Using Data as a Tool: How the Smithsonian's FMIS Helped Streamline Operations
The Smithsonian Institution's fleet department has utilized the data harvested by its fleet management system to reduce fleet size, reduce administrative time, hire more technicians, and improve overall operations.
November 2011, Government Fleet - Feature
The Smithsonian's fleet consists of about 1,500 units ranging from passenger vehicles to buses to construction equipment.
Griffiths also began looking into purchasing a fleet management system. He had experience in the past using various systems and ended up choosing FleetWave. One of the benefits of the Web-based system, as opposed to a Web-enabled one, is that users around the world are able to access the up-to-date data, Griffiths said. This point is important considering the institution's spread-out maintenance locations. Another point was that the system was configurable to the needs of the organization. Fleet chose to host the application on its own data center to comply with organizational standards.
Implementation was swift - the fleet department issued a purchase order in September 2007 and went live with its maintenance, fuel, and asset modules in April 2008.
"That just goes to show you the determination of our team, of working long hours to sort out PM cycles, getting all the assets squared away, all the vehicle identification numbers decoded, and all the supporting documentation to set up the basic system to go live with it in April," Griffiths said. Chevin worked with the department to conduct business process reviews, design and test interfaces, migrate data from the current system, install test and production environments, and provide on-site training.
Fleet has been steadily expanding to incorporate all FleetWave modules. It began with commercial fuel cards and has since incorporated its in-house fuel system, a driver module, and tying its parts inventory system into the PM program.
Seeing Immediate Results
One of the benefits of the fleet management system was immediately clear: reduced administrative time through automated data tracking. The entire fleet staff consists of 30 personnel, and of these, only four are administrative, one of which is an analyst, Griffiths said.
The fleet is required to report annually to the Department of Energy and to the General Services Administration into FAST, the Federal Automotive Statistic Tool, which includes types of vehicles, class, fuels, mileage, cost, fuel cost, maintenance, and indirect costs. Before the automated system, three staff members collected this information manually using spreadsheets and documents. After the system was implemented, only one staff member was needed for this task, and other administrators are now able to take on other duties. The software generates 40 metrics each month, which also helps fleet create monthly reports for senior leadership and customers.
"It's streamlined our operations and processes, which has allowed us to be more efficient and utilize our personnel more effectively," Griffiths said.
In addition to federal and monthly reporting, the data has also been essential in helping improve the Smithsonian's vehicle purchases and PM program. Preventive maintenance is now automated, and customers receive an email saying their equipment is due for PM. They are then able to go online to schedule appointments for their vehicles, according to Griffiths.
With the maintenance module, when a work order is generated, it goes to the technician's work station, where he can view vehicle history and perform the necessary work. For repairs, technicians now use Vehicle Maintenance Report System (VMRS) codes to break down the task and document repairs.