Prince William County’ Fleet Management Division jumped 63 spots this year to end up at number 23 on The 100 Best Fleets in the Americas Program, which recognizes and rewards peak performing fleets in North and South America by identifying and encouraging increased performance levels, improvement and innovation.
Prince William County bested some of the larger fleet organizations, including the New York City Police Department; Port Authority of New York and New Jersey; Fairfax County, Va.; San Bernadino County, Calif.; San Diego, Calif. and the Michigan Department of Transportation.
Prince William County Fleet Management Division Chief, Edward A. Hamilton, Sr., said that while his department gets “bragging rights” by winning the award, the real winners are county residents, who can be reassured that the fleet, which includes public safety vehicles, is reliable. “For county residents, it’s more in the context of public safety. We’re ensuring that police, fire and sheriff department fleets are operational and able to respond to public safety requirements and emergencies.”
Award criteria for placing in the Top 100 included collaboration, creativity, performance recognition, quick efficient turnaround and resource stewardship.
“It’s based on a submission. We prepare an entry packet and against about 15 different criteria that we have to prepare a narrative response,” said Hamilton, adding that creativity with some of the new practices that his department instituted played a big part in Prince William jumping up the list.
For instance, it is now easier for Prince William fleet customers can get a vehicle. “We’ve automated that process and now we have the kiosks. You can do it online and we’ll give you a code, you put it in, and it releases a key to the vehicle,” said Hamilton. Kiosks are located at Dr. A, J. Ferlazzo Building, Development Services Building and Sudley North.
Customers can also go to an online portal to check repair status, which also has a quicker turn around. “If you bring a vehicle in here for service or repair, it’s actually ready by the next day,” said Hamilton.
Innovative use of technology such as GPS also played a big role in receiving the award. “We have, right now, about 380 vehicles in the county fleet that have GPS technology,” Hamilton said. “A lot of people think about GPS and think it’s because we want to see how fast they’re driving, but we use GPS more for maintenance technology. GPS technology allows us to get engine codes and get information on your vehicle before it breaks down. It also enables us to manage fuel information. We can also tell whether the battery is getting low. All of those are technologies that we get from GPS.”
The submission also had to demonstrate that fleet personnel showed improvement, including getting certified in Automotive Service Excellence, or ASE. “It means that they have received and gained proficiency and certification through testing, online and hands-on in their craft and have been awarded skills identifiers,” said Hamilton. “The award also recognized our innovativeness in greening the fleet. This year, the police department, sheriff and fire are all getting hybrid vehicles. We’ve also brought in electric vehicles.”
Hamilton said Prince William County Fleet Management is always trying to make things better: “We look at best practices and we look at solutions. Sometimes, we create those to make sure our fleet is reliable.”