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.
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.
Fleet management and trucking company owners should consider investing in eco-friendly driver training for their fleet truck drivers. Running a green fleet will decrease your fuel costs, vehicle emissions, reduce fleet vehicle wear and tear, and improve your company’s image. Eco-safe truck driver education courses teach drivers how to eliminate identify and eliminate poor driving habits that waste gas and produce harmful CO2 emissions.
Typically drivers who complete eco-friendly training usually see an improvement in MPG of between 10% and 25%. In addition , green driver training courses can dramatically improve fleet safety with the effect of reducing fleet accident rates and the associated costs. Intelligent route planning and speed control techniques learned in the course can generate substantial fuel economy savings for your entire fleet.
Tracking dozens of fleet vehicles at once is a tough job for any fleet manager. Upcoming vehicle emissions regulations in California are making the job even more challenging, especially because the logistics of ensuring that a non-California truck doesn’t end up on California roads incurring fines could be quite difficult. The California Air Resources Board (CARB) is currently debating a diverse set of regulations that will have a significant impact on fleets operating in California. CARB actually fined several California companies for failing to inspect their diesel trucks. Fleet management should be aware that currently eighteen other states are considering vehicle emission regulations similar to the CARB rules.
Fortunately fleet managers, fleet vehicle owners and truck drivers have an ally on their side – the NAFA Fleet Management Association (NAFA). NAFA is working hard to ensure its members’ needs are being considered in CARB’s decision making process. NAFA recently formed a new sub-committee of NAFA’s Fuels & Technology Advisory Council called the CARB Advisory Council. The primary purpose of the NAFA CARB Advisory Council is to give input to the CA Air Resources Board on regulatory decisions that impact fleet managers in California. The new council plans to meet with CARB leaders on a regular basis in order to promote NAFA’s position of supporting emissions reductions and fuel efficiency instead of mandates that are financially infeasible. In addition, the council will keep NAFA members current on any new or potential legislation that could have an affect on them.
For fleets having a tough time managing the strict emission requirements, they should consider investing in a green fleet GPS management system that can stop wasteful driving habits and reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Excessive Fuel Reports can calculate how much money this is costing and shows how much CO2 is being emitted due to poor driving habits. FieldLogix Green Reports give each vehicle a Green Score and ranks each driver by who is the most efficient. In addition to cutting fuel costs, a GPS tracking system can increase workforce productivity, improve customer service, and helps you to do your part to protect our planet while saving time and money. Each year fleet vehicles burn close to $9 billion of fuel annually due to unnecessary idling and speeding. Chances are each of your fleet vehicles burns up to 800 gallons of fuel per year due to unnecessary idling alone, which costs about $2400 per fleet vehicle annually.
A recent report from New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Office included recommendations that will save NYC taxpayers an estimated $71 million in fleet management cost over the next four years by streamlining government fleet management, centralizing fleet operations, cutting vehicle fuel use, and decreasing the number of fleet vehicles. It’s part of the Mayor’s overall plan to save taxpayers over $500 million over the next four years by significantly increasing government efficiency.
According to the NYC Mayor’s Office report “the city spends approximately $667 million annually on fleet operations — this includes $283 million on maintenance, $120 million for fuel, $14 million for fuel tank compliance, maintenance, and spill remediation, and approximately $250 million for vehicle and equipment procurement. Maintenance expenditures consist of salary, which includes overtime, differential and fringe benefits; overhead – including building maintenance and rent; and vendor expenditures, including parts and maintenance services. Salary alone represents 70% of the NYC’s expenditures for maintenance.”
Bloomberg’s administration wants to centralize the city’s fleet operations. The report showed high quantity of decentralization across the city’s fleet operations which is not very efficient. The city employs more than 1,500 fleet management people that repair vehicles at 126 shops, each with their own set of equipment, staff, and parts inventory. Based on these numbers alone, it is clear that there is room for improvement in the fleet operations department.
Controversial regulations in Florida are now allowing trucks to be able to run 8,000 pounds heavier on non-interstate highways. Despite opposition from the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, the new regulations say tractor-trailers may weigh up to 88,000 pounds on designated routes while fleet loads on interstate highways would continue to be restricted to 80,000 lbs. Several major trucking lobbyists claimed that the trucking industry needed this weight expansion in order to cut high fuel costs and create stability in a tough economy.
The new fleet legislation, signed into law by Governor Charlie Crist, began taking effect in July 2010. Many opponents to the new laws say claim that the legislation, attached to general transportation bills House Bill 1271 and Senate Bill 2362, were moved through the legislative process with no outreach to the local communities in which these heavier fleets would travel. Previous regulations stated that the trucks be must be 4 tons lighter in order to travel safely on Florida roads and highways.
Among the concerns cited by OOIDA are premature highway deterioration, increased maintenance costs, and truck driver safety concerns. Opponents claimed that allowing more weight is dangerous and damaging to local roads. Heavier trucks are harder to stop and accelerate which can cause more accidents. According to their estimates, heavier trucks could cost local and state governments more than $150 million per year to offset additional highway maintenance.
Fleet managers who want to save money on fuel, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve their environmental image should consider becoming a certified partner of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) SmartWay Program. Participation in the EPA’s program is completely voluntary and helps fleet operators and truck drivers to save fuel, save money and help the environment at the same time. Sounds like a win-win for fleets looking to cut costs and go green at the same time. The SmartWay program is a collaboration between the freight industry and the federal government to reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, improve fuel efficiency and strengthen the freight industry as a whole.
The EPA’s SmartWay program identifies products and services that that reduce transportation related costs and emissions such as carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxide. Certification in the SmartWay program requires fleet vehicle operators to use verified low rolling resistance tires, such as GoodYear’s Fuel Max technology tires or Dunlop’s FM series. According to GoodYear, both of these lines of tires can improve fuel efficiency by up to 4%.