Fleet managers are often a long-tenured bunch with decades of experience under their respective belts. Yet relative newcomers to the industry are making names for themselves, as apparent in Automotive Fleet & Leasing Association’s (AFLA) Fleet Visionary Awards.
AFLA’s annual conference celebrates industry game-changers with under 10 years of experience in fleet. Visionaries were selected by their ability to offer unique and novel perspectives that demonstrably resulted in increased operational efficiencies, safer drivers and creative problem-solving techniques.
Four Wheels’ clients were honored as nominees. We’d like to express our congrats to the winner Sharon Etherington of Roche Diagnostics and the rest of the fleet visionaries by sharing their stories.
2019 Fleet Visionary of the Year: Sharon Etherington, Roche Diagnostics
Sharon Etherington, manager of regional procurement services at Roche Diagnostics took home the top honor due to her ability to tackle challenges head-on and work tirelessly until a positive outcome is delivered.
As Roche Diagnostics’ parent company set an ambitious fuel economy goal of 36.7 mpg for its U.S. fleet, Sharon made giant strides by standardizing one diesel model to support the sustainability initiative. Then when progress was interrupted by a model availability issue, she left no stone unturned examining vehicles from every manufacturer to find a replacement.
Ultimately, she determined that switching to hybrids met multiple needs for the fleet team and of the Safety Health and Environmental team. But she also wanted to select vehicles that promoted driver satisfaction. She designed a selector that gave drivers choice: four popular midsize hybrid sedans, a diesel SUV, and a newly selected SUV hybrid in Q4 2019. Not only did her choices fit well with fleet stakeholders, the mpg goal was met and emission pollution was reduced.
The new strategy delivered a 34.7 mpg compared. With a fleet made up of 82% hybrids, she has now set her sights on adding a hybrid SUV to the mix—continuing to raise the fuel economy bar.
2019 Fleet Visionary Award Honoree: Angelica Garcia, Edward C. Levy
Angelica Garcia, purchasing coordinator for Edward C. Levy, had a vision to increase the efficiency of her fleet. So, she consolidated billing and vehicle ordering templates, moved from manual to automated processes, and leveraged tools to monitor the status and results of her fleet’s activities. With the ordering and remarketing processes change, she saved 1.5 hours of labor on each new vehicle ordered.
Instead of taking vehicles near the end of their life to auction, Angelica repurposed many of them as site/plant vehicles. This allows some drivers to replace their vehicles sooner. Her vision and efforts have successfully saved the fleet office 90+ hours annually of administrative work and helped increase driver satisfaction.
2019 Fleet Visionary Award Honoree: Alex May, Rollins
Alex May, senior manager of fleet at Rollins, runs a tightly controlled operation that’s focused on saving lives and looking toward the future.
Rollins was an early adopter of telematics to monitor safe driving but Alex took it further. Rollins’ vehicles are equipped with many of the advanced in-vehicle safety tools such as lane-keeping assistance and automatic emergency braking. He’s gone the extra mile and worked with automakers to understand the differences and limitations of each offering. Additionally, May is dedicated to educating and training his drivers on using those features properly.
Looking ahead to different mobility needs and how Rollins can safely move drivers and equipment, May keeps an open mind about autonomous vehicles. He doesn’t view them as a replacement for drivers but to improve the efficiency and safety of technicians while on the job.
2019 Fleet Visionary Award Honoree: SuYvonne Bell, Gilead Sciences
SuYvonne Bell, senior commercial operations analyst at Gilead Sciences, has researched and aligned optimal and analytical services for a previous fleet program in field-based sales and medical affairs. She also managed market employees, in the areas of fleet management, vehicle replacement scheduling, performance benchmarking, action plan tracking, training and vendor management.
SuYvonne developed and implemented a driver handbook, fleet calendar of events, and biannual fleet vehicle inspections to increase driver customer satisfaction and communication of fleet services. She also worked closely with fleet vendors to significantly reduce time out of territory due to scheduled and unscheduled vehicle maintenance and provided a quantitative increase to sales productivity. SuYvonne was honored with the Commercial Operations Vision Award in 2017 for her efforts at Gilead Sciences.
We are so proud to partner with these wonderful organizations and the fleet visionaries that they employ to continually optimize their respective fleets. If there’s a fleet visionary you think we should nominate next year, contact me at SRajapakse@Wheels.com.