Automotive Fleet

OCT 2013

Magazine for the car and truck fleet and leasing industry

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SPONSORED BY: Automotive Fleet and Leasing Association FLEET MANAGER OF THE YEAR Among Malcom's achievements at State Farm was rightsizing the feet, including transitioning to the Ford Transit Connect. "Tey are my lifeline to what is happening in all areas of the country, both good things and not so good," he pointed out. "Tey are critical to our organization." As an AFLA member and former member of the AFLA Board, and a current member of the General Motors Commercial Sounding Board, Malcom has the advantage of interacting with the best feet managers in the country. Tis allows him to listen and learn from the experts and share any best practices the State Farm feet may be doing. Remaining Nimble in a Fast-Paced Environment While State Farm's business model constantly changes, the most recent dramatic shif occurred in 2012. Te company's claims partners had been using a foldingtype ladder for decades, but, due to changes in home roof heights, it was decided to require all estimators to have a minimum 20-foot extension ladder. For the 2012 model-year, to satisfy this need as quickly as possible, the feet department placed a moratorium on all sedan sales. Te only orders approved were either Transit Connect or Subaru Outback Wagon models (both with ladder racks). During the course of the year, feet reallocated more than 1,700 vehicles to other drivers to satisfy the replacement need. "We are becoming a much more nimble company, and one that can respond in a very rapid manner," Malcom stated. "Tis change impacts our feet, not only in vehicle type, but in numbers." Another initiative that has impacted the State Farm feet recently is the desire to do 30 AUTOMOTIVE FLEET I OCTOBER 2013 more business with "diverse vendors." According to Malcom, diversity is not just something talked about at State Farm, but it is a part of the business culture. "If you are really going to have diversity as part of your culture, then you are going to encourage others to practice that model in every aspect of the business," he said. While somewhat of a challenge in the industry, the company has been fortunate in fnding outstanding partners who qualify as diverse vendors. In fact, in 2012, the company's diversity vehicle purchases exceeded $16 million. Implementing New Fleet Management Software Tool Malcom helped increase oversight and accountability of the feet by implementing a new feet management sofware program. Te tool allows the company to dig deeper and better analyze the utilization of its entire feet. "Like they say, information is power," he said. It turns out that the initiative was one of the most difcult tasks Malcom has ever been involved with. "I will admit I am technologically challenged, and without a great team I would have been completely overwhelmed," he said. "Tis type of initiative takes years, and a lot of change. First, we went through a process called business architecture to review all the processes that were currently in use. Ten, we created a new set of processes around how we wanted things to work going forward. We then choose a vendor and went through a difcult implementation process." Te feet team is just starting to scratch the surface of data capture and analyses. Te information the team can now glean from the system includes vehicle expense data, miles driven data, days used data, and vehicle data (make model, color, VIN, equipment, etc.), among other measurements. Malcom can run reports on demand as well. With the rollout of this new tool, the feet team also worked with employee compensation, HR, and corporate tax to completely revise the company's driving policy. Tey now have clearer and more concise guidelines, including dozens of day-to-day examples that help drivers better understand how the feet vehicles should be used. Changing Vehicles Leads to Savings Malcom also recently coordinated a collaborative project with claims, catastrophe, strategic resources, safety, and systems divisions to develop an advanced ergonomic and efcient mobile ofce for more than 3,000 claims employees. "State Farm needed a mobile ofce for our catastrophe employees and our claims estimators, because they needed to be able to work out of their vehicles, just as others do in a building," Malcom explained. "So we gathered a team together to create a mobile ofce that provides them with the electrical power they need, in as comfortable an environment as we can create, and one that is as ergonomically correct as possible." Te team is currently on interior upft generation number fve, and the inverters, desks, chair, vehicle type, and confguration have all been revised over time. Te team

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