The City of Portland, Ore., CityFleet Division was recognized as a Certified Fleet Management Operation (CFMO) by the Government Fleet Management Alliance (GFMA) in June. According to Jim Wright, the associate director of the GFMA, John Hunt, CPFP, the city’s fleet manager, knew right away he wanted to get certified and went after it.
In 2006, Hunt and his staff began making the necessary improvements to each of the 20 individual components that make up the certification.
According to Hunt, industry competitiveness is the name of the game. “Being industry competitive means that the likelihood of an outside agency coming in and taking over our work is reduced because we have all of our ducks lined up, as they say,” he explained. “It really hardens up your organization.”
Taking the Necessary Steps
Staff members started their efforts by reevaluating the fleet’s parts inventory. They decided to move it to a centrally located section of the shop and began using features in the AssetWorks FleetFocus fleet management system to help better track parts information. With the new layout, stock numbers were created and cross referenced, and the process now aligns with industry standards. The changes reduced the steps required to access parts, saving time and improving the inventory process. FleetFocus also allows for highly efficient barcode tracking with hand-held scanners. The result was a negligible 0.007% variance for the end of the year count, compared to the team’s 1% goal.
Next, Hunt and his staff started using a fuel management system with a computer chip on each vehicle that improved customer satisfaction, accountability, and billing. CityFleet also upgraded its fuel tank level and leak detection monitoring system, improving regulatory compliance and daily fuel availability.
A particular challenge Hunt experienced was while trying to educate customers about the value of preventive maintenance. “We had to help our customers understand that the vehicles would actually be available to them more often if they are properly maintained,” Hunt said. As CityFleet worked to provide better service to its customers, this included developing good communication to help those with whom they work. The result is that Portland’s fleet is up to 95% or better for overall preventive maintenance.
What Hunt appreciates about the certification process is that it provides external independent validation and value for governmental fleets. “Of course things happen — there are market fluctuations or the agency’s governing body could change, but the goal is to make it difficult for an outside agency to come in and do things at a greater value than us.” The CFMO certifies CityFleet as “industry competitive,” giving credibility to its fleet operation.
Something Hunt finds extremely valuable about the certification is the leg-up it provides for the fleet. When hiring mechanics, he said, “Often they mention they’ve heard about how well the organization is run and they’d like to be a part of that. I’m very proud we’re both a service provider of choice and an employer of choice.”