Automotive Fleet

DEC 2013

Magazine for the car and truck fleet and leasing industry

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time, costing $13,620 in excess fuel expense. Te frst step in reducing any feet cost is to quantify the cost, and then identify where it can be reduced. AF: Why the graduated roll-out of the program instead of implementing it throughout the feet as many feets do with other programs? $1,436, which is only the cost of repairs and does not include other costs such as down time, workers' compensation, potential litigation, and other costs associated with accidents, we project a savings of about $28,720 per year across the entire feet. Tat's the hard dollar savings. What is more important is reducing the number of accidents where drivers, and other parties, may be injured. VAUGHN: Telematics is a relatively new tech- Nicholas Ehrhart is Donlen's telematics VP of business development. His team worked with Fisher Auto Parts to implement its DriverPoint solution. VAUGHN: Donlen provides Fisher with driver scorecards, using algorithms that give us a clear picture of the driver's driving habits, fuel efciency, and overall safety performance. AF: Who has access to these reports? VAUGHN: We provide our store managers access to the application, so they can see how their own drivers perform; the routes they drive, and all of the key data. Also, our VP of risk management monitors the data, along with exception reports. If any action is necessary, it's initiated at the store level. AF: Has any particular data element you've received stood out? VAUGHN: Yes, idling time. We were shocked at how much idle time our drivers were racking up. We do encourage our drivers to develop relationships with the customer, but building that relationship takes time, and, if vehicles are lef idling, fuel is wasted. Reducing and eliminating this waste is simply a matter of instructing drivers to turn the vehicle of if drivers envision spending more than a few minutes with the customer. EHRHART: We estimate, conservatively, that Fisher vehicles burn about a half-gallon of fuel for every hour of idle time. In the frst year of DriverPoint implementation, we saw more than 7,400 hours of idle 64 AUTOMOTIVE FLEET I DECEMBER 2013 nology. It's not that it's unproven, but it differs from a maintenance management program, for example, which has decades of success behind it. We wanted to understand thoroughly what the device did, what kind of data it produced, how that data was presented, and track carefully what the benefts would be. EHRHART: Adding up the savings based EHRHART: We give Fisher and its management a great deal of credit for the roll-out. VAUGHN: What we're seeing now is just the It has been done carefully and professionally, and the results have been excellent. AF: You've mentioned idle time. What other results and benefts has the program produced? VAUGHN: It has been a success across the board. In only the frst three months of implementation, we saw an increase of 1.1 mpg per unit, a savings of $254 per vehicle. After the frst year, the savings were 1.2 mpg. In a 1,700 unit feet, projecting this savings out over a year, we're looking at reducing fuel costs by more than $435,000. EHRHART: Driver scorecards for the lowest scoring drivers have been cut in half, and the number of highest scoring drivers has increased by 20 percent. Te savings could be more as drivers learn more about how they can drive more efciently, and the number of the highest scoring drivers continues to increase. AF: What about the safety component? VAUGHN: Using the standard metric for tracking accident frequency, accidents per million miles driven, we've seen a reduction from 7.43 down to 6.88, a reduction of 7.5 percent. Using an average cost per accident of upon data and action taken so far, Fisher is looking at a total of $463,822. Te savings will pay for the modest fees associated with the program several times over. AF: What are Fisher's plans for the program going forward? beginning. As drivers get used to knowing that the company is concerned about their safety and well-being, they'll be more conscious about how they drive. Fewer quick starts and stops, keeping speed within posted limits, less idling, and more efcient routes. We will continuously monitor those scorecards and look to move more and more from the lower echelons to the higher levels of performance. All of this will improve our fuel cost performance, continue to reduce accidents, and savings will continue to increase, while we maintain the savings we've seen during the test. AF: Explain the importance of proper implementation with a solution such as DriverPoint. EHRHART: Implementation is a key to success to any feet program. Establishing the process, naming participants, creating procedures, all of these things will impact the level of success. Not all companies understand this as well as Joe [Vaughn] and Fisher have, and they've helped make the test period smooth and successful. VAUGHN: Don't forget that it is important to have a good consultative relationship with the supplier. Donlen recommended this program, told us how it worked, helped us with the implementation, and has remained close to us every step of the way. AF

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