Photo courtesy of Wheels Inc.

Photo courtesy of Wheels Inc.

In November 2013, a group consisting of associates from fleet management service provider Wheels Inc. and some of its many clients met at the 2013 Wheels Results+ Fleet Summit to showcase some fleet management success stories and give everyone a chance to network with peers to share ideas.

"It's all about results; we play a part in this, but you all make it happen," said Joe McDonald, Wheels' senior director of account management, during the Summit.The event was preceded by an award ceremony the evening before where Wheels clients were honored for their past year's efforts.

The day's presentations by five award winners highlighted recent successes in the five Results+ optimal fleet measures: total cost management (TCM), integration and control, risk mitigation, driver productivity and satisfaction, and fleet administration and ease.

Reducing Costs Through Modernization

TCM winner and ADP Senior Director of Global Procurement and Director of Fleet Management Michael Bieger was the first to take the podium and explained how the modernization of his 1,550-vehicle fleet has improved fuel economy and reduced costs by approximately $375,000 in fiscal year 2013 alone.

"We always build in that 'Star-Trek-Scotty-fudge' factor when explaining projected costs to management," Bieger joked, adding, "We have to justify the results."

ADP has seen more than just a reduction in fuel cost and a jump in driver satisfaction though. The company reduced the average depreciation of its vehicles by updating 53 percent of its fleet, reduced gross cost per mile by more than 10 percent in the past three fiscal years, and reduced rental days by 18 percent this year through compliance enforcement.

Integrating New Programs

SCI, represented by Julian Davis, director of business support services, and Emily Richberg, fleet manager, next showed  attendees how reviewing and updating its fuel and registration programs allowed the company to sell nearly $1 million of excess vehicle inventory and disposal, with most of it selling at auction to capitalize on resale market opportunities. This also took a tremendous strain off the staff at the more than 1,800 locations around the country.

"We let the locations focus on families, and we focused on fleets," explained Richberg, whose company provides funeral, cremation, and cemetery services.

Jim Barnitz, Wheels account manager, worked with the SCI Fleet team to develop quarterly scorecards to gauge and track the new program's progress. The creation of an internal Fleet Management Advisory Council, which included key company opinion leaders, has helped open a new avenue of communication between management and the company's numerous locations.

Increasing Driver Satisfaction

When it came to reviewing John Deere's fleet, the company's human resources fleet specialist Nancy Flaherty and Wheels account manager Connie Swenson quickly realized that driver satisfaction was not where it needed to be to be. The problem — a lack of vehicle choices, which the duo needed to address immediately.

"We knew if we didn't go down that path, we were never going to see driver satisfaction improve," Flaherty said.

But, there were conditions that had to apply to the new vehicle choices, and soon a new list of ordering options was created and circulated. A survey was then sent out, and the results supported the new choices.

"We saw a 15-percent increase in driver response, a 9-percent increase in driver satisfaction scores, and a 14-percent increase in model choice satisfaction," Flaherty said. He added that the company has also seen a total cost savings of 9 percent since the addition of new models.

Doing More with Less

When leadership at pharmaceutical company Merck & Co. reduced the size of its fleet department after merging U.S. operations with both Puerto Rico's and Canada's, Scott Lauer knew he was going to need some additional help. As the company's associate director of North American fleet administration, Lauer looked to Wheels for assistance.

"We looked at everything the fleet office was responsible for and decided what Wheels should do and what Merck should do," said Wheels Account Manager Leann Rutz.

A new fleet policy was developed and Wheels managed the transition process, which included regular meetings, transition action registers, onsite presentations, and a rollout out of the new fleet management policies with the local fleets.

"According to a 2013 driver survey we performed, 95 percent of them are delighted with Wheels," Lauer said. "We have seen a 35.6-percent increase in registration compliance, a 12-percent increase in maintenance compliance, and a $45 a month reduction in per vehicle cost."