Automotive Fleet

FEB 2014

Magazine for the car and truck fleet and leasing industry

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Safety Evaluation Leads to Important Discoveries Terracon's f eet consists of approximate- ly 1,400 ½- and 1-ton pickups, 60 vans and SUVs, 82 semi tractors, and 87 drill rigs. Because f eet drivers include consult- ing engineers and scientists, employees need a variety of vehicles to work on construc- tion sites, make land and building inspec- tions, and perform land and water drill- ing for foundation recommendations. T e company's replacement guideline falls at four years/110,000 miles. In 2007, the company's f eet manage- ment evaluated its trucks for productivity and safety. And, in examining its accidents for the previous two years, the f eet team re- alized that it had many rollovers in small- er trucks, while noting only one in a ½-ton pickup and one in a van. Another discovery encompassed re- pair history. When f eet management examined the repair history, it found vehicles were going through brakes quicker and the number of suspen- sion problems were increasing at an unexpected rate. "In 2008, af er working with our leasing company doing a total cost of ownership (TCO) analysis comparing small trucks and ½-tons, we found it would actually be a cost savings by tran- sitioning to just the ½-ton truck," Liddle said. "T e safety factor in a larger truck would increase as well." T e f eet currently uses the Ford F-150 and chose this model based on hard data. "We were running a few Rams and F-150s at that time, and we received the best rebates from Ford and Chrysler," Liddle said. "With the data our leasing company had on all the trucks, we compared the ½-ton trucks and smaller trucks for total cost of ownership and found that the Ford F-150 would give us our best results." Initiative Results in Signif cant Operational Benef ts T e switch from small trucks to ½-ton pickups resulted in signif cant savings for Terracon. In fact, the company lowered its TCO, increased safety, improved load ca- pacity, and even increased driver morale. T e ½-ton trucks were made safer as a result of their improved capacity and abili- ty to make the job more ef cient. "We did not need to overload them to get the job completed," Liddle said. T e f eet team also put safety nets on all the truck beds to ensure that equipment, samples, etc., did not fall out of the truck for increased public safety. In fact, since the company's study show- ing 11 rollovers in 2006-2007, only three in rollovers have occurred in the remain- ing small trucks in service, and none in the ½-ton pickups. Driver productivity also increased, be- cause each new vehicle could hold more samples and equipment. And, downtime decreased since less maintenance was re- quired. T e f eet had fewer trips to the shop for brakes and suspension issues, and tires have lasted longer. "Our drivers applauded the change as they were given a more functional, safer, ef cient tool to complete their work," Liddle stated. Completing the Conversion Process Terracon has been replacing the small- er trucks since 2008 and have less than 100 units lef . While the recession slowed the replacement schedule, Liddle expects the entire conversion to be completed soon. "Our move to larger vehicles would not have been possible without support from upper management," she said. "Terracon's senior management is very good at evaluat- ing current and future business trends and adapting our strategic plan accordingly." T e company has also increased its safe- ty department from two people to f ve peo- ple. And, as its f eet grew, the compa- ny's senior management recognized the need to increase its safety role with employees, so that all employees live in an incident- and injury-free cul- ture and arrive home safely every day. Moving forward, Terracon's f eet de- partment will continue to evaluate ve- hicles to ensure they supply employees with the correct vehicle for the job and continue to upgrade safety features. "T is year, we will add the back- up camera to our 2014 models to assist in backing safely," she concluded. AF AUTOMOTIVE FLEET I FEBRUARY 2014 32 UPSIZING Terracon's f eet department includes (l-r) Ginny Liddle, buyer II; Paul Howard, director of procurement; and Samantha Rogers, f eet administrator. The department manages more than 1,600 vehicles and pieces of equipment across 40 states. The above Ford F-150 pickup truck fea- tures a toolbox and a bed net for ensuring materials remain in the bed. A F 0 2 1 4 t e r r a c o n . i n d d 3 2 AF0214terracon.indd 32 1 / 2 3 / 1 4 2 : 4 5 P M 1/23/14 2:45 PM

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