Ten Steps to a Best-in-Class Fleet; Fuel Remains a Concern

Donlen-Best-in-Class-FleetWhat is a best-in-class fleet? To us, it means you’re getting maximum return on your investment. You’re lowering overall costs, while increasing fleet utilization and productivity. And you’re using tools and products that increase your efficiency during these jam-packed days.

Today, we’re giving you ten steps to help you achieve best-in-class status.

1. Create and analyze your vehicle inventory
Inventory your fleet for items such as make, model, business application, and type of driving. Then analyze on a regular basis to see if you should change your cycling strategy or adopt a vehicle sharing program to improve utilization.

2. Determine appropriate financing model
Depending on the type of driving and application, you may have options. Short-term rentals, longer-term rentals and reimbursement, and leasing are all available.

3. Challenge vehicle requirements assumptions
Because a certain vehicle wasn’t right for you a few years ago doesn’t mean it won’t work now. Has your utilization changed? We know that gas prices certainly have – and will continue to do so. Also, technology is constantly changing, not only inside the vehicle but under the hood as well.

4. Review available vehicle options
Manufacturers are always refreshing vehicles, and CAFE fuel standards are speeding up the change. Depending on your application, looking at vehicles that achieve better fuel economy or alt fuel vehicles can help to improve your bottom line.

5. For ROI analyses, use total cost of ownership
Be sure to look at the long-term benefits of vehicle choices. Sometimes, vehicles with higher acquisition costs can actually have a lower lifecycle cost due to better fuel economy, lower maintenance costs, or increased resale value.

6. Determine the vehicle cycling policy
There is a point where the maintenance costs outweigh the depreciation: depreciation may be higher in the early years of a vehicle’s life, but maintenance cost increases as the vehicle gets older. Other factors to consider include new vehicle technology, mileage, and intangibles including driver morale and corporate image.

7. Involve the drivers in decisions
Obtaining driver feedback to vehicle decisions may not seem as important to some, but you can actually see increased productivity of your fleet in the long run. For instance, if you’re planning a big change, pilot new vehicles to uncover possible logistical issues. Will cargo fit in the new vehicle? Are there difficulties with loading or unloading? Will alt fuel vehicles work in your area of the country?

8. Reduce costs of existing vehicles
Proper vehicle maintenance can’t be stressed enough here. Adhering to regularly scheduled maintenance will not only keep your vehicles from being sidelined with costly repairs, it will help when it comes time to remarket them.

9. Benchmark performance and set goals
Start benchmarking today to help you set short- and long-term goals. Common benchmarks can include MPG, cost per mile, and maintenance per vehicle. Data collected from telematics and your fuel program are great ways to help you get started.

10. Create and follow a fleet management process
Combine 1 through 9, and you have the ingredients for a best-in-class fleet. But where to start? We can help create your annual plan to ensure you achieve your goals. By using FleetWeb and consulting with your Account Team, we’ll help you analyze your fleet inventory, evaluate finance options, and review fleet options best for your utilization.

We want you to be the best! Our Strategic Consultants can help you dive deeper into any – or all – of these for your fleet. Contact us.

Fuel Prices Remain Concern for Fleets

A survey released today in Automotive Fleet shows that rising fuel prices remain the biggest concern for fleets. This may be a good time to review your fuel program with your Account Manager. First, remember that you can establish spending and transaction limits on your Donlen Fleet MasterCard® fuel cards:

  • Single purchase dollar limit
  • Daily spend limit
  • Daily transaction limit
  • Monthly spend limit
  • Monthly transaction limit

Next, don’t underestimate the importance of driver training in the fuel expense equation. According to the EPA, up to 33% of a vehicle’s fuel efficiency is impacted by driver behavior. That’s a big number when you consider how many drivers you have and the price of fuel. To further help in this area, utilizing telematics can have long-term effects on expenses – not only for fuel, but for maintenance and safety as well.

And finally, remind your drivers to find the least expensive fuel price when heading to fill the tank. The price of fuel can vary from a station on one block to the station on the next block, so be sure to check the Find Fuel Discount in FleetWeb for the best price in the area. Depending on the type of fuel and use of the vehicle, doing so can add up to thousands of dollar in savings per year.

NEW in FleetWeb, you can now also search for alternative fueling stations, including CNG, LNG, E85, and Electric Charging. Check out this week’s FleetWeb tip below.

FleetWeb® Tips

Quickly find sorrounding alternative fueling stations by location in FleetWeb.

  • Click “Show Icons” link at the bottom of FleetWeb
  • Click “Find” icon
  • Input address or Donlen Vehicle Number, and click the “Point of Interest” drop down
  • Select Alternative Fueling Station
  • Choose desired fuel type and click “Find Points of Interest” to see map of surrounding stations



Hertz Value Lease™ Deal of the Week

donlen-hertz-value-lease-nissan-altima-1212Choose from a pool of quality pre-owned vehicles available for lease. Easily search available vehicles from within FleetWeb.

2012 Nissan Altima S*

  • Estimated Mileage: 17,236
  • Exterior Color: Blue
  • Hertz Value Lease Base Price: $15,879

*Vehicle was available at the time of posting to FridayFleet. The exact vehicle may not be available after this date. Photo of vehicle is for illustrative purposes only.

Contact your Donlen Account Manager to learn more about Hertz Value Lease vehicles that may be right for your application.

Driver’s Corner

Do you make resolutions for the New Year? This year, include a resolution to drive safer and better to help improve not only your fuel economy, but reduce your impact on the environment. Your behavior behind the wheel can affect fuel economy as much as 33% when driving on the highway. For the next year, if you avoid jackrabbit starts and stops, don’t tailgate, and reduce idling, you will see a marked improvement in your fuel economy.

And Finally…

And finally, is “trust” the new black for 2013? Is “self-help” the way of the future? If you’re reading 13 Trends for 2013, you may find out. For the first time ever, Ford has released its trend analysis for the upcoming year, and there is some pretty cool stuff included. Trends cover trust, brand loyalty, distraction, city planning, investing locally, and consumer consciousness. Mini case studies scattered throughout make this particularly interesting. Follow the conversation @Ford and #FordTrends. We are.

Have a nice weekend. Safe travels.

Originally appeared in FridayFleet on December 14, 2012

About Donlen
A wholly owned subsidiary of The Hertz Corporation (NYSE:HTZ), Donlen (www.donlen.com), 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.”