So how does a city get started if it’s changing from decentralized fleet management to consolidated fleet management? Once the decision has been made to form a department of fleet services, senior leaders (the city manager and/or mayor) should designate the fleet manager, and form a cross-functional team that represents the stakeholders impacted. It’s important that this group has the support of the city administration. The team should include representatives from purchasing, financing and key department heads. The purposes of the group are to develop strategies on how to consolidate fleet functions, to pool data, define policies and procedures, develop goals and objectives, etc. This group should (1) discuss the needs of fleet customers; (2) gather data such as a listing of fleet inventory, budget information, staff training and certifications; (3) evaluate and/or develop policies; and (4) establish goals. Then the group working together or the fleet manager working independently should determine replacement priorities. (See example replacement priority list.)
The vehicle replacement sample plan demonstrates a model vehicle/equipment plan developed by MTAS and is similar to the replacement plan for Polk County, Fla., and to other plans posted on the American Public Works Association (APWA) website. See www.apwa.net.
The hard part is starting funding for the plan. There are basically three ways to start a vehicle replacement fund: from cash, savings, or borrowing.