And We Have a Winner!
By Police Fleet
The winner of the Police
Fleet Manager Magazine “Fleet Tips” contest is Officer Richard Lee. He is
the fleet manager for the San Francisco Police Department and member of the
Dodge Police Advisory Board. See the Fleet Maintenance Tips article in the
July-August 2013 issue of Police Fleet
Manager and the Fleet Profile: San Francisco Police Department article in
the November-December 2009 issue of Police
Fleet Manager. (Go to www.hendonpub.com, Resources, Article Archives.)
Lee’s winning “Fleet Tips” is not so much for any one
recommendation. Instead, it is for a series of tips all aimed at highly
maintaining a police fleet, even over-maintaining it. Not earthshaking, but steps
like the continued practice of changing oil at 3,000 miles instead of waiting
on the Change Oil light. What an attitude…over-maintaining an emergency
More to the point from Officer Lee: When patrol, unmarked or
admin vehicles come in for fueling, if PM is due, pull the vehicle out of
service. Tweak your service intervals based on your jurisdiction. Hilly? Check
the brakes more often. Dusty? Check the filters more often. Don’t see the vehicles
for thousands of miles? Replace the brake pads when half worn, not when the
scrapers hit the rotors.
Consider CNG vehicles, if possible. Use the “greenest”
vehicles available for non-pursuit admin vehicles. Use only OE or (proven and
documented) OE-equivalent replacement parts. Consider solar panels mounted on
lightbars as a trickle charge to offset parasitic electrical losses. Consider
an award program for officers who take care of their vehicles—a priority on new
vehicles—while those who abuse and damage their vehicles get higher mileage
vehicles as replacements.
And, yes, a highly maintained vehicle is a proven way to
lower the total cost of ownership. Remember the old Fram filter ad, “You can
pay me now or pay me later?” Catchy ad, but not quite true. The fleet facts are
actually, You can pay me now or pay me MORE later.
Maximus did a total cost study based on the percent
compliance to the preventative maintenance schedule. Compliance means the PM is
done within 500 miles of the schedule. Check the compliance rate of your fleet,
but expect it to be 30 percent or less. Don’t be surprised if it is 0 percent,
large fleet or small. Maximus found that by increasing the PM compliance rate
from 30 percent to 95 percent, you will lower your overall repair costs by 38
That is just the hard dollars and cents. The indirect
benefits are a fleet much more fit for the emergency response role, a fleet
with a higher officer morale, a fleet with less downtime, a fleet that is a
best practices benchmark for fleets around you. Increasing PM compliance rates
will initially take more managing, and perhaps better fleet software, but a 38
percent reduction in repair costs is the reward.
Lowering fleet operation costs by increasing the compliance
rate begins with attitude. As chief, sheriff or fleet manager, an
over-maintenance attitude may just be the key to increasing compliance rates.
Of course, a 95 percent compliance rate is not over-maintenance…it is
economical maintenance. Anything less is under-maintenance.
Officer Lee, enjoy the PFM
logo leather jacket. (The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco. – Mark
Twain) For the rest of us, let’s get to work on increasing that PM compliance
rate and lowering repair costs.