Photo courtesy of Denver International Airport.

Photo courtesy of Denver International Airport.

Denver International Airport is expanding its use of telematics this year in an initiative that would double the number of units equipped with the technology, said Jeff Booton, the director of fleet management.

The fleet management unit will equip 325 highly utilized units of the 1,700 under management. Telematics systems have already been added to 397 units. The project had been partially funded through grant funding.

"We received grant money for that through our regional air council," Booton said. "They paid us about $78,000, which covered all of the installation costs and 80% of the hardware costs for that system, so that was a really good deal for us."

In addition to reducing emissions and fuel costs, Booton hopes that the system will help with route planning for its maintenance vehicles. Currently, the department's snow team is creating a geofence for its snow removal vehicles and plans to use the telematics data to determine the best route around the airport.

The telematics initiative is one of four major initiatives begun in 2015 to modernize and improve the efficiency of the fleet's management. The department also designed a maintenance workflow process, created customer specification agreements, and revamped its preventative maintenance program.

The airport is the sixth busiest airport in the country. It's owned by the City and County of Denver, and its Fleet Management Department includes 74 mechanics, analysts, administrative staff, and managers. The team manages the airport’s 950 vehicles and 750 other assets, including trailers and specialty equipment, and maintains the fire and police departments’ fleets. They’ve also spent the past year completely changing their system.

Photo courtesy of Denver International Airport.

Photo courtesy of Denver International Airport.

The new maintenance workflow process stemmed from a legacy system that wasn't meeting the needs for fleet management. The department designed a physical and virtual workflow process to help manage the work coming in while keeping track of downtime, down for parts time, and other factors that affect operations.

In 2015, the department also created new customer specification agreements. The team now has sit-down meetings with all customers to discuss the customers’ specific needs.

“If they’re driving a Chevy Tahoe, we talk to them and say ‘can you use an Equinox?,’" Booton said. "It’s a little smaller, still gets the job done, and we were able to save around $60,000 last year just in right-sizing based on those user specification agreements.”

The department has also given their preventative maintenance program for snow fleet a complete overhaul. Booton says that the airport has one of the largest snow fleets around, with over 700 assets dedicated to snow. Fleet Management usually conducts preventative maintenance for its snow fleet over the summer, which takes long hours and high overtime costs. Looking at three years of the program, the team analyzed manpower and available hours and space to build a programmatic schedule.

Booton was a finalist at NAFA's Fleet Excellence Awards this year for outstanding achivement in public fleet management.