Equipment

Four Fleet-Management Tactics to Grow Business, Cut Costs and Boost Morale

A case-study of how Big-D Construction overhauled, modernized and digitized its fleet-management system.
By Christina Hartzler
January 25, 2024
Topics
Equipment

Big-D Construction recently embraced a new approach to their fleet-management strategy, which has paved the way for them to expand their business, save a substantial sum and increase employee satisfaction.

The key for them was making the sound decision to partner with a professional fleet-management company instead of struggling to tackle all their fleet tasks on their own with limited in-house resources. Big-D chose Mike Albert Fleet Solutions to make that happen.

The companies’ collaborative efforts have helped Big-D modernize their fleet operations and bolster their bottom line. The strategy boiled down to four key steps.

PITCH THE PAPER

Despite their impressive size and overall sophistication, Big-D still took an analog approach to fleet management—paper receipts, carbon copies and Excel spreadsheets. Not surprisingly, this made data collection and analysis rather challenging.

“It took considerable time and effort—and a fair amount of frustration—to combine all that data into one place,” said Conner Nelson, Big-D’s Fleet and Assets Manager. “We needed an enterprise system to manage an extensive amount of information about all our vehicles, including maintenance, registrations, fuel tracking and telematics.”

To modernize, Big-D was set up with the fleet-management platform, Overdrive® , which allowed them to accomplish everything from registration renewals to DOT compliance reporting and more.

The “single pane of glass” fleet-management approach aims to streamline and organize data in one place online, saving time and headaches—and trees. With more precise, comprehensive data digitized and readily available, Big-D has been able to make informed decisions and take actions that have cut their maintenance and fuel costs.

TURN NEGATIVES INTO POSITIVES

Like many companies today, Big-D decided to add GPS tracking, safety data collection and in-cabin cameras to ensure their vehicles weren’t leaving assigned territories and that their drivers were adhering to their high safety standards. However, such systems can be controversial for privacy reasons. At first, Big-D received considerable pushback from its drivers, delivering a blow to employee morale, but GPS tracking, safety data collecting and in-cab cameras benefit not only fleet owners but drivers, too. For example, in-cab cameras can help exculpate a driver after an accident. In addition, safety stats allow a company to set goals and reward drivers who meet them.

“Everyone was kept in the loop as new solutions and technologies were rolled out, which made for a smooth transition,” said Nelson. “Mike Albert knew how to make drivers more comfortable with in-cab cameras and other tracking technologies through extensive driver education—and a little motivation.”

Big-D says the shift in driver attitude has been dramatic, noting a friendly competition among drivers to see who can achieve the highest safety score. The company awards the top ten safest drivers in each division with gift cards from retailers of their choosing.

BE WARY OF HOLDING BACK YOUR GROWTH

When companies don’t add vehicles to their fleets or don’t add enough, it can constrain growth. Maintaining the status quo is tempting because increasing your vehicle count can be daunting, especially in this era of seemingly endless supply chain issues. Furthermore, every additional vehicle represents more expense and requires more oversight.

Big-D faced this exact challenge. Unsure how to overcome the financial and management issues of adding more vehicles, they added no more than 25 vehicles a year. To remedy this situation and fuel growth, Mike Albert helped Big-D gain access to a program enabling them to expand their fleet much faster. Specifically, we set Big-D up with an original equipment manufacturer preorder plan that offers significant savings for bulk purchases.

“This program has been an incredible asset to Big-D, especially with continuous projects and a constant need to hire new employees,” said Nelson. “We nearly doubled our fleet in one year, going from 190 to 371 vehicles, and we’re on track to purchase another 120 vehicles in the upcoming year.”

Consistently ensuring appropriate innovative solutions that fit your company can help you grow your fleet significantly—and responsibly—potentially propelling your business to new heights.

KNOW WHAT TO FIX AND WHAT TO DITCH

Big-D’s embrace of its new data-management solution didn’t just empower smarter decisions; it helped generate meaningful savings. With all their vehicle data now easily accessible, Mike Albert helped Big-D identify the costliest vehicle maintenance expenses and create a preventive maintenance program to remedy problems before they became expensive repairs, saving Big-D considerable expense, particularly as they grow their fleet.

This maintenance data will also help identify specific, recurring problems in particular vehicles so the company can evaluate how best to move forward. Remarketing, reselling and disposing of worn-down vehicles can be a real hassle for any company. That’s especially true in the construction industry, where vehicles tend to take a beating. But with the right fleet data, you can save considerably on vehicle maintenance and know precisely when to cycle a vehicle out of your fleet.

IT'S SMOOTH DRIVING AHEAD

In very short order, Big-D turned an ordinary, paper-driven fleet-management system into a data-driven juggernaut, saving money, increasing revenue and boosting employee morale. These steps can be easily applied to any company wishing to modernize its fleet-management systems, optimize its safety protocol and even boost employee morale.

by Christina Hartzler
Christina Hartzler is the client partnership manager for the Western Region at Mike Albert Fleet Solutions. In her role, Hartzler advises and educates clients on ways to improve their current fleet. Prior to joining the Mike Albert team, she was a fleet asset manager for the City of Colorado Springs and Xcel Energy. Hartzler has over 26 years of experience in various fleet management roles.

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