Mike Scacco has been the fleet maintenance manager for City of Stamford, CT for more than 12 years. Mr. Scacco drove the initiative to automate the management of the city's fleet, resulting in $300,000 reduction in vehicle costs, as well as $500,000 in vehicle replacement cost avoidance.
Q: Tell us a little about the City of Stamford's vehicle fleet.
A: The City of Stamford is the 3rd largest city in CT, with 130,000 people and we are growing at a fast rate. We maintain 1,100 pieces of equipment including trucks, cars, sanitation and park equipment that we maintain yearly. Prior to automating our system, we had approximately 90 vehicles in multiple departments, some had as many as 22 vehicles, some as few as 8. Even though no one wanted to share, the general consensus was that we needed more vehicles. But every time I went to the Government Center, there were always 30-40 cars sitting, some with dust on the windshields. That told me they weren’t being used, but we had no way to know for sure because we didn’t collect utilization data or trip information.
Q: What were things like at the City of Stamford prior to implementing your solution?
A: Before implementing the solutions, our fleet situation was like a free for all. Departments were taking advantage of the system. I can remember one time 5 cars were all taken with single drivers to the same meeting 60 miles away. Some project managers would get a car, drive ¾ of a mile and keep it there all day, then return the car. Using a $30K asset to drive 2.5 miles a week is not what I call good utilization. There was no accountability, no trip reports. When there was damage to the cars, we had no idea who was responsible. We needed to have accountability for our assets.
Q: What solutions have you deployed at the City of Stamford?
A: We have both the FleetCommander FMIS as well as GPS tracking solutions here. FleetCommander automates the management of our motor pool with online reservations and automated dispatching, and helps us manage keys and maintenance, and run reports. We use the GPS solution to gather data about our vehicle usage and driver behavior, and it is integrated with the FleetCommander system, which uses the GPS data to feed our reports. Both systems together have helped us get a handle on our fleet, reduce vehicles and provide better service to our city employees.
Q: Have you had many objections to using the system?
A: The city has a training policy for anyone that uses a city vehicle or equipment (including unions since the majority of people are union). We sit down with everyone and explain that we are not using these systems to reprimand or find fault with people, we are using them to collect data. In the beginning there was pushback, but now every department has a vehicle when they need it, which they didn’t have before, and the majority have a better vehicle and more choices for vehicle types which people like. And, on certain occasions, a vehicle can be used multiple times a day. Now people are comfortable with it and it is working extremely well here in our union environment.
Q: How are things now that you have fleet management information systems in place?
A: I had been searching for 8 or 9 years before we found Agile Fleet. We believe that data is the key to our success. Now we are getting accurate mileage. Every time someone returns a vehicle, they are able to report any mechanical issues with our vehicles, which lets us be proactive with our maintenance. We are now also able to track our idle time. We correlate an hour of idle time with one gallon of fuel to calculate fuel usage and identify ways to reduce waste. We can now make educated decisions on our pool fleet, and managers can make educated decisions on routing, scheduling, and for employee reviews. Now, supervisors are aware of driver behavior, speeding, how many stops they took, how long the stops took, etc. We now have full accountability. This program has been a godsend and we plan to expand to other city-used vehicles as well.
Q: How much money would you estimate you’ve saved and have you reduced unneeded vehicles?
A: Within one year, we reduced our fleet from 89 to 29 vehicles. Agile Fleet estimates savings about $3,000-$5,000 a year per vehicle in maintenance, insurance, and other costs – so that would add up to about $300,000 - our savings are tremendous. Replacement costs are also substantial. If you are paying $18,000-$25,000 per vehicle and you reduce 29 cars, you are saving $500,000 in replacement costs. We also have less liability, less exposure. We have saved the city a tremendous amount of money and now vehicle utilization is where it should be.