The Car and Truck Fleet and Leasing Management Magazine

Sims Helps Propel Fleet to Industry Forefront

June 2010, by Cheryl Knight - Also by this author

Michael Sims, fleet operations manager for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, was awarded Automotive Fleet's 2010 Professional Fleet Manager of the Year honor. Sims was recognized April 25 in a special ceremony at the NAFA Fleet Management Association's (NAFA) Institute & Expo in Detroit. He was selected by a 32-member judging panel, including past winners, manufacturers, auctions, fleet management services, dealers, and the media.

Instituted in 1985, the award is sponsored by Automotive Fleet magazine, Wheels Inc., and the Automotive Fleet and Leasing Association (AFLA).
"I was totally surprised and honored," Sims said. "I am grateful for a dedicated team of fleet professionals who help us manage our fleet. The other nominees were so deserving, and any of them would have been outstanding choices."

The AF Professional Fleet Manager recognizes an experienced and proficient fleet manager who has demonstrated special business acumen in developing and executing key management policies in all areas.

Qualified nominees are full-time commercial fleet managers who control a company-owned or leased fleet in excess of 100 cars and light trucks combined.

Sharing Secrets of Success

A 36-year industry veteran, Sims directs a global fleet of more than 12,500 vehicles, headquartered in Salt Lake City. His overall responsibilities include planning and sourcing vehicles worldwide.

Sims also works on manufacturer agreements, including collaborating with purchasing to ensure vehicles are acquired at best price available; vehicle specification using four different selector lists; specification and purchase of all vehicles in the United States and Canada; and assistance on global agreements and vehicle recommendations. He also serves as the financial information source for vehicle budgets.

Among Sims' notable achievements are creating an improved lifecycle cost tool for purchasing decisions, implementing a GPS-based system that led to improved driving habits and fewer accidents, replacing the current fleet management system with a true global system, and standardizing global fleet processes by implementing rules, metrics, consolidated information, and inventories.

Michael Sims (center), fleet operations director for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and 2010 Fleet Manager of the Year, poses with the award sponsors, Ed Bobit, (left), publisher of Automotive Fleet, and Jim Frank, CEO of Wheels Inc. at the presentation ceremony.

Sims' industry affiliations include membership in NAFA, Rocky Mountain Fleet Management Association, and AFLA, serving on the organization's Commercial Fleet Sounding Board. Other activities include chairing GM's U.S. and Global Fleet Sounding Boards and serving on the Ford Fleet Advisory Board.

The secrets of Sims' success? He lists knowledge, expertise, technology, and partnerships.

"I think we won the award because our fleet is respected in our industry. We are willing to share our knowledge and expertise with others. We are also valued participants in manufacturer sounding boards and have been for the past 20 years," Sims stated.

Sims and his team are also considered cutting-edge by peers and have established partnership relationships in every area of the fleet industry. In fact, Sims said they are more than partners, they are also friends.
"Our association with our friends and partners is very important. We communicate often and share best practices," he said.

A 26-year Church staff member, Sims said working for the Church is unlike any other organization for which he had worked.

"There is a sense of dedication and purpose that far exceeds a profit-and-loss statement," Sims stated. "We in fleet move a great work forward in serving the needs of our members and bringing souls unto Christ. As a division, we share a strong work ethic and a level of dedication surpassing any level of dedication of any group I have every worked with. Call it a dedication to a higher purpose."

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