Tag Archives: fleet management

Posted by Nicole Deck

100 Best Fleets series: UNC Charlotte

UNC Charlotte fleet vehicles. Photo provided by Christopher Facente.

This week, we take a look at UNC Charlotte‘s fleet and talk to Automotive/Motor Fleet Supervisor Christopher Facente. The university has been a part of the 100 Best Fleets three years in a row, improving its place each time.

There are 500 vehicles in the fleet, and about 150 of them are electric — ranging from Nissan Leafs to smaller work trucks, Facente said.

Older, less fuel-efficient vehicles have been replaced with utility carts and Neighborhood Electric Vehicles (NEVs), and most of the fleet’s Ford Rangers are now NEV Global Electric Motorcars (GEMs). The total cost of ownership, potential future repairs, and life-cycle costs are calculated to keep the fleet up to date and sustainable.

Facente said to keep improving on the fleet, he’s looking at more sustainability in general. There is already a recycling program in place, and the fleet reduces waste by carrying out practices such as recycling oil filters and enforcing a no-idle policy on campus.

“We looked at our processes, started to streamline little things…”  Facente said. “It’s slow, but it does take time to implement these changes. As we work on them, we get better.”

UNC Charlotte also has a robust maintenance program for electric vehicles, which are maintenanced monthly, Facente said. The repairs are tracked through Archibus, a centralized data platform, and history is checked for repeat problems/technician faults.

The fleet restructured the campus into zones and put maintenance shops near areas where the fleets work. In the old system,  there was a central base dispatch to anywhere on campus.  Now, each zone has electricians, plumbers, and HVAC technicians and are never over 3 miles from the buildings they service.  Telematics have also been put on vehicles.

UNC Charlotte fleet vehicles. Photo provided by Christopher Facente.

With all of the different changes, Facente handles it by communicating.

“You’re always going to have challenges with change,” Facente said. “Getting an employee to give up a truck and go to an EV can be a challenge. But if you take your time, explain the benefits, you can pretty much get everyone on board.”

As for advice, Facente suggests having a top-down strategy so that upper management approves, and being sure to not make a sudden change. In addition, taking the time to do a lot of homework to find the correct vehicles that will fit your fleet is vital.

“Electric works for us, but it may not work for everyone,” Facente said.

To share ideas among employees freely within the fleet, there is a brainstorming session every month, a fleet email group to share ideas, and a shop meeting weekly where technicians are encouraged to share ideas and problem-solve. The fleet has a Learning and Development center on campus with a variety of soft skill classes for every staff member.

Along with brainstorming meetings, there is a staff meeting every quarter where teams are recognized for their job performances. The safe team award is also given when the team goes without accidents.

(Facente would like to thank Associate Vice Chancellor Phil Jones and the late Larry Lane, who was his predecessor getting the program started.)

Posted by Nicole Deck

100 Best Fleets winners series – City of Durham

Fleet members of the City of Durham. Photo contributed by City of Durham.

This week, Fuel What Matters features 100 Best Fleets of the Americas winner City of Durham.

City of Durham’s fleet, which consists of about 1,520 vehicles and equipment, is a typical municipal fleet with cars and trucks (both light/heavy duty), refuse collection vehicles, police and fire vehicles, and construction equipment, according to Fleet Management Director Joseph Clark.

Durham has received the 100 Best Fleets Award every year since 2010, has been named as a Top 50 Fleet by the Leading Fleets Award Program from 2014 to 2018, and has multiple times been recognized for the Green Fleet Awards.

“We are proud to be afforded the opportunity to both participate and be recognized,” Clark said of the 100 Best Fleets award.  “Our highest ranking has been 7th, but we are optimistic for the future.”

Clark said he thinks the City of Durham fleet’s careful cost analyzation to determine what works well for the organization and its stakeholders is what the fleet does best.

Durham uses a  Fleet Information Management System that captures accurate relative data; and dealer and OEM level software and technician training.  The fleet also benchmarks other leading agencies in their successes and failures to minimize missteps and maximize returns; and uses optimized tuning equipment, advanced telematics and idle reduction technology to increase fleet efficiency.

“Our recognition is tied to our dedication to managing the fleet utilizing some of the best and latest tools available,” Clark said.

Durham also has plan in place with a goal of reducing annual maintenance cost and average cost per mile, increasing average fuel economy, and reducing fossil fuel consumption, Clark said.

Through the years, underutilized vehicles have been removed, allowing the fleet to decrease in size. Clark said this has been done by outsourcing police upfit builds, remarketing used vehicles within the City, and adopting a sustainability plan that includes fuel reduction goals, right-sizing and right-typing vehicles, utilizing smaller engines in police vehicles, eliminating 4-wheel drive when not needed, and more.

To keep improving on the City of Durham’s fleet, Clark said they hope to further invest in hybrid vehicles, along with continued investment in anti-idle technology.

In addition to reducing fossil fuel use and right-sizing vehicles, Durham’s fleet also implements programs for its staff.

The fleet holds monthly staff meetings where discussion is focused on topics that encompass the whole organization, Clark said. The City has a program called Idea Starter that encourages new ideas and has a pool of funds to contribute to selected ideas.

“Recognition is a key component that encourages ideas to be brought forward,” Clark said. “We push a continuous learning philosophy.”

Throughout the years, the fleet has also faced challenges. There was a period of time when economic factors forced underfunding of fleet replacement — a deficit that created a backlog of vehicles, Clark said. The fleet continues to try to remedy the backlog while investing new ideas when opportunities exist.

When it comes to advice, Clark suggests “buy-in from the top.”

“Buy-in from the top is paramount — if upper management does not support the idea, it will be difficult to be successful,” Clark said.

 

Posted by Nicole Deck

100 Best Fleets series: City of Concord

Members of the City of Concord Fleet Services Department hold their 100 Best Fleets award for 2018. Photo contributed by City of Concord Fleet Services Department.

Seven fleets from North Carolina made it on the 100 Best Fleets in the Americas’ list of winners for 2018 — and in the next several weeks, Fuel What Matters will be featuring each fleet and what it has done to achieve success.

This week,  Daniel Nuckolls, Director of Fleet Services since 2002, talks about the City of Concord Fleet Services Department. This was the fifth year Concord has placed in the 100 Best Fleets.

Nuckolls said Concord’s fleet has become more efficient through the years by implementing a career development program, rightsizing vehicles, and using alternative fuels and technologies.

Concord began implementing more fuel-efficient strategies and equipment in 2003. Electric cars and EV chargers are used throughout the city, and today, about 5 percent of Concord’s light-duty fleet is comprised of hybrid electric vehicles.

In the police fleet, Concord moved from 9-cylinder cars to 6-cylinders, which Nuckolls estimates saves about 34K gallons of fuel per year. Concord also uses B20 blend biodiesel for all diesel vehicles, which he estimated displaces 60,000 gallons of diesel fuel annually.

“Fuel usage over the last 10 years has not increased very much at all — it remains flat,” Nuckolls said.

The City Of Concord is an active participant in the Clean Cities coalition and is a core stakeholder in the Centralina Clean Fuels Coalition, according to their website. Fleet Services also developed and administers the Concord Air Awareness Program, which educates and informs City employees about air quality issues.

“From the very get-go, we wanted to implement alternative fuels,” Nuckolls said. “Mainly for air quality, but also, certain things are helping cost.”

One of the most successful improvements of the City of Concord Fleet Services Department, Nuckolls said, is the Career Development Program, which is designed to reward and advance the careers of technicians, parts personnel, and supervisors by converting their training and experience into ASE Certifications (Automotive Service Excellence).

The Career Development Program was implemented in 2003 when the fleet had a total of 3 ASE certifications among 8 technicians, 2 supervisors, and 2 parts personnel. Now, the fleet has 84 ASE certifications with 6 Master Mechanic certifications.

Nuckolls said the program has led the fleet to become the lowest cost fleet in North Carolina for five consecutive years.

“As fleet director, I feel it is important to encourage individuals to distinguish themselves and to provide incentives for continuous improvement,” Nuckolls said. “As our technicians become more proficient, so does our fleet maintenance program, which drives our fleet availability and productivity. “

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