Automotive Fleet

OCT 2013

Magazine for the car and truck fleet and leasing industry

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SPONSORED BY: FEATURE Upon receiving the 2013 Professional Fleet Manager of the Year Award, Dick Malcom said: "This is a huge honor, and a kind of validation for all the work we have done at State Farm. This is not just recognition for me, but for everyone I have the honor of working with in transportation across [State Farm]." the frst year the award has been presented at the AFLA conference. "Tis is a huge honor, and a kind of validation for all the work we have done at State Farm," he stated upon receiving the award. "Tis is not just recognition for me, but for everyone I have the honor of working with in transportation across [State Farm]." For 2013, the industry nominated 20 feet managers for the Professional Fleet Manager of the Year award, and a 37-member judging panel selected Malcom as the winner. Te panel included past winners, manufacturers, auction representatives, feet management services representatives, dealers, and the media. Partnering to Excel In his role, Malcom oversees policies and procedures relating to the purchase, lease, sale, and operation of the company's feet of cars and trucks. He conducts contract negotiations of varying levels of complexity to obtain/maintain supplier agreements (including legal terms and conditions and business requirements). He also monitors and manages vehicle expenses, including fuel, maintenance, and depreciation; researches vehicles, choosing safe, reliable, cost-efcient, and comfort28 AUTOMOTIVE FLEET I OCTOBER 2013 Automotive Fleet and Leasing Association able vehicles appropriate for various business needs; and leads and/or coordinates project work. "I would like to thank State Farm for providing me with the opportunity and the environment to succeed," Malcom said. "Without them, none of this would have been possible." Malcom said he is also thankful for the mutual respect he has established with his internal partners and external vendors, as well as for his mentors Don Fenton and Ed Bobit, the founder and CEO of Bobit Business Media, publisher of Automotive Fleet. "Don took me under his wing and introduced me to the best people in the industry, including my friend and mentor Ed Bobit," Malcom stated. "When Don included you, the others knew you were 'OK.' I will never be able to thank him enough." Personally, Malcom thanks his family and friends for their continued support, including his wife of 38 years, Kitty, daughters Brooke (a paralegal at State Farm) and Abbey (a claims communication staf assistant at State Farm), and three granddaughters, Chloe, Teaghen, and Lennox. Malcom also credits his father and uncle as huge infuences in his life. "I lost my father at the age of 57, but he was always a 'tell-it-like-it-is' person, and I had a great deal of respect for him," he said. "My uncle, a Ford dealer, also taught me an incredible amount about our business." In his free time, Malcom spends time on his hobbies, including golf and cars (a kind of "must" in the automotive business). Relying on a Solid Business Philosophy and Best Practices Malcom's notable achievements at State Farm during his 12 years at the company include increasing oversight and accountability of the feet. Combined with an updated business model, this resulted in downsizing from more than 20,000 vehicles to 11,058 in the U.S. and Canada. Vehicle types in operation within the State Farm feet include sedans, vans, a few pickups, and some specialized catastrophe vehicles. About 4,500 of these vehicles are largely fueled with E-85. Vehicles are driven by agency employees, learning and development, administrative service, HR, and claims, the latter being the State Farm feet's largest client. Malcom also recently combined eforts with State Farm Bank to create the State Farm Bank Visa Fleet card (fuel, maintenance, tolls, license fees, and accident repair), which reduced internal costs and provided internal income. He also introduced a rental option to the pool car feet, which eliminated underutilized vehicles and lowered internal expenses. Other key initiatives included Malcom overseeing the design, development, and implementation of new feet management sofware; design and implementation of a new charge-back system to increase accountability and compliance and of a new driver policy; and coordination of a collaborative project with claims, catastrophe, strategic resources, safety, and systems divisions to develop an advanced ergonomic/ efcient mobile ofce for more than 2,500 claims employees. In addition, Malcom introduced "domestically assembled foreign vehicles" (Toyota, Nissan, and Subaru) into the feet, increasing driver satisfaction and reducing cost of ownership; initiated a centralized purchasing program to take advantage of the State Farm buying power; and created and implemented an online employee purchase program, which increased feet's return on sale and resulted in a sales tax savings of more than $3 million through the trade-in program. When asked about how he achieved these best practices within feet, Malcom said it was by a combination of listening, learning, and communicating. "Really listen to what people are saying. Don't tell people what they want to hear; tell them what they need to hear. Embrace change. Never stop learning, and communicate," he advised. He also stressed the importance of being willing to make a decision. "If it is wrong, it can always be fxed. But, don't overanalyze," he explained. "Embrace change, and tell it like it is. Your clients don't want to be bafed by double talk. Tey want the truth." Another important foundation of Malcom's success includes working with his partner, Diane Parmele, at corporate who handles ordering, billing questions, and other feet functions. He also coordinates with feld personnel, who interact directly with the feet's business partners and handle the majority of the day-to-day feet tasks.

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