Cox Enterprises is utilizing Chevin Fleet Solutions’ FleetWave to deliver comprehensive fleet and asset management oversight for more than 13,000 assets across North America.
The name Cox Enterprises won’t set bells ringing for some, but there’s no doubt that they will have come in to contact with its products or services on more than one occasion. Considered one of the world’s most diverse corporate entities, Cox is a multi-billion dollar business with 65,000 employees, and is home to international consumer and trade brands across the communication and automotive industries.
From its humble beginnings in 1898, with a single newspaper to its name, Cox Enterprises has grown to include a media group that delivers broadcast, publishing, digital, and advertising across North America, and is one of the largest suppliers of cable TV and broadband in the US.
You could say that Cox is somewhat the expert in the automotive industry too, heading-up the internet’s biggest auto classified marketplace, Autotrader.com, and it is also responsible for the industry’s chief vehicle remarketing service provider, Manheim.
Cox’s Communications has a mixed fleet of light track vans, bucket trucks, service vans and heavy duty vehicles, each playing a vital role in its delivery of its nationwide IP Network. To manage its vehicles and the vehicle related data generated by operations, Cox used a hybrid fleet management application provided by one of its vehicle maintenance management vendors.
This service was later withdrawn by the vendor, highlighting Cox’s need for a reliable, independent system of its own. An interim database was introduced to manage records while a suitable solution was sourced. Like the previous system, this database was able to capture the large volumes of data generated by the fleet and its myriad of suppliers; however could not provide timely reports or examine that information in a meaningful way.
The system supported data generated from vehicle maintenance and accident records, fuel expense claims, and administrative documentation such as purchase orders, delivery notes and invoices.
Users found the system cumbersome, requiring difficult and labour intensive manual input of data. Cox’s fleet applications administrator, Serina Hardiman, explained: “We were continually populating spreadsheets for the sake of it, ending up with never-ending lists and records, which were often irrelevant and difficult to sort through.”
Knowing a thing or two about managing vehicle information, Cox soon realized the need for an intelligent fleet management solution to harness the power of its 13,000 strong fleet; the front line in delivering its industry renowned cable and broadband services.
Maintaining and managing a fleet this diverse produces vast amounts of data, most of which is vital to Cox’s operations. An information system capable of integrating the myriad of internal systems with company-wide operating data in addition to information generated by numerous external vendors was needed.
The replacement system needed to be uncomplicated, so that the various personnel, whether they work in administration, maintenance or operations could use the applications easily. Additionally, in order to be used across the country and potentially around the world, the system had to be web-based, enabling users to log in from any workstation in any location.
A consultation team was set-up by Cox to define the fleet management teams’ specific requirements and create a shortlist of potential candidates based on the following criteria: flexibility, accessibility and global visibility. FleetWave, from Chevin Fleet Solutions, was eventually shown to be the best of the bunch, so in October 2008 implementation was rolled out.
“FleetWave stood out as the only solution in the market that was capable of handling the diverse demands we would place on it. We needed a one-stop-shop that we could rely on to import data across departments, capture our assets and provide us with up-to-date accurate information in real time,” Serina continued
A dedicated project manager from Chevin walked through Cox’s complex business processes with the internal consulting team, to ascertain how FleetWave could best be configured to harness the potential of Cox’s valuable assets. After system configuration and prototyping, interface design could begin.
This process involved close liaison with the fleet department to design screens to correspond with specific requirements and drop-down menus that were user definable and simple to operate. Once developed, the numerous interfaces were tested internally and then with vendors, vehicle and equipment leasers, and maintenance and accident management services and commercial fuel card providers. To accomplish the aggressive four month implementation project, comprehensive onsite system training was then delivered.
As part of an overall company strategy to reduce costs and streamline processes, Cox Enterprises rolled out its new enterprise fleet management information system, FleetWave across its Communication Division and Corporate Headquarters fleet personnel with a view to extend this system to further divisions in the future.
FleetWave enabled Cox to capture its complex and disparate fleet and operational data across all of its divisions, and then extrapolate real-time information to leverage acquisition costs and reduce fleet spend. Within the first year it was able to use this information to promote a 10% fleet size reduction for its communications, media and headquarter divisions.
This “global visibility” has put real-time performance data at fleet manager’s finger tips so that any variance can be closely monitored and resources can be allocated more effectively.
The data available to fleet managers is now more accurate due to the automated consolidation of numerous information streams, which also minimises the opportunity for human error as well as reducing administrative burden.
“Now with this information, we have been able to identify inefficiencies across the division, so we can address those issues by improving our processes. This has enabled us to realign our strategies company-wide, in tune with what’s really going on with our assets.
“Administrative hours have been significantly reduced, now that vendors have access to relevant interfaces so that they can input data. That is then automatically consolidated with our own information such as purchase orders and invoicing.
“We are able to pull off accurate reports that are defined by us. Not only does this enable us to trouble shoot, but also leverage information relating to vehicle maintenance and fuel consumption to create standardized data.,” Serina concluded.
Cox Enterprises is still expanding its use of FleetWave and looking at ways to build on the current system with additional modules to further optimize fleet operations. A company wide roll-out program may soon be introduced.