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The Green Fleet Conference will be taking place in San Diego next month. In light of today’s environmental issues and corporate responsibility expectations, the concept of Green Fleet Management should be important to all fleet managers, whether you have a fleet of one or one thousand. Developing and managing a green fleet requires a thorough knowledge of available products, technologies, and an in-depth cost-benefit analysis, plus much more.
The Green Fleet Management Conference will provide “two intense days of education and dynamic dialogue for green fleet managers,” according to Bob Brown, conference chairman and Automotive Fleet associate publisher. The Green Fleet Management conference “is the only alternative-fuel and technology event that combines and focuses solely on car and truck fleets with an environmental sustainability component,” Brown explained. The Green Fleet event features in-depth education sessions, a first-time ride & drive event, and valuable networking opportunities.
The team at FieldLogix, an industry leading provider of the most unique Green GPS Fleet Management System, is looking forward to the Green Fleet Management event. Not only is it in San Diego where FieldLogix is based, but the Green Fleet Conference will provide attendees with valuable insights, ideas, and examples to help fleet managers create the most cost-effective and environmentally conscious Green Fleet possible for your company.
GPS fleet tracking systems should be used by any and every business involved in field services – even small business with only a few fleet vehicles – and here’s why. Whether you operate a fleet of one or one thousand, the impact of today’s fleet management solutions are universal. It seems now is the prime time to be taking advantage of fleet management solutions — no matter what the size of your fleet. Now, more than ever before, GPS tracking and fleet management solutions are a must-have because without it, you’re leaving money on the table.
When most people think of GPS fleet management, they think of large corporations like FedEx or UPS who operate thousands of trucks across the nation. It’s easy to imagine how using a fleet GPS management system would benefit companies like this. But it’s not as intuitive to realize the huge impact that a GPS fleet management system can have on a business with just a few vehicles. When the GPS fleet tracking industry first began, systems were bulky and very expensive to install and operate, but this certainly isn’t the case today. Over the last few years, fleet management systems have evolved and are much more affordable, reliable and useful than even before. Just as the internet and smartphone technologies have exploded, so have the advancements and capabilities of the telematics industry.
In the past, a small business involved in local field services just couldn’t justify the investment in a GPS fleet management solution. But today this is not the case. The largest growth in the GPS fleet management industry is coming from local service fleets because, for the first time, they are able to experience a significant ROI. Now that GPS fleet tracking and management systems are more affordable than ever before, investing in one makes more sense than ever. First and foremost, a GPS fleet management system improves the bottom line. In light of today’s tough economic climate, small businesses need all the help they can get to increase profits. This is what’s driving the growth in the rapid increase in small business implementation. But in addition to cutting costs, fleet management systems enable better decision making and simply make life easier.
During a summit on distracted driving this week in Washington D.C., U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced new laws restricting mobile phone use and texting specifically geared for truckers. LaHood also announced that a final rule on texting while driving, which affects all commercial drivers, was now “the law of the land.” The rule, which will be effective 30 days after it is published in the Federal Register, essentially codifies current federal enforcement practices. The penalty for conviction is stiff. There is a fine of $2,750 for the truck driver and $11,000 for the carrier. The truck driver can also be disqualified.
During the rulemaking process, FMCSA modified its definition of what “texting” is and what it isn’t. OOIDA’s public comments on the issue urged FMCSA to make distinctions about texting with devices such as GPS fleet management systems, smart phones and laptops. The Association contends that many small-business truckers use phones or laptops for GPS navigation or other functions not related to typing, texting or e-mail. Therefore, those devices should not be completely banned for truck drivers.
FMCSA incorporated some of those distinctions in its final texting rule. According to FMCSA, texting does not include:
“Reading, selecting, or entering a telephone number, an extension number, or voicemail retrieval codes and commands into an electronic device for the purpose of initiating or receiving a phone call or using voice commands to initiate or receive a telephone call; inputting, selecting or reading information on a global positioning system or navigation system; or using a device capable of performing multiple functions (e.g. fleet management systems, dispatching devices, smart phones, citizens band radios, music players, etc.) for a purpose that is not otherwise prohibited in this part.”
GPS fleet tracking devices are being used by Washington County highway superintendent John Deakins Jr. to resolve several fleet management issues such as reducing vehicle misuse, improving employee productivity and improving emergency vehicle response time. “All GPS fleet tracking measures have resulted in lower county fuel expenditures and a more capable fleet, not to mention safer roads for Washington County citizens,” said John Deakins Jr., Washington County, TN, highway superintendent.” Once Deakins Jr. saw how much the GPS fleet tracking devices were able to put an end to fleet vehicle misuse, he realized the fleet management devices could also be used to improve employee productivity. (This is Part Two of a 4 Part Article.)
Before installing GPS fleet tracking devices, Deakins Jr. had heard several accounts of vehicle misuse, motivating him to research online and purchase the fleet tracking devices. For example, Deakins Jr. recalled one truck driver who was only authorized to drive his truck to and from work everyday. However, the truck driver was using the County owned fleet vehicle for personal errands – about 12 miles on average per day. While this may not sound like a lot, according to Deakins, “These trucks only average 11-12 miles per gallon. So the cost in fuel adds up quickly.”
In addition to the personal use of County fleet vehicles, Deakins Jr. acknowledged there were other issues that almost all fleets deal with, such as long lunch breaks and unauthorized time off during work hours. Thanks to the County’s GPS fleet tracking devices, Deakins Jr. can now monitor a driver’s exact location within roughly 10 – 15 feet. He also set speed limits for fleet trucks and automatically receives notification alerts each and every time a truck driver exceeds that limit.
GPS fleet tracking devices are now being used by Washington County to make huge improvements in county operations, monitor employee behavior, productivity and reduce unauthorized vehicle use. Washington County, located in the state of Tennessee, contains over 800 miles of rural highways. So tracking and managing its fleet over 24 pickup trucks 24/7 has been quite a challenge.
Why did Washington County install GPS tracking devices?
Because Washington County is so large and spread out, the County’s highway superintendent, John Deakins Jr., was struggling to manage all of the County’s mobile employees. He had received reports that employees were sometimes taking long lunches and using county vehicles after hours, which was not authorized usage of the County’s fleet vehicles. Before installing GPS tracking devices into the county’s vehicles, pinpointing the truck’s exact locations was nearly impossible. There were times when he needed to locate and dispatch the nearest vehicle and driver to a time-sensitive job. Also Deakins Jr. was concerned about speeding, optimizing routes and reducing fuel consumption due to budget constraints.
Deakins Jr. chose the best solution to solve these fleet management problems. He installed GPS fleet tracking devices into all of his vehicles. The results of installing the GPS system have been impressive. According to Deakins Jr., “We saw a lot of abuse and reports of county vehicle misuse. I went online one day and researched GPS tracking devices. When you have that much territory, it helps to have these devices.”
Over 80 fleet management professionals and fleet solution providers were in attendance at the 100 Best Fleets Seminar held in Santa Ana, CA, August 26 to discuss best fleet management practices and to solutions to current issues in government fleet management. The seminar was presented by Government Fleet magazine. Tom Johnson, founder of the 100 Best Fleets, was the opening speaker at the fleet management event.
John Alley, CAFM, deputy director, fleet services for the City of San Diego, was named Government Fleet’s 2010 Public Sector Fleet Manager of the Year. Congratulations Mr. Alley! Among his notable accomplishments in 2009, Mr. Alley helped save the City of San Diego nearly $12 million through a fleet reduction program that reduced underutilized and obsolete fleet vehicles by more than 300 units. More on Alley’s award-winning fleet practices will be featured in an upcoming issue of Government Fleet Magazine.
The Fleet Management Department in the city of New Orleans, LA, is revising its city employee take-home vehicle policy. The Fleet Management Department is significantly reducing the number of take-home vehicles for city employees, according to a statement from Mayor Mitch Landrieu. As the city faces a huge budget shortfall, take-home cars have been a recurring topic under scrutiny. The new policy, according to Landrieu, reduces the total number of fleet vehicles from 937 to 473, effective Sept 1, 2010. Starting right away, the extra 464 vehicles will now only be used during regular business hours or auctioned off, according to the mayor’s office.
The new policy also eliminates take-home fleet vehicles for those living 40 miles or more outside of New Orleans, “as it is impractical for them to respond to on a 24 hour basis in a timely manner,” said the statement from the mayor’s office.“We are changing the way business is done at City Hall,” said Landrieu. “The revised policy will save hundreds of thousands of dollars annually and is just another way we are streamlining government, eliminating waste and more effectively managing city assets.”
As many cities struggle to cut costs without jeopardizing the safety and well being of citizens, the number of city owned fleet vehicles and equipment is being questioned. A GPS fleet tracking system can help any city to determine the optimal size of its fleet. A GPS fleet system tracks critical vehicle data enabling fleet managers to quickly and easily gain valuable insight into fleet activities.
Fuel costs are one of a fleet manager’s largest expenses. Applying the best fleet fuel practices such as idling reduction efficient routing are highly effective approaches to reducing fuel costs. Using a web-based fleet GPS management system, purchasing fuel-efficient vehicles, and relocating a key fueling station are also ways to reduce fuel consumption and employee hours.
Fleet Managers should apply the following basic principles of good fuel management because these are proven to be the most effective approach trimming fuel costs and consumption. Once these “best of” fleet management practices are implemented and consistently executed, innovative solutions can further promote control of one of fleet’s most expensive operational costs. The Best Fleet Fuel Management Principles include:
- Right-sizing fleet vehicles.
- Idling reduction.
- Fuel-efficient vehicles.
- Consistent scheduled maintenance.
- Eco-Smart driver education.
- Tracking fuel expenses.
- Efficient route planning.
The following article discusses how government fleets around the US are successfully managing and reducing fleet fuel expenses. This Part One of a Series of Articles. Next to to depreciation, fuel is the second greatest public sector fleet expense. Municipal, county, and state fleets reveal their best practices in reducing fleet fuel expenses.
Identify underutilized vehicles and equipment with high maintenance costs
The City of San Antonio’s Fleet Management Department reviews fuel requirements and usage, vehicle mileage, and fleet maintenance costs to identify underutilized vehicles and unnecessary equipment with high maintenance costs with fleet tracking telematics equipment. San Antonio’s fleet is comprised of approximately 5,050 vehicles and equipment, mostly sedans (1,500) and specialized equipment (3,000-plus), including refuse trucks, trailers, and off-road equipment. The city has been successful in reducing the size of its fleet and when necessary purchase more fuel efficient fleet vehicles.
“In an effort to further reduce fuel costs and emissions, the City is currently evaluating the introduction of both E-10 (10-percent ethanol) and B-5 (5-percent biodiesel) fuels,” said Florencio Peña, fleet manager, City of San Antonio. “Compressed natural gas (CNG) is used to power 30 of the City’s side-loader refuse trucks, and propane has been used for several years to power both vehicles and equipment.”
Replaced outdated fuel card reader systems with an automated fuel fleet management system
FiedlLogix CEO, Yukon Palmer, will be speaking at the Green Fleet Management Conference on Wednesday, October 13, 2010, in Palo Alto, CA put on by Agrion. In his discussion, Yukon Palmer, a green fleet telematics expert, will provide attendees with valuable insights, ideas, and examples to help fleet managers create the most cost-effective and environmentally conscious Green Fleet possible for your company. Telematics is the use of technology to manage fleet vehicles and Mr. Palmer will discuss how it can help make your fleet greener and more efficient.
Mr. Palmer’s speech will reiterate that in light of today’s environmental issues and corporate responsibility expectations, the concept of Green Fleet Management should be important to all fleet managers, whether you have a fleet of one or one thousand. Developing and managing a green fleet requires a thorough knowledge of available products, technologies, and an in-depth cost-benefit analysis, plus much more.