How to Prepare and Organize a Fleet During a Global Crisis
Like all professions, fleet management is a competitive area where everyone is looking for a way to separate themselves from the pack. This can become more difficult for those in the public sector dealing with budget cuts associated with the struggling economy.
That’s why innovative thinking is necessary to find new, effective ways to work with what is available. One person who has proved this to be is Richard Battersby, CAFM, CPFP, Director of Fleet Services for UC Davis, who has helped turn the program all the way around to be ranked No. 13 in the 100 Best Fleets listing for 2013 and was named Government Fleet’s Public Sector Manager of the Year.
After losing a quarter of his entire workforce, he has found a way to stabilize the operations of his fleet staff. Improve efficiency across the boards and even eliminate an operating deficit of $800,000 annually over the past three years.
Battersby has made the UC Davis fleet a far more effective fleet by identifying problem areas and finding effective ways to combat the issues.
Using a SWOT Analysis
The UC Davis fleet has developed a Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) analysis and developed a business plan. Although the entire team created a plan, they understood that it was a living document that needed to be altered if necessary. Battersby and his team identified outsourcing and the deficit as its two main threats that needed to be tackled head-on.
The analysis allowed them to document the services and benefits the fleet brings to the campus that perhaps were not acknowledged in the past.
Because the fleet belongs to the school, its customers are different than the norm. Customers include those in academic departments, administrative units, maintenance, custodial, public safety, and more. When beginning the fleet analysis, Battersby discovered how economical the UC Davis fleet rates were compared to third party suppliers.
To demonstrate the detail of the fleet services operation, the fleet analysis report showcased important metrics and broke the entire operation into lines of business with budget details. This fleet analysis also contained cost comparisons to private industry to indicate the savings from sustaining an in-house fleet operation. It separated all the most important operating lines of business and qualified their expenses along with a summary and cost-competitive evaluation. It also provided an in-depth look at the pass-through lines of business for insurance, fuel, vehicle depreciation and even accident repairs.
Battersby shows his entire team how to be productive by leading by example. He has CAFM and CPFP designations, and holds more than 40 ASE certifications, including five master certifications, which has established credibility with the entire technician staff.
Now every technician on staff is ASE certified and the shop has been ASE Blue Seal certified for over a decade. This has allowed Battersby to communicate with his technicians and speak the same language in the shop.
He also has credited his staff with coming up with creative ideas than have helped the entire operation. One idea centered on the school’s shuttle bus program, which had an average of a 50 percent no-show rate. A team member said that if people had to prepay, then there wouldn’t be any no-shows.
However, the program was unable to accept credit cards due to a lack of proper licenses. The fleet staff got creative and was able to partner with another on-campus program that allowed them to use the license. Since implementing the prepay program, the no-show rate has dropped to under 1 percent.
Continued High Performance
The productiveness extends beyond the UC Davis campus.
Battersby has also involved himself in the industry outside of work and is a member of fleet organizations. Balancing all of the responsibilities can prove to be a handful, but it important to stay on top of the game.
He has found that creating lists of goals and prioritizing what is important.
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