
Staff: 89
Maint. Facilities: 7
Overcoming Challenges: A new product line of side loader refuse trucks continually failed due to technician and operator unfamiliarity. After collaborating with the dealer and manufacturer, fleet sent technicians to factory training. It then developed a training program for operators to identify and address signs of problems preemptively. Fleet also rebuilt the preventive maintenance program to become a predictive maintenance program based on staff members’ greater knowledge base of the vehicles. These efforts increased Solid Waste equipment availability from 80% to 91% in the span of 12 months.

9 Lee County, FL

Contact: Marilyn Rawlings
Units: 1,850
Staff: 30
Maint. Facilities: 2
Overcoming Challenges: Lower taxes in the past few years have resulted in equipment life being extended well beyond the norm, with repair costs escalating and a reduction in fleet personnel. Local vendors no longer carried the parts or equipment inventory they used to stock, so acquisition times were extended significantly. As a result, equipment had major, time-­consuming repairs, parts were back-ordered, no back-up equipment was available, and crew and equipment downtime escalated. Fleet implemented various solutions, including conducting off-site repairs and increasing vendor involvement.

10 Manatee County, FL

Contact: Michael Brennan, CEM
Units: 1,357
Staff: 39
Maint. Facilities: 4
Overcoming Challenges: Fleet’s most significant challenge has been keeping scheduled technological, safety, and facility advancements on schedule as it constructed a new regional facility while maintaining service levels. Fleet completed a major upgrade of its fleet software, added telematics to 50 additional units, and continued to automate its parts operation. It expanded its wireless fuel management system and commenced installations on off-road equipment. Fleet recorded more than 800 direct contact training hours in fiscal year 2015 and stayed on schedule to open its facility.

11 City of Tempe, AZ

Contact: Kevin Devery
Units: 1,128
Staff: 30
Maint. Facilities: 2
Overcoming Challenges: Tempe’s biggest challenge was designing, procuring, funding, and installing a compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling station for its refuse trucks. The city has 11 CNG refuse units and is committed to purchasing more CNG units. After receiving capital improvement funding for the project, staff worked with engineering and the transit division to develop the plans for infrastructure. The site will have two fast-fill pumps that can fill up to 25 trucks, with the capability to expand.

12 City of Long Beach, CA

Contact: Dan Berlenbach
Units: 2,016
Staff: 97
Maint. Facilities: 8
Overcoming Challenges: Fleet staff implemented a new fleet management system while making significant business practice improvements and continuing to provide responsive service. Steps taken to overcome it included: using temporary staff to identify and correct database errors; drafting fleet supervisors from the floor to analyze system information and perform detailed setup; and updating computers. Staff members received intensive training and now understand the driving factors in the program, allowing fleet to pinpoint service gaps effectively and address them.

13 City of Anaheim, CA

Contact: Julie Lyons
Units: 1,100
Staff: 30
Maint. Facilities: 1
Overcoming Challenges: The fleet is facing an aging workforce. Fleet actively promotes cross training and has multiple people trained in the same tasks to minimize productivity loss when an employee retires — or is promoted as a result of another retirement. Management re-classed all technician positions in order to raise the pay level and provide a more linear career path. It also incentivizes ASE and fire certifications, and it offers training, mentoring, and guidance for those technicians who want to leave the floor and become managers.

14 City of Moline, IL

Contact: J.D. Schulte
Units: 380
Staff: 11
Maint. Facilities: 1
Overcoming Challenges: Justifying a green fleet can be difficult when data is not available. Fleet staff wanted to try out propane autogas mowers, but no historical costs were available yet. What staff did know was that a propane autogas mower cost $1,500 more than a gasoline mower. To overcome this cost, fleet staff began looking into incentives. It received $10,500 from two organizations, which exceeded the additional cost of the propane autogas units and allowed the city to purchase the units.

15 City of Fort Worth, TX

Contact: Wayne Corum
Units: 3,513
Staff: 108
Maint. Facilities: 3
Overcoming Challenges: The city’s vehicle replacement program did not coincide with the budget process, which prevented vehicles from being encumbered the same year as it was procured. Fleet formed a process improvement team with members from various departments. The team identified the barriers that affect the timely procurement of vehicles and equipment and took steps to solve the problem. The vehicle replacement list was updated and published by December 2015, and replacement meetings were scheduled to meet the city’s FY-2017 budget cycle.

16 City of Bellevue, WA

Contact: Fleet Team
Units: 889
Staff: 24
Maint. Facilities: 1
Overcoming Challenges: Fleet’s usual operational method of regarding upfitting and remarketing vehicles as filler work — and placing priority on equipment already in service — created idle equipment and bottlenecks in and around the shop. Customers expressed their frustration in surveys. In 2015, the fleet created a new program to dedicate existing staff and shop space to this work as well as a scheduler. This eliminated bottlenecks, and fleet staff is delivering vehicles on time more consistently.

17 Alameda County, CA

Contact: Doug Bond
Units: 1,080
Staff: 15
Maint. Facilities: 3
Overcoming Challenges: Budget has continued to be the fleet’s biggest challenge, which it has tackled with technology. Fuel accounts for approximately one third of the department’s budget. Using grant funding, the county purchased hybrid and electric vehicles, which allowed it to save an estimated $475,000 in fuel costs. Fleet has also upgraded its fuel sites and installed GPS devices in more than 400 vehicles to reduce fuel consumption. Finally, its collaborative fuel purchase is estimated to save $250,000 over the five-year contract.

18 City of Dublin, OH

Contact: J. Darryl Syler
Units: 254
Staff: 9
Maint. Facilities: 1
Overcoming Challenges: Fleet wanted to fully utilize its snow plow trucks in the off season. Dump trucks are used throughout the year, but not all are fully used in the summer. With the Streets and Utilities division, fleet staff developed a spec for a multi-use or swap loader vehicle. This allows the city to change beds for better use of the truck. Having a multi-use vehicle will allow fleet to reduce the number of vehicles needed and to obtain optimal use of the asset year round.

19 City of Milwaukee, WI

Contact: Jeffrey Tews, CPFP
Units: 3,076
Staff: 105
Maint. Facilities: 5
Overcoming Challenges: Fleet staff is responsible for contacting 200 drivers and support staff during snow operation call-outs. This task involved pagers and six staff members spending up to two hours on the phones, any time, day or night. Fleet automated the call-out process, utilizing cell phones and an automated community messaging system. Fleet staff sends a detailed message and text to a list of people, who can acknowledge the message by pressing 1. The system retries any no-responses and reports all results. There has been a significant reduction in response time, as well as savings of more than $30,000.

20 County of San Bernardino, CA

Contact: Roger Weaver, CAFM, CPFP, CPM
Units: 6,015; Staff: 81
Maint. Facilities: 6
Overcoming Challenges: Fleet implemented a new fleet management information system and encountered various problems with the system and implementation. Staff worked with the provider to get additional training, requested enhancements for identified problems, collaborated with other fleets for implementation strategies, and created user committees. The system is now meeting the fleet’s needs and its use is continually improving.

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