(Ed Note: This is the second in a multi-part series on fleet management software. Other companies will be covered in future issues.)
Police agencies and municipalities continue to benefit from advances in Internet technology and telecommunications. As with all other aspects of policing, fleet management is going paperless thanks to software programs that allow efficient and cost-effective maintenance of fleet resources. Acquisition, fueling, repairs and accurate record-keeping are just a few of the features that help to streamline the process. With the click of a mouse, a vehicle’s entire service and repair history can be accessed.
Most fleet management software systems can be customized to meet an agency’s specific needs, regardless of size. Second in a series focusing on fleet management technology products for small and medium-sized agencies, this article covers two companies that offer flexible and adaptable solutions. Ron Turley Associates, Inc. (RTA)
For 30 years, Ron Turley Associates, Inc. (RTA) has been providing quality fleet management software to school districts, airports and municipalities, as well as the trucking and cargo industries. Turley founded RTA in 1979 after spending 17 years as the national fleet manager for United Parcel Service (UPS). RTA software is currently installed in more than 1,400 fleets, ranging in size from 10 to 10,000 vehicles.
RTA Fleet Management offers a comprehensive, highly customizable software system with many user-defined features and options. The Vehicle Inventory module tracks repair and cost history for each vehicle, allows tracking and scheduling for more than 200 PM categories, and keeps inventory up-to-date with the OEM warranty tracking feature.
The Work Order System module provides real-time access to fleet information and vehicle, inventory and repair history; updates vehicle repair costs and PM information; calculates mechanic productivity; and issues immediate notification if repeat work has been done.
The Tire Inventory and Tracking module controls tire costs by tracking where dollars are being spent, monitors tire performance, and provides replacement projection reports that eliminate costly road-call repairs.
The Parts Inventory and Purchase Orders module reduces excessive in-house inventory by automatically deducting used parts from inventory; allows both manual and automatic pre-set re-order points; tracks parts warranty, usage quantity and vendor price history; and includes bar coding software and hardware.
Finally, the Fuel Inventory and Usage Tracking module tracks fuel usage for each vehicle, as well as fuel deliveries and dispensing; automatically calculates State fuel taxes; updates PM schedules; and provides vehicle cost reports.
A variety of additional software options can be purchased. Larger fleets may want to consider several add-ons, such as the Motor Pool module which features custom billing rates, reservations, and check-in and check-out ability. The IQ Report Writer creates customized reports, generates charts and graphs, and is easily transferable to other software programs. With the Report Runner, users can generate a Batch Report that can be pre-set to print out at any time of day or night.
The Paperless Shop module is RTA’s most popular add-on as it allows for 100 percent accountability of the shop personnel. E-mail capability is available through the Messenger module and allows communication among mechanics and parts personnel. For agencies that have an Automated Fueling System, the Electronic Fuel Interface transfers information into the RTA software program, eliminating re-keying and recording errors.
Since its first release in 1981, RTA has kept pace with the industry’s technological advances by issuing major updates annually. It also adds enhancements and new modules, most at no additional charge to the end user.
RTA President Larry Turley proudly stated that many of his employees have been with the company since its inception, allowing personnel and customers to build a solid relationship. He makes a point of hiring former fleet managers as they have a better understanding of the problems that arise with the installation of new software.
Because each customer is unique, the company provides implementation and consulting services to ensure that the appropriate system is installed. For ongoing training and support, RTA holds regional classes at a number of locations throughout the year, as well as on-site classroom training.
Most calls to the tech support department are handled immediately, with an average call-back wait of 18 minutes for those that are not. Turley noted that although the software “has advanced features, and training is always recommended, it is extremely easy to use right out of the box.”
With a population of almost 135,000 covering 18,661 square miles, Arizona’s Coconino County is the second largest county in the United States. They have used RTA fleet management software since 1992 and continually purchase upgrades as they become available. Several optional add-ons have also been integrated, such as the Paperless Shop, Motor Pool and Fuel modules.
Rod Permar, Coconino County’s Parts and Supplies supervisor, finds the software extremely user-friendly and cited that even employees with no previous computer experience were able to master the system in a relatively short time. This easy implementation, along with RTA’s top-notch training and support, has made Permar a loyal and enthusiastic customer.
Permar points out that through the years, RTA has developed and improved the program based on user feedback: “They really mean it when they ask, ‘What can we change in the program to make your job easier or make you more efficient?’ I would recommend this Fleet Management Software to anyone.”
RTA offers a wide range of pricing, making its software affordable for fleets of all sizes. A small fleet can acquire the software for as little as $1,995, while the cost for a larger fleet would range from $15,000 to $25,000, depending on options. The largest agencies and municipalities might pay as much as $75,000.
According to Turley, the company’s average purchase price of $7,000 to $10,000 allows the company to compete well against more expensive packages offered in the marketplace. Agencies can access a free demo download of RTA’s fleet management software from its Web site. TMW Systems
Since 1983, TMW Systems has been a leading supplier of transportation services software, providing its customers with the technology to improve asset productivity and operational efficiency. The company serves both the private and public sectors, including municipal government, and has offices in five locations throughout the United States and Canada.
With TMT Fleet Maintenance solutions, agencies can maximize efficiency in every aspect of vehicle and equipment management. It allows access to real-time information, monitors and streamlines workflow, and provides detailed reports. Users can analyze, evaluate and manage fleet equipment assets and expenses.
TMT software is available in both Windows and IBM iSeries AS/400 OS platforms, or as a Web-based ASP-hosted solution. According to TMW Marketing Director Monica Truelsch, the Windows application is by far the biggest seller. Easy to set up and user-friendly, it is a good option for small to medium-sized agencies.
Equipment productivity and cost control are both top priorities for municipal and government fleets. TMT software provides effective management of preventive maintenance needs and warranty recovery tools to offset repair expenses. By monitoring parts inventory, mechanic productivity, and fuel and tire usage, agencies can reduce costs and improve productivity.
TMT software automates the maintenance life cycle of all assets, from demand to execution to back office. Truelsch suggests beginning with a core set of modules. This includes Equipment Management, which tracks maintenance costs per mile and hour, provides cost comparisons, and monitors license permits and inspections. It also includes Shop Management, which provides total shop management including real-time repair orders, PM scheduling, mechanic productivity through job codes and shop labor analysis.
Other modules in this core group include Parts and Purchasing Management, which interfaces with all fuel management systems for instant meter updates and monitors fuel inventories and vendor purchase history, and Warranty Management, which allows complete tracking of component and system warranties and automatically creates warranty master records.
TMW also offers a range of add-on modules, such as Mechanic Workstation (tracks mechanic hours and repair orders with a touch-screen kiosk application) and Shop Planner (coordinates and tracks repair schedules and forecasts labor needs). For shops that handle repairs for other fleets in addition to their own, the Invoicing module is offered. The Road Call module manages work history and tracks cost of repairs performed at outside shops.
When Wake County, NC, was looking for fleet management solutions, they chose TMT Fleet Management software. The initial purchase included the Mechanics Workstation, Shop Planner and Transman fleet maintenance system. They were also looking for a module that would focus on parts management, so TMT worked directly with them to develop the Parts Workstation. The Alerts Module was later added to allow e-mail communication among drivers when their vehicles were due for PM servicing.
According to Thomas Kuryla, director of Fleet Operations, their mechanics readily adapted to the TMT software, and when problems arise, the support staff is always helpful and attentive. He stated, “We have enjoyed using the TMT product over the years and the direction that they have maintained, which is to continue development to meet the needs of the customer.”
Truelsch pointed out that the integrated nature of the TMT software solution provides crucial inventory management and warranty reclaim capability, resulting in huge savings for municipal fleets: “It is not uncommon for a new customer to realize up to 30 percent in cost reductions for maintenance operations because of tighter inventory management, lower stock levels and more frequent turns, as well as dramatically improved warranty claim revenues.”
Pricing for TMT software is based on the number of units being tracked and any additional modules that are purchased. For example, a 300-unit fleet with two users would cost approximately $8,000, while a larger fleet of 750 units would require a more complete package that could run from $35,000 to $60,000 or more.
Truelsch noted that with TMW’s ASP-hosted model, customers can access their systems via the Internet. This popular option is priced per unit per month, with a flat fee per number of users and lower monthly fees for longer-term contracts. To request additional information or schedule a product demonstration, go to the TMW Web site. Susan Geoghegan is a freelance writer living in Naples, Florida. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.