How the Indianapolis 500 Got Me Thinking About Fleet Management, State and Local Governments, and Sustainability

Have you ever been to Indianapolis during the month of May?  What a fun and festive place.  It’s all about the Indianapolis 500 and the hoopla leading up to the race.  Other than that race, I’ve never paid attention to anything else in the transportation arena – whether it be passenger cars, pickup trucks, buses, semis.  Until now.  I find “Fleet Management” really interesting.  Given my complete lack of interest in vehicles—but for IndyCars, I’m probably one of the least likely people to be a believer in fleet management, but I am.  Let me explain why.

With fleet management solutions, state and local government agencies can do what’s right for the bottom line–increase operational efficiency, and reduce energy consumption. In these days of doing more with less, government agencies are forced to find solutions that reduce costs. They’re also being asked to find solutions that do the “right thing.” Fleet management solutions fit the bill for both needs.

Key Benefits to Fleet Management are:

  • The ability to perform 10 to 30 percent more jobs per day
  • Centralized dispatching improves dispatch efficiency by 20 to 60 percent
  • Intelligent, automated scheduling increases productivity
  • Decreases drive time by 10 to 20 percent per job
  • Reduces overtime expenses by 10 to 70 percent
  • Improves payroll efficiency with automated time cards
  • Reduces repeat customer visits by sending the most efficient, best-equipped technician to each job
  • Optimizes and automates mobile work schedules

These are substantial benefits.  But there are more.  I don’t want to sound too “Pollyanna-ish” but with these solutions, state and local government agencies can move the needle forward on these environmental and safety goals:

  • Reduce the number of miles driven
  • Reduce fuel usage (an hour of idling equals a gallon of fuel)
  • Reduce their agency’s carbon footprint
  • More efficient use of resources
  • Positive safety benefits (according to my colleague, Chris Johnston)

When bottom line benefits are coupled with environmental benefits, governmental leaders are given powerful reasons to consider these solutions.

It seems like any time I drive around town, I see an AT&T truck. With approximately 73,500 vehicles, AT&T operates one the nation’s largest commercial fleets.  Like state & local Governments, AT&T is following the path of focusing on the bottom line and recognizing that we have a responsibility to reduce our energy consumption. I’m proud to work for a company that recognizes the economic and environmental impact of maintaining a fleet of that size.  In pursuit of our goals, we’ve implemented policies ranging from alternative-fuel technology to changing our daily fleet management policies to be more energy efficient.

For example, the 2400 compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles deployed by AT&T in 2010 helped the company reduce its petroleum consumption by 1 million gallons.  Over a 10-year period, we hope our GNG vehicles (and our fleet of alternative-fuel vehicles) will help AT&T save a total of 49 million gallons of gasoline and reduce carbon emissions by 211,000 metric tons—the greenhouse gas equivalent of removing nearly 39,000 vehicles from the road for a year.

In early April, Jerome Webber, vice president of AT&T Global Fleet Operations, said,

“Our investment in more fuel efficient vehicles helps minimize our impact on the environment, delivers bottom line benefits to our company and helps to spur job growth in the domestic clean energy sector.”

Fleet management initiatives could help state and local governments realize similar benefits to those experienced by AT&T.

Back to the Indy 500…. I realize that IndyCars—or any race cars for that matter—aren’t known for being fuel efficient, but I’m still looking forward to the race this year. If we could just get the IndyCar circuit to utilize fleet management principles.

What fleet initiatives are being undertaken by your company?
How do you think fleet management could be taken one step further?
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