Jeremy Lundy is the Assistant Manager of Transportation Services at Michigan Technological University where he manages parking, Husky Motors, and campus shuttles. In this interview, he shares the fleet management challenges and successes experienced by Michigan Tech's Transportation Services department.
Q: Tell us a little about you, your career and background.
A: I have lived in the upper peninsula of Michigan my whole life and have enjoyed every season including the 300+ inches of snow we receive every year. I started at Michigan Tech as a Shuttle Bus driver, and soon was promoted to Shuttle Services Manager within the first year. Then after my second year, I was again promoted to Assistant Manager of Transportation Services. My role now includes parking and our Husky Motors Department, where we use the Agile FleetCommander software. I still oversee the campus Shuttle Services.
Q: What were some of the challenges you faced prior to automating your motor pool? How manual was the process prior to automating?
A: Before FleetCommander, we would have to keep track of reservations manually on paper, and the keys would need to be picked up during normal business hours. Without the kiosk, we were unable to make multiple reservations during the evening hours and on the weekends, due to the fact we had no way to give our customers keys. Now, people are able to access keys themselves using the self-service kiosk and secure keybox.
Q: How has the data you are now collecting improved the way you manage and right-size your fleet?
A: The integration of the Agile Fleet FleetCommander software with GPS Insights has given us an upper hand on being able to manage our fleet effectively. We have become aware of idle time issues that are slowly killing our vehicles. We have not experienced a decline of rentals from installing the GPS units and we now have the ability to pull DTC (Diagnostic Trouble Codes) information. This gives us peace of mind knowing that the check engine light does not necessarily indicate a hazard, and that the vehicle is safe to drive. We also use the Agile Fleet utilization reports to see how our fleet is being used, and if we have the correct number of specific vehicles needed by our customers.
Q: Tell us about some of the changes you and your drivers have experienced since automating your fleet management processes.
A: One of the changes that we have seen with our fleet automation project is a greater customer service experience. Our customers can now pick up and drop off a vehicle 24/7, including holidays. The system has been very reliable, with very minimal interruptions. Also the FleetCommander team communicates via email any planned outages so we can prepare ahead for our customers picking up or dropping off a vehicle during those planned outage times. Our users have expressed how convenient the self-service kiosk has been for them. Once new users are shown the way the system works, it goes smoothly from there on. We have started the process of making a tutorial video that will play on a TV screen located in the same room as our kiosk to assist users in learning the way the system works.
Q: What advice would you give to organizations embarking on a fleet automation project?
A: If you are looking to automate your fleet management, please keep in mind that things may seem complicated at first, but with the FleetCommander team and their excellent customer service and technical support, it will be a great change. When you call their technical support line, you always get through right away, and if they don't know the answer, they consult with others in the department to figure it out. We have been very pleased with the service and support we receive from Agile Fleet and their FleetCommander software and key control kiosk.