Customized Solutions for Fleet Reports

Picture this: It’s 3:15. You’re sitting at your computer. You’ve hit your “afternoon slump” and fighting the urge to take a trip to the vending machine. But you need to finish a report that’s due before 5 pm – and wondering why it takes you so long every month. If only you had a better way to track information…or an additional field to capture data…or an easier way to import data from another spreadsheet…or…

Well, you get the picture. Everyone who utilizes online tools to perform regular tasks of their job at some point wishes they could customize it to do exactly what they need it to.

We’re fortunate at Donlen. Our stability has allowed us to continually make significant investments in our technology, our people, and our processes – and in turn, partner with customers to develop customized solutions that grow with them as their business grows. (That’s the fortunate part!)

Donlen’s internal IT department develops all of our systems and tools including FleetWeb®, our fleet management platform. Because our proprietary tools and systems are continuously upgraded and maintained with internal IT experts, there is never a concern with obsolescence. We have control over the technology infrastructure and can rapidly deploy upgrades and customizations. We’re totally committed to increasing productivity with technology and have a strong focus on process improvement, for our own employees as well as customers.

So how do customers request a customized solution?

“The process starts by having a conversation with the Account Manager,” said Denise Semcken, VP of Customer Service & Client Integration. “It’s important to understand what they’re looking for. What are they trying to accomplish? In some cases, we already have a workable solution we can provide that they just might not know about. Because we develop everything here at Donlen, we can sometimes leverage other projects for the benefit of everyone. In other cases, it truly is a customization. In that case, we involve our Project Management Office.”

Once that happens, a project manager is assigned who gathers requirements from the customer, and tracks and manages the entire process from start to finish. From there, technical specs are written, agreed upon, and the project moves on to design and development. Once the development stage is finalized, extensive internal testing begins before it’s moved into the live online environment.

So how long does it take for a typical customization?

“Really, there is no ‘typical’ customization project. There are so many variables to consider that it’s difficult to give you an exact – or average – timeframe,” said Kim Wiles, VP of Project Management. “Customizations can take anywhere from a week to more than a year, depending on the complexity. We take the time to do projects the right way. Every step in the process, from gathering requirements and creating the technical specs, to design and development, to testing is equally important to delivering a quality product.”

Can you give us an example?

“The Baker Hughes ordering tool is a good example of a recent, extremely complex project,” said Kim.

“Yes, that’s a great example,” said Denise. “There were about 15 people from seven different departments working on that project at various stages throughout the process, including three developers.”

baker_hughes_logo_multiBrenda Davis, Commodity Manager for Baker Hughes,
approached Donlen’s customer service team to discuss a customized ordering solution within FleetWeb that would meet their goals of paperless routing and greater efficiency. Baker Hughes is one of the world’s largest oilfield services companies, and their order volume is high. What Donlen delivered “exceeded” Baker’s expectations.” What resulted was an increase in efficiency and decrease in costs associated with the previous process.

> Read the full case study

Customer Involvement

“It’s so important that the customer remains involved in the process, from explaining what they want on through testing,” said Denise. “We want to make sure what we’re doing is really meeting their need. We maintain regular communication on the project, and if necessary meet in person if decisions need to be made.”

She went on to say, “Collaborating on a project together with a customer and delivering something that truly meets their needs is one of the most satisfying parts of my job.”

Denise can be reached at 847-412-5439. Contact Kim at 847-412-5367.

FleetWeb® Tips

Easily compare vehicle features between models and model years in FleetWeb.

  • Click the Show Menu at the top of the screen
  • Click the Acquisition tab
  • Click “Compare Vehicles”
  • Select desired vehicles through drop down menu options
  • Click “Compare” to see vehicle features side by side


Upcoming Conferences


Heading to the Green Fleet Conference next week? Don’t miss these two important panel discussions:

Maximizing Resale Values When Remarketing Hybrids and Other Alt-Fuel Vehicles
October 2, 4:10 pm Panelist: Gus Xamplas, Donlen VP of Vehicle Remarketing

The Future of Car Sharing Programs and Its Impact on the Fleet Industry
October 3, 2:00 pm Panelist: Jordan Reber, Vice President, Hertz On Demand and Hertz Entertainment Services, The Hertz Corporation

For full conference information, visit


Driver’s Corner

Ever get into a rental car and suddenly realize how different it feels to drive? Everything from the way it handles on the road to the exact position of the pedals may feel foreign. You need to take extra precaution when driving an unfamiliar vehicle – whether it’s in a rental or when you receive a new company vehicle. Passenger cars, SUVs, and trucks all have different vehicle dynamics, and may handle differently than what you’re used to during various weather conditions. And when you carry heavy loads in your vehicle, it can change even further. Be sure to adjust your driving habits based on type of vehicle, weather, and road conditions.

And Finally…

And finally, if you don’t immediately connect names such as Calder, Lichtenstein, Warhol, and Hockney with cars, don’t worry. We’ve got you covered. Check out the BMW Art Car Tour gallery, found here. Since 1975, some of the world’s most famous contemporary artists working in diverse art forms ranging from painting, sculpture, and design have been transforming BMWs into works of art. The last one – a BMW M3GT2 from artist Jeff Koons – was completed in 2010. It’s a collection of important artists’ works worthy of any world-class museum. Personally, we think these are fantastic. More, please.

Have a nice weekend. Safe travels.

Originally appeared in FridayFleet on September 28, 2012

About Donlen
A wholly owned subsidiary of The Hertz Corporation (NYSE:HTZ), Donlen (, with headquarters in Northbrook, IL, is the fleet industry’s most comprehensive and integrated provider of financing and asset management solutions. Since 1965, Donlen has offered its clients highly personalized and responsive customer service, and their workplace excellence has been recognized as one of Crain’s Chicago Business “List of 20 Best Places to Work in Chicago” each year from 2009-2011, a Leader on “The Global Outsourcing 100®” list by the International Association of Outsourcing Professionals (IAOP) for six of the last seven years, and a National Association for Business Resources “101 Best and Brightest Places to Work For in Chicago” each year from 2007-2012. Donlen’s innovation has been awarded with the Computerworld “2012 Honors Laureate for Economic Opportunity,” named to “2012 InformationWeek 500” for innovative technology; the Stevie® “2012 Gold Award for Business Intelligence Solution,” the Silver Award for “2012 Front Line Customer Service Team of the Year,” and the “2011 Corporate Environmental Responsibility Program of the Year.”