Bright Ideas: Technology

Effective uses of technology include a keyless internal work order system, online auctions, and walkie-talkies to replace traditional radio systems.

June 2010, Government Fleet - Feature

by Staff

Keyless Work Order System

San Antonio Water Systems developed an in-house system to meet fleet work order requirements. The system allows keyless development of a work order and is completely mouse-driven. "This allows for standardized system codes, spelling, and verbage," said David Kilbourne, director of fleet, for the Texas-based agency. "The use of technology allows us to target vehicles for repairs, replacement, or reduction in fleet size."

Cities Benefit from Online Auctions

The City of Columbus, Ohio began the transformation to sell City motorized assets via an online auction program in 2009. "The old method was a local public auction that had a very limited, local audience," said Bill Burns, fleet operations manager, City of Columbus.

Light-duty assets were sold at a monthly police impound auction while heavy-duty assets were sold once a year through a sealed mail-bid sale. "The new online auction enabled the City to sell 523 motorized assets for just under $1.1 million.

"This is an amazing 205-percent increase in auction revenue from the previous method," said Burns. "The very first auction netted a total of 335 bidders from 27 states, Canada, and Mexico. Revenue from online auctions of fire apparatus increased bv 43 percent on average over the previous auction method."

Maintaining a fleet of 250 units, technology applications for the City of Fernandina Beach, Fla., are often limited due to cost, according to Jeremiah Glisson, fleet manager. "Nonetheless, we have utilized advanced technology in several ways. We sell all surplus vehicles and equipment electronically, which allows a quick disposal as vehicles are sold online via an eBay auction. This has provided the City with considerable income as we net 500-percent more return than previous auction by cry methods," said Glisson.

Fleets Boost Talk Time

Fleet staff at Arapahoe County, Colo.; City of Tacoma, Wash.; and City of Claremore, Okla., use Nextel cell phones with walkie-talkie capability to communicate with one another.

"For our fleet communications, we have transferred to Nextel cell radio system and expanded the network to tow truck companies, key customer staff, and suppliers for immediate response and communication. We found Nextel system less costly, compact, and more efficient than the traditional radio system," said Fred Chun, fleet division manager, City of Tacoma.

"We are able to reach everyone no matter where they are on our lot or off-site during working hours for snow storm duty," said Donald Carson, fleet manager for Arapahoe County.

"This improved communications, especially with the street department and sanitation crews," according to Tim Miller, director of utilities for the City of Claremore.

Minnesota Agency Develops Reservations Database

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency developed a new vehicle reservations database, which has increased opportunities for carpooling and promoted use of the most efficient vehicle for the trip, according to Elizabeth Sheridan, fleet manager for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.

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