At Scotts LawnService, reducing preventive maintenance is the current priority according to the company’s new fleet manager, Scott Mayo, who spoke with Automotive Fleet about his new role and his current focus on reducing maintenance costs.
The Marysville, Ohio-headquartered Scotts LawnService is the lawn care and landscaping division of The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company, the world’s largest marketer of branded consumer products for lawn and garden care.
Scotts LawnService provides lawn care services to homeowners in markets across the U.S. who are interested in having healthy turf, trees, and shrubs with complete solutions for the green space around their homes, but who may not have the time to dedicate to it.
Improving Fleet Operations
Mayo, who started as fleet manager in late 2011, said his previous fleet experience at Wendy’s International involved managing cars and light-duty trucks, and he worked directly with vendors. At Scotts LawnService, the company leases its vehicles, so Mayo is now working closely with the company’s leasing partner to improve fleet operations.
“I’ve spent most of my time since starting in this position analyzing existing data and working with Scotts’ leasing company partners to organize and deliver the data we need to properly analyze how to improve fleet operations, from maintenance to replacement schedules,” Mayo said.
Controlling Fleet PM
For now, Mayo is focusing on a select group of vehicles to start. The Scotts LawnService fleet consists of roughly 2,400 vehicles, of which 1,000 are Class 3-6 trucks. Mayo said he’s focusing on preventive maintenance (PM) with this group to start because of the expenses related to maintenance for these vehicles. He said many of the vehicles in the fleet are high mileage, and, as a result, are generating associated high maintenance costs.
“I think the easiest ones to control maintenance costs for will be medium-duty trucks,” Mayo predicted. “Those are the vehicles out there making money for the company. We’re running Isuzu NPRs with diesel engines.”
Mayo noted that when drivers are using the vehicles, they’re driving them every day. When they’re not in use during the winter months, they sit for a long period of time, potentially up to three-four months in colder areas, taking a toll on the vehicles.
To begin improving these trucks’ PM process, Mayo started by working with his contact at Scotts’ leasing company partner to adjust the PM schedules for these vehicles.
“We went to the existing PM schedule and compared it to the vehicle manufacturers’ schedules,” Mayo said. “We adjusted some things and added others. We came up with a schedule that made sense and was within the manufacturers’ guidelines.”
The next step in this process, according to Mayo, is to define a solid replacement schedule.
“I want to start looking at costs in mileage bands: 75,000, 100,000, then at 150,000,” Mayo said. “We might find if you’re going to spend the money on maintenance to get a vehicle to 75,000 miles, you should run it to 100,000, for example. We should see some trends when we analyze that maintenance and mileage data. We can learn when we need to pull certain vehicles and where our maintenance costs are at.”
Beyond figuring out PM and replacement schedules, Mayo is also working on enforcing the maintenance policy and ensuring that company drivers are adhering to PM schedules. He said the leasing company does send PM reminders to drivers, but stronger policy enforcement will take time to implement.
Currently, Mayo said he has improved data to work with and that he’s making good progress given the short period of time he’s been with Scotts LawnService.
Returning to Fleet
Mayo’s position at Scotts LawnService marks the Automotive Fleet 2006 Professional Fleet Manager of the Year’s return to the industry after a three-year hiatus.
Mayo began his fleet career in 1984, and spent much of his career managing Wendy’s International’s vehicles.
After leaving Wendy’s in 2006, he worked briefly as vice president of business development for Flexco Fleet Services and in the fleet and commercial sales department at Jack Maxton Chevrolet in Columbus, Ohio.
He ran his own Internet retail business during the three-year interim prior to joining Scotts LawnService in November 2011.
Company Profile: Scotts LawnService
Scotts Miracle-Gro, the parent company of Scotts LawnService, was founded in 1868 by Orlando Scott as a premium seed company for the U.S. agricultural industry. The LawnService division was added 103 years later, in 1971, for the growing “do-it-for-me” customer segmentation. The service offers onsite lawn, tree, and shrub fertilization; insect control; and other related services through its network of 160 locations.
The Scotts LawnService fleet, which is managed by industry veteran Scott Mayo, is comprised of 655 cars, 700 Class 1-2 trucks, 1,000 Class 3-6 trucks, and 45 SUVs.
The fleet consists of a mix of Chrysler, Ford, Isuzu, and GM models.
The Marysville, Ohio-headquartered company, as a whole, achieves approximately $3 billion in worldwide sales. Among the company’s brands are Weedol, Pathclear, Evergreen, Levington, Miracle-Gro, KB, Fertiligene, and Substrat.
By Greg Basich
Updated: 6/12/2012, 4:45 pm