The State of Michigan’s automated motor pool system has managed nearly half a million reservations for its shared vehicle fleet at 20 sites across the state since its inception in 2010. Read more about this extraordinary motor pool system in this interview with State Motor Pool Operations Manager Dave Hofmeister.
Q: Tell us about your background in fleet management and your role at the State of Michigan.
A: I have been in the automobile business for over 20 years. My fleet management experience has been with the State of Michigan for the last 8.5 years. I obtained my current position as the Fleet Consultant Manager and Motor Pool Operations manager three years ago.
Q: What is the composition of your fleet?
A: We have 20 motor pool sites located throughout the State of Michigan. Our fleet consists of more than 8,000 vehicles. We use fleet cars (mid-size and large sedans), minivans, light-duty trucks, medium duty trucks, heavy duty trucks, SUVs and specialty vehicles/equipment. Some of the vehicles are permanently assigned to drivers who need vehicles to perform their everyday duties. 611 vehicles are shared among staff members at various work areas.
Q: What is it like to manage all your sites from one location in Lansing and how has that impacted labor costs?
A: We have 20 motor pool locations spread across the state. Some of the locations are unstaffed. All are monitored by six staff members in our central offices in Lansing, Michigan. The employees monitor the motor pool dashboard, provide customer service for drivers who have questions or need assistance, and run various reports. These employees also have other duties with their jobs unrelated to the motor pools. The FleetCommander system allows them to perform their other duties without many interruptions by the motor pool. If we did not have FleetCommander, it would be nearly impossible share vehicles without a full staff at each of the locations, which would greatly increase labor costs. The employees in Lansing also manage the scheduling for maintenance and cleaning of vehicles. All of this is done from two Lansing offices.
Q: How much has the automated system helped reduce personal vehicle usage expense reimbursement costs for the State of Michigan?
A: We are very diligent in reducing personal vehicle mileage reimbursement expenses. Having a motor pool is one of the tools that we use to curtail personal vehicle reimbursements, and our results have been significant. FleetCommander collects the data for reports that compare the cost of reimbursement versus using a permanently assigned vehicle or using a pool vehicle. We use that data to make decisions about whether or not to assign a vehicle.
Q: How well received has the system been state-wide?
A: Our motor pools have caught the attention of state offices. Recently, we’ve had an influx of offices inquiring about the FleetCommander system to help manage their pooled vehicles. The state offices were having problems with employees handing off keys, grabbing keys in the morning "just in case" they needed a car, and were picking favorite cars instead of driving all cars to keep equal mileage. For the last two years, we have been going into various locations and opening motor pools in these offices. Our main motor pools use the touchscreen kiosk and automated electronic key boxes, but the motor pools at these offices just use a kiosk and manually dispatch the keys. The FleetCommander system has corrected those behaviors and in the process of analyzing the data, these State offices have now determined they have too many vehicles. This will help them to right-size.
Q: What are the major ways fleet metrics help drive decision-making?
A: Reports are crucial when it comes to determining personal mileage reimbursements, vehicle utilization, right sizing the fleet and tracking the age of the fleet.
Interested in reading more about the State of Michigan’s motor pool? Download their success story below.