East Coast City

As part of its efforts for continuous improvement, the Public Works Department engaged Chatham Consulting, Inc. to conduct a comprehensive Fleet Management Study of the City’s 460-unit fleet operation. The goal was to review existing operations, identify opportunities for improvement and make recommendations to guide the future direction of these operations. The recommendations were incorporated into an implementation plan. As part of this study, we extracted several years of historical data from DOS-based computer files and converted them into modern database files for future use by the City.  The following issues were studied in-depth and resulted in significant operational improvement and increased customer satisfaction:
  • Shop operations including:
     - preventive maintenance program
     - defect reporting and service writing
     - work scheduling and quick fix services
     - work force management
     - road calls
     - field service
     - tire maintenance;
  • Fleet information, performance and fuel management systems;
  • Customer relations and vendor management;
  • Organization structure; and,
  • Policies on employee training, performance appraisal, professional certification and shop safety.

Large City Correction Department
As part of its efforts Chatham Consulting assisted the Department of Correction of a major city in properly structuring a request-for-proposal for a service contract to manage the Department's fleet of vehicles and equipment. Chatham Consulting provided advice in such issues as: defining the nature, scope and parameters of service; determining an appropriate bid/invoice structure; advising on document terminology and definitions; and, handling such issues as warranty recovery, fees, spare parts inventory, accident repairs, downtime, miscellaneous fleet services, and other areas.

Midwest County

Chatham Consulting undertook a comprehensive fleet performance, energy use and pollution reduction study for a major county in the midwest. This 930-unit decentralized fleet operation desired a modern fleet management program that would use best management practices and techniques and that could be measurable and well-established. Chatham assessed current fleet operations on whether the county was following best fleet management practices in general and as they related to energy efficiency and pollution reduction. Chatham developed recommendations to improve fleet organization, budgeting, acquisition, replacement, record keeping, and performance.

Midwest City
Chatham Consulting conducted a detailed analysis of the organizational, economic, operational factors involved for this city to centralize its fleet maintenance facility operations. The city’s fleet consisted of over 700 vehicles and equipment from its public works, transit, utility, emergency and other agencies. The study’s purpose was to evaluate the optimum method of consolidating the decentralized maintenance of the city’s fleet services. Chatham Consulting’s work included:
  • Evaluating organizational structure and staffing requirements,
  • Developing space requirements and facility layouts,
  • Estimating the service center size,
  • Estimating construction costs for new maintenance facilities and capital equipment,
  • Conducting cost-effectiveness analyses of each centralizations option,
  • Evaluating the compatability of fleet vehicles for a joint maintenance operation, and
  • Analyzing workforce productivity levels.

Public Water Utility
The Board of Water Commissioners engaged Chatham Consulting qualified to review and evaluate fleet management practices of the water utility's fleet. The goal of this study is to identify practices that will optimize the procurement, maintenance, operation and utilization of the fleet. Our assessment examined whether the current approach of fleet management is generally in line with industry best practices. Specific recommendations for improvement were made in the following areas:
  • Vehicle Procurement - Recommend the best equipment to considering application & costs.
Garage Operations
Appropriate replacement cycle of fleet
Optimal fleet utilization

Chatham Consulting was subsequently engaged to provide implementation assistance in:
  • Developing a detailed manual of fleet policies and procedures
  • Preparing vehicle and equipment specifications suitable for procurement
  • Advising on procuring and evaluating fleet and fuel management software systems

Northwest Police Department
A Police Department in the Pacific Northwest engaged Chatham Consulting, Inc. to study the Department’s 234-unit fleet operation and make recommendations regarding its: fleet size and utilization, vehicle replacement schedules, vehicle type and equipment, take-home car and upfitting programs. Some of the questions we answered and provided recommendations were:
  • Is the Police Department getting good value for its fleet maintenance expenditures?
  • How competitive are the costs and turnaround times for upfitting patrol cars & motorcycles?
  • How can they become more competitive?
  • Is the mix between in-house and outsourced maintenance and repair work appropriate?
  • Does the Department have the right information to measure its fleet's performance?
  • What specifically can be done to improve quality, cost, and timeliness of services?
  • Are chargeback rates fair, equitable and sufficient?

Midwestern City

Chatham Consulting made a compressive review of the City’s 350-unit fleet operations, serving 14 municipal departments. This study reviewed, evaluated and provided guidance regarding the most cost-effective approach to the Fleet Division for its:
  • Internal Service Fund including its Vehicle and Equipment Replacement Program.
  • Vehicle and equipment life cycles,
  • Current vehicle amenities,
  • Return on investment analysis regarding options purchased on vehicles,
  • Current vehicle and equipment disposition methods and residual amounts received,
  • Effectiveness of the joint vehicle bid process with other metropolitan area municipalities.
  • Benefits of lease versus purchase options
  • Best practice recommendations for fleet management
In addition, we benchmarked the City to other comparable municipal fleets in the region.

Small Midwestern City
As part of its efforts for continuous improvement, the Public Works Department engaged Chatham Consulting, Inc. to conduct a comprehensive study for this 150 unit municipal fleet operation. This included an assessment of its Central Garage operations and procedures. The purpose of this study was to identify where change was needed and where fleet operations should be headed into the future. Among the issues addressed were:
  • Buy vs. lease analysis
  • Competitiveness with private industry
  • Current fleet performance
  • Customer satisfaction levels
  • Fleet funding and rental rates
  • Fleet records and information systems
  • Organization and staffing requirements
  • Shop operating practices
  • Spare parts management practices
  • Training needs and programs

Major Southern City
A major City engaged Chatham Consulting, Inc. to conduct an independent review of the City’s Fleet Services Department to assess how competitive the 1,430–unit existing, fleet operations are, where improvement may be needed, how to achieve such improvement, and which direction the department should be headed into the future. We evaluated and developed detailed recommendations regarding a broad spectrum of fleet administration, maintenance and asset management issues, including:
  • Benchmarking of cost and performance
  • Chargeback rate system
  • Commercially rented/leased vehicles
  • Customer communication and feedback
  • Equipment buyback options
  • Financial management issues
  • Fleet right-sizing opportunities
  • Fuel, fueling and fuel management
  • Management information system
  • Motor pool management and operation
  • Operator qualifications, certification, training
  • Organization and general management practices
  • Parts provisioning/inventory management
  • Personal vehicle use policy
  • Program mission and vision
  • Purchase versus leasing of equipment
  • Replacement planning
  • Safety and accident management
  • Satellite maintenance facilities
  • Staff size
  • Vehicle assignment and utilization
  • Vehicle disposal
  • Vehicle specification development

Southern City
Chatham Consulting, Inc. conducted a fleet size and utilization study for this 300-unit municipal fleet. Our approach combined: interviews; compilation of statistical, cost and operational data; observations and inspections; internal surveys; cost-effectiveness analyses; application of study team experience and knowledge of best fleet management practices. The report developed:
  • Specific Fleet Size Recommendations
  • An Ongoing Utilization Monitoring Program,
  • A Methodology for Selecting Vehicles to Be Replaced, and
  • Projected Cost Savings.

Southeast City

Faced with the potential loss of its main maintenance facility, this City engaged Chatham Consulting to conduct a Fleet Maintenance Facility Planning Study. This study estimated the number of mechanics, work bays and support facilities needed to service the rapidly growing 1,400-unit City fleet. For this study Chatham Consulting:
  • Projected the future size and composition of the fleet.
  • Estimated current and future maintenance and repair workload.
  • Estimated the number of work bays needed to service fleet.
  • Developed illustrative facility layouts for:
      - Police
      - Auto
      - Heavy Duty Trucks
      - Construction Equipment
      - Sanitation Equipment;
  • Estimated the construction costs and major equipment to outfit these facilities;
  • Developed site plan for 6.3-acre central shops complex

Southwest City

Chatham Consulting conducted a comprehensive Fleet Operations Study for the 1,010-unit municipal and transit fleets for this City located in the southwest. This study identified potential cost savings by either bringing efficiencies to current operations, privatizing them, or using some combination thereof. Using extensive data collection and analysis techniques that included customer, mechanic and benchmarking surveys as well as detailed work order and financial data analysis, the study team developed a comprehensive set of recommendations and a transition plan to guide the future direction and improvement of the operations. We addressed such issues as:
  • Vehicle acquisition funding and chargebacks,
  • Fleet utilization,
  • Fleet organization,
  • Preventive maintenance,
  • Information systems and performance measurement, and
  • Spare parts management.

East Coast County
For this 1,600 unit fleet operation, Chatham Consulting conducted a detailed and very comprehensive Fleet Operations Study to review current fleet management, maintenance and warehouse operations to identify potential cost savings and service improvement requirements. The study developed detailed recommendations in:
  • Restructuring the organization of Vehicle Services,
  • Improving warehouse management processes,
  • Establishing performance measurement systems,
  • Designing workforce-planning tools,
  • Outlining needed policies and procedures and other areas.

The project culminated in the development of an Improvement Planning document to guide management in implementation of the study’s recommendations.

Midwestern County
A County in the Midwest engaged Chatham Consulting for a Comprehensive Fleet Operations and Consolidation Study to identify the most efficient, effective and responsive means for the County to manage its 450-unit fleet operations. The County had operated a decentralized fleet operation. We advised the County on the following issues regarding centralization of the fleet:
  • Options for creation of a centralized Fleet Management function.
  • Organizational structure, staffing requirements and job descriptions.
  • Customer service level agreements.
  • Balanced scorecard and other performance metrics.
  • Capital facility and equipment recommendations.
  • Insourcing and outsourcing opportunities.
  • Strategies to reduce costs and improve management of fleet services.
  • Fleet management information system specifications.
  • Fleet maintenance process improvements.
  • Parts management strategy to minimize inventory and maximize value of materials.

West Coast County
Chatham Consulting conducted a Fleet Utilization Review of this County’s 1,100 fleet operations. The goal was to minimize fleet expense and determine prudent fleet size. As part of this study, we examined and developed recommendations for such issues as:
  • Personal Vehicle Reimbursements Versus County Provided Vehicles,
  • Take-Home Polices Regarding County-Owned Vehicles,
  • Motor Pool Utilization,
  • Vehicle Utilization Standards, and
  • Review of the County’s vehicle use policy, including comparisons to other jurisdictions.
We were able to identify many underutilized vehicles and equipment units that resulted in several departments turning in their surplus vehicles. We also computed the breakeven utilization mileage to guide County policy in setting the point at which the County should consider providing a County vehicle rather than asking them employees to use their personal vehicle. Conversely, we also conducted a detailed life cycle economic analysis of the County’s practice of requiring employees from certain departments to provide their own vehicle and reimburse them on a fixed and variable basis.

Our analysis found that it would be less expensive for the County to provide this group of employees with a mid-sized sedan instead of paying them a monthly car allowance and business mileage. We concluded with making specific recommendations on the County’s fleet use policy, based on fleet best management practices and County needs.

Mid-Atlantic County
Because of severe overcrowding at the existing Garage facility and increases in the size of the fleet it serves, a major County in a Mid-Atlantic state commissioned Chatham Consulting to evaluate the size, cost and staffing for a new fleet maintenance facility. We produced a preliminary site plan, floor plan, specifications and major equipment list as well as costs estimates for a new facility. We also successfully answered all of the following questions that County developed for this assignment.
  • How large a repair facility is required to handle the of 710 units?
  • How many and what kinds of repair bays will be needed?
  • How should the facility be equipped?
  • How should exisitng Wash Bay, Communications and Welding shops be incorporated?
  • How many and what kinds of mechanics will be needed?
  • How much parking will be needed in terms of slots and acreage?
  • How much growth potential should be designed in?
  • Is there adequate space at exisitng Public Service Center to locate such a new facility?
  • What is the cost to build and equip the proposed facility?

West Coast County Road Department
Chatham Consulting conducted a comprehensive fleet management assessment of the 180-unit County fleet operations. The goal was to review the strengths and practices of the Public Works Equipment Services operations, identify the areas that need further attention, and make recommendations for improvement. The study also included extensive benchmarking of other comparable fleet operations and economic life cycle analyses to determine optimum replacement guidelines. Some of the areas where we made recommendations were:
  • Fleet organization and staffing requirements,
  • Types of work that should be done in-house versus being outsourced,
  • Performance indicators needed,
  • Evaluation of customer service levels,
  • Appropriateness of current fleet size,
  • Proper charge back practices needed,
  • Cost effectiveness of the County’s replacement schedules,
  • Automotive parts inventory and control systems needed,
  • Fleet replacement and maintenance funding needs,
  • Work order and fleet information systems needs, and
  • Other information needed to better manage the Equipment Services function.

State Government Fleet
As part of a “Financial and Administrative Practices Review” Chatham Consulting reviewed the motor vehicle management practices for the State’s 16,000-unit passenger car and light truck vehicle fleet. Chatham Consulting developed recommendations that would generate $380,000 in one-time savings and over $7,000,000 in annual savings. The motor vehicle management issues reviewed included the: acquisition, assignment, utilization, repair and maintenance, and disposal of vehicles.

Chatham Consulting reviewed policies and procedures, organizational structure, information systems, and business processes related to the State’s fleet operations to determine how they affected fleet performance and identify opportunities for improvement. We interviewed key personnel, conducted site visits, performed a benchmarking analysis, sample-tested policies and procedures, conducted three surveys (internal fleet users, other states and local private sector fleets), and applied our knowledge of “best practices” regarding vehicle fleet management from both the private and public sectors.

State Department of Transportation
Chatham Consulting provided a comprehensive training seminar on best fleet management practices for managers and supervisors of the 3,000-unit Department of Transportation. The seminar included the following topics:
  • Right Sizing the Fleet
  • Preliminary Thoughts on Fleet Maintenance and Management
  • Recommended Inventory Levels
  • Vehicle Replacement Strategies
  • ABC Analysis
  • Vehicle Leasing
  • Cycle Counting
  • Various Methods To Arrange Unfilled Backlog
  • Standardizing the Fleet
  • Determination of Industry Service Levels

State University
Faced with a limited capital budget, an antiquated fleet maintenance facility and an expanded fleet inventory, this public university engaged Chatham Consulting to examine the functionality of the facility and develop recommendations to improve its physical capacity and efficiency. As part of this study, we:
  • Developed short-term recommendations to improve the facility capacity and efficiency,
  • Reviewed newly acquired buses to determine tooling and equipment needed for servicing,
  • Prepared an illustrative layout for optimizing space in the existing facility,
  • Estimated the costs of the recommendations, and
  • Documented study results and recommendations in a written report.

National Laboratory: West
Chatham Consulting, Inc. performed an objective, in-depth evaluation of the Fleet Services Department of a major National Laboratory, with an owned and leased fleet totaling 2,580 vehicles and mobile equipment units. The study was completed in an accelerated six-week schedule, and successfully met all the client’s objectives, including:
  • Assessment of current fleet operations,
  • Develop target areas for benchmarking gap analysis,
  • Side-by-side comparison of current fleet practices/policies/procedures to best business in:
      - Maintenance
      - Operations
      - Leased vehicles
      - Metrics tracking / trend data
This effort culminated in a detailed report and improvement plan of recommendations for each major functional area needing improvements based on best business practices.

National Laboratory: East
To support the Make or Buy assessment of the 330 unit Automotive Fleet Operations, Chatham Consulting provided service in three areas. The first was a benchmarking analysis, which compared fleet operations to other public and private sector fleets. The second was a detailed, nation-wide survey of fleet administration and maintenance issues at other major Department of Energy laboratory facilities. The third study was an economic analysis of continuing with present delivery of fleet services versus converting them to the General Services Administration (GSA) Interagency Fleet Management System. In a fourth study Chatham conducted a detailed fleet size and utilization that included a business case analysis of the impacts of changes in fleet size.

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Chatham Consulting, Inc.
9 Southward Court
Chatham, NJ 07928

Tel: 973-966-9262
Fax: 973-822-1467