(Ed. Note: This is the fourth of a multi-part series on fleet management software. For earlier articles in this series, go to www.hendonpub.com and click Resources, then click Article Archives.)
Since 1986, Current Software has been providing fleets of all types and sizes with cost-effective fleet management solutions. This Windows-based ExtraFleet software offers features and functions common to fleets in both the public and private sectors. The company also offers ExtraFleet Global Access, a hosted version that operates via Windows Remote Desktop. For agencies that have limited local IT resources or require internet access from any PC, this is an attractive option.
ExtraFleet is a comprehensive asset management package with additional add-on options that optimize the overall effectiveness of the software. Some of the key upgrades include 1), Electronic Fuel Management System Interface – a customized system that works with both on-site and off-site systems, such as GasBoy and Wright Express, 2) ShirtPocket WorkStation – features hand-held devices that capture real-time activity for work order processing, remote fuel data collection, and inventory taking, and 3) Technician WorkStation – provides shop floor technicians with an ATM-style interface and bar code scanner.
Current Software offers several versions of ExtraFleet, allowing agencies to find the right solution for their specific needs. The Single User version is ideal for small and medium-sized fleets and allows access to all to the software functions from a single workstation. This includes preventive maintenance scheduling, access to lifetime repair history, cost reporting, and part inventory management. The cost of this complete package is $2,000 and includes one year of telephone support and updates.
For larger fleets, the Multi-User option provides access for up to five workstations, allowing managers and mechanics to use the system at the same time. If more workstations are required, cost-effective network upgrades are offered in blocks of five.
Agencies starting out with the single-user system can also easily upgrade to a multi-user version, since the screens and functions are the same for both. The cost for the Multi-User version is $2,750 with additional blocks available for $750.
Primarily designed for organizations that require storing database information on an off-site server, the Multi-User TSE version can be purchased for $1,500. This is an excellent option for agencies where the server is housed in one location and the shop in another. To allow personnel access to the maintenance management system from any desktop worldwide, ExtraFleet Global Access is available for a monthly fee of $100 - $150 per user. With Global Access, no in-house IT staff is needed and data is backed up continuously.
For large-scale operations that process thousands of work orders annually from multiple locations, Current Software’s Client Server solution is recommended. This version operates on a Windows SQL2000 platform and features multiple sites and multiple parts inventories. Pricing varies, so agencies interested in this option are encouraged to call for specific pricing.
Current Software provides toll-free telephone support to all active users, offers periodic on-line training sessions, and their support staff is always available to answer questions and troubleshoot. According to Current Software’s President, Tom Wisenall, there are six areas in which the company excels in the marketplace: ease of use, flexibility, scalability, administrative productivity, price, and service.
He states, “We are continually pleased to hear from users who have experienced other software that ExtraFleet is easy to live with on a day to day basis, rather than being perceived as an onerous burden. We have been able to maintain a customer base with an annual service and support contract renewal rate that exceeds 90%.” Agencies interested in purchasing ExtraFleet can download the software and use it free for 30 days.
Innovative Maintenance Systems
Founded in 1994, Innovative Maintenance Systems (IMS) has been a leading provider of fleet management software for thousands of customers worldwide. The company prides itself on offering quality software at reasonable prices, in addition to superior training and support. By responding to customer feedback, IMS has designed easy-to-use software systems that have the functionality that most agencies require.
Fleet Maintenance Pro 11.0 is a comprehensive software package that allows users to customize their reports, from layout options to data changes and queries. Available in three different versions (Standard, Deluxe, and Shop), it effectively manages fleet inventory, preventive maintenance, repairs, fuel, and parts.
Agencies that outsource their maintenance generally choose Standard or Deluxe, while those that manage their fleet in-house opt for the Shop edition. Because it offers the most features and is ideal for municipalities that have their own service facility, the Shop edition is their best seller.
The main features of the Standard edition include 1) Preventive Maintenance – provides color-coding alerts that automatically display upon program startup, 2) Repair and Fuel Tracking – monitors repair trends and performs fuel statistics calculations, and 3) History Recording – tracks all preventative and repair maintenance history.
The Deluxe edition has some extra features, such as a Fleet and Parts Inventory component that tracks parts usage and an unlimited number of vehicles. The Shop edition performs all of the above functions, and also provides a Work Order feature that automatically generates work orders for all equipment based on the due maintenance.
Additional modules are also available for purchase. The Security Module is designed for agencies that want to restrict function access for certain users. These user security settings determine the number of screens and data available to personnel. Users can create their own unique reports with the Custom Report Designer add-on. It provides the option to design a report from scratch or through a wizard-driven process, and can be easily accessed in the existing main menu structure.
For agencies that have a fleet fueling card, such as Wright Express or Petrovend, the Fuel Import module is recommended. With this option, fuel transactions are automatically imported from the fuel card system into Fleet Maintenance Pro, which then examines the data, updates odometer readings, and calculates fuel economy.
Elk City, Oklahoma has been using the Fleet Maintenance Pro Shop Edition to manage their municipal fleets since 2002. They currently use Version 11 to monitor vehicles and equipment for the police department and public works division, as well as tracking traffic light maintenance. Elk City’s Fleet Maintenance Manager, Larry Hart, says the system’s straight-forward approach makes it very user-friendly. He also gives the company high marks for their exceptional training and support, stating “I have even sent support requests on a Sunday and, by early Monday morning, have a reply.”
According to company president Brian Kennedy, sales and technology staff are available to assist with the deployment of the software. While he points out that the software has been designed to ensure easy installation, issues are readily addressed and handled. In fact, Kennedy notes that ease of use is a large part of what makes Fleet Maintenance Pro so popular.
He states, “When we add features, we are very careful not to disturb the look and feel of the application since many like it just the way it is. Customers like the spreadsheet look of the main menu screen and the immediate color coding of the equipment when it is due for service. In a nutshell, everything is available at your fingertips.”
Pricing for the Fleet Maintenance Pro 11.0 varies, depending the version level and number of users. Cost for the Standard version ranges from $400 for a single-user to $2,500 for Network 10+ users. Deluxe pricing is $600 - $3,500, while the Shop version starts at $950 and goes to $5,000. The additional modules range in price from $99 to $299. In response to customer request, the company will also offer a web-based solution in 2010. To download a free trial, go to their website.
Susan Geoghegan is a freelance writer living in Naples, Fla. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photos courtesy of John Bellah.