The Car and Truck Fleet and Leasing Management Magazine

GPS Navigates PoolCorp in the Right Direction

February 2008, by Grace Lauron - Also by this author

What initially drove PoolCorp to use a GPS system in its delivery vehicles was the desire to become more fuel-efficient and reduce maintenance costs. In doing so, the fleet has also reduced accidents, as well as the unsafe driving behavior that usually causes them.

Managing the PoolCorp Fleet

More than 3,600 employees, 285 locations, and 70,000 wholesale customers worldwide make up PoolCorp, a worldwide wholesale distributor of swimming pool products and related equipment. The fleet management team, based in Covington, La., consists of Fleet Manager Margret Huval, Janet Howell, delivery truck fleet assistant, and Jodie Smith, assigned vehicle fleet assistant.

Huval has been fleet manager at PoolCorp for 31/2 years. She began her career with the company as a fleet assistant. Currently, her duties include servicing the fleet and company drivers throughout the U.S. and Canadian branches. She is responsible for budgeting, vehicle manufacturer negotiations, selecting appropriate vehicles for the selector, implementing cost savings initiatives and programs in conjunction with its fleet management company PHH Arval, providing requested information to company executives, and policies and procedures.

PoolCorp operates approximately 1,300 leased vehicles and forklifts. The fleet includes executive, sales, and administration units, mostly Dodge Ram 1500 Quad trucks and delivery vehicles. These vary from cargo vans and stake beds to flatbeds with Sellick Piggybacks and tractor trailers. While most sales and administration vehicles are kept in service for 32-36 months or 75,000 miles, delivery vehicles are usually replaced after 65 months or 225,000 miles.

Approximately 525 vehicles are assigned to branch managers, business development representatives, and regional sales personnel, with about 512 drivers operating delivery vehicles, Huval said.

"Our company provides driver training on multiple levels, depending on the type of driving the employee is required to do," said Huval.

The fleet management company provided training sessions to branch office managers and the fleet department staff to help monitor driver behavior and give appropriate feedback to drivers.

The GPS technology is only available in delivery vehicles, where personal use is not allowed. Vehicles operated by sales and corporate staff are not equipped with GPS.

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