These scenarios are real-life fleet situations from fleet user customers. Sometimes fleet policy does not address ways to deal with these unplanned challenges. I’ve scaled down the details to keep the blog short. Please suggest a possible solution as though it was a request from one of your fleet’s user departments.

The Situation or Customer Request
The Police department currently has a bomb tech and just had a second officer become bomb tech certified. PD had plans to add a second bomb technician to their staff. This is outside of the standard budget cycle but their business plan justifies a need for a second bomb tech vehicle.

The patrol Capt. calls you and says: Officer ‘so-and-so’ just became bomb tech certified and we want to change one of our 2013 replacement patrol cars into a bomb tech truck.

You, the fleet manager, responds with: OK – Since the 2013 budget is set, how will PD make up the difference in capital cost between the two vehicles?

(Capt.) We’ll just use leftover operating money from this year and combine it with the replacement funds for the marked patrol car to get a 1-ton 4WD, 4DR pickup so we can tow the bomb trailer (GVWR of 12K). What do you think the cost difference will be?

(Fleet Manager, even though this goes against budget policy, reports) The cost difference would be approximately $12,000.00. However, I need more information. Do you intend this truck will replace that marked patrol sedan or would this truck be an addition to the fleet?

(Capt.) Since we still have four open positions, I want to keep and reassign the old car patrol car. You could just keep charging us replacement capital on the marked car. (Ut-Oh – Fleet creep)

(Fleet Manager) Here’s how amortized replacement funding works; If we use this capital to pay for part of the bomb truck, no future funding for replacing that marked patrol car will be available. This upgrade request is outside of budget policy, you will need to take this issue to Finance and evaluate your options.

(Captain goes to Finance with his plan) The Budget Manager sends you an e-mail saying: Buy the bomb truck with the patrol car appropriation and make up the difference from annual contingency funds (allocated for replacement of any wrecked vehicles which historically ends each budget cycle with no residual).

This action goes against Finance Budget Policy and would result in an improperly funded fleet addition and an existing front line vehicle without future capital replacement funding. Finance simply shifted the financial funding responsibility to Fleet. PD will not understand nor accept financial responsibility when the time comes to replace the existing patrol car and no funding is “in the bank.”

You make the call how to handle this customer request???
Remember, your goal is great customer service while keeping this customer as an ally of Fleet Management.


About the author
Steve Kibler

Steve Kibler

Fleet Manager

Born to rural Iowa, Steve was trained at an early age that nothing was free for the asking. If you wanted something you had to make it a goal and work for it. Even as a toddler, Steve immediately had a talent for taking anything apart.

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