SAN BERNARDINO, CA - San Bernardino County can save more than $1 million annually through increased centralization of fleet operations, according to a countywide fleet operations review conducted by Mercury Associates Inc., and released earlier this month.

According to the report, dated July 14, the County operates a fleet of 5,248 vehicles and equipment, In FY-2008-2009, operating costs of the fleet totaled $47 million, and 145 full-time equivalent positions were involved in fleet management activities.

The report states that despite the existence of a central fleet services organization, two departments with major fleet management programs are independent of the central fleet services organization. It stated: "Development of a more centralized fleet management program would enable the County to leverage more competencies, capture economies of scale, reduce duplication of effort, and link related functions." This will result in cost reduction by about $1,239,840 per year. In addition, savings from changes in fueling practices can lead to cost reduction of about $417,000 per year.

The report's recommendations include:

  • Transfer maintenance and repair of Fire Department and Sheriff-Coroner Department vehicles to the Fleet Management Department.
  • Mandate that all departments use the existing fleet management information system.
  • Develop centralized and uniform processes related to fleet asset management.

The report further found that the outsourcing maintenance and repair work in one department to be 10-percent more expensive than having the work done in-house. It recommended the County begin maintaining Sheriff vehicles, but continue to outsource specialty work and services during periods of peak workloads. In addition, all departments should use existing County fuel sites as they cost less per gallon, and increased total fuel volume would further drive down average fuel prices.

The full report can be found here.

In addition, a revised draft of Fleet Management Best Practices was released. Also conducted by Mercury, the report stated stated: "In general, we found the Fleet Management Department to have a well-rounded and professional fleet program that follows industry best management practices in most areas...That is not to say that we did not find room for improvement. However, in Fleet Management's case, which is the operation that we are focused on, these opportunities are mostly around the margin of generally excellent fleet practices."

The Fleet Management Best Practices report lists 40 recommendations for fleet management, which can be found here.

San Bernardino County Supervisor Neil Derry wrote an article for the San Bernardino Sun summarizing the report's findings. He wrote, "This exhaustive look into how our county manages its vehicle fleet gave me a general sense that with some tweaking, we can achieve optimal performance and focus our attention on other areas of the county that also need attention. That is not to say that there aren't any serious flaws in our current operations. However, I am confident that the county will take the necessary steps to fully maximize the savings identified by this study."