Managing the Financial Side of Commercial Fleets

Cox Enterprises’ Fleet Creates Efficiencies by Utilizing Supply Chain Management

With more than 13,000 vehicles nationwide, the fleet team has saved millions of dollars and lowered greenhouse gas emissions by selecting the right vehicles, streamlining operational processes, and implementing GPS.

January 2011, by Cheryl Knight - Also by this author

Bill Gooden, vehicle specialist; Roger Turner, fleet acquisition manager; Kim Gheesling, support analyst; Matt Kuhn, director, vehicle operations; Mark Leuenberger, AVP supply chain/fleet; Serina Hardiman, sr. technical analyst; and Chris Seay, support administrator.

With a national product reach, more than 60,000 employees in 300 separate businesses, and revenues of nearly $15 billion, Atlanta-based Cox Enterprises continues to pave the way in the communications, media, and automotive services industries.

Originally founded in 1898 by former schoolteacher and news reporter James Cox, the company began its more than 110-year journey by delivery of the daily news on a borrowed $26,000 from James' friends and family and the purchase of the Dayton Evening News (now the Dayton Daily News).

More than a century later, the organization has grown to include four major operating subsidiaries - Cox Communications, Inc.; Manheim, Inc.; Cox Media Group, Inc.; and The company's diverse portfolio finds ongoing success by focusing on Cox's employees, surrounding communities, and continually searching for better ways to do business.

Cox's corporate mission includes encouraging employee creativity, inclusion, and calculated risk-taking. Dedicated to customer and audience needs, the media giant seizes new business opportunities whenever possible.

"We do what's right for our communities, through sponsorships, donations, and volunteer activities," said Mark Leuenberger, Cox Enterprises' assistant vice president of Supply Chain Services and Fleet Management. "These are the values that guide us in every decision we make."

A 12-year veteran fleet manager for Cox, Leuenberger manages the companywide fleet, consisting of more than 13,000 vehicles. He also serves as chief negotiator for all fleet-related vendor contracts and services and oversees Cox's supply chain services and procurement functions, including the company's supplier diversity program. Prior to joining Cox's supply chain services team in mid-2010, Leuenberger was fleet director at Cox Enterprises, as well as director of field service technology for Cox Communications.

Diverse Portfolio Leads to Diverse Fleet

While just about every vehicle manufacturer is represented in the Cox fleet, most are Ford and GM models leased primarily from Wheels and ARI.

Vehicle functions are broad and include Cox Communications, Inc. cable technicians - both field operations (in home cable technicians) and network operations (plant technicians); executive drivers; lot vehicles at Manheim for shuttling customers around auction lots; sales vehicles across all divisions; and pool vehicles at all locations.

"From newspaper delivery trucks to warehouse trucks, tow trucks to broadcast vehicles for TV stations, we operate an extremely diverse fleet," Leuenberger said.

With more than 13,000 fleet vehicles, selecting the right vehicles, streamlining departmental operational processes, minimizing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and remaining cost-conscious are critical missions for the Cox Fleet Department. Key departmental goals for the 35-member fleet staff include knowing what the operational needs are, assessing green vehicles, ensuring the right vehicles are in place, and monitoring operating costs. Top fleet best practices include safety; Cox Conserves, the company's green initiative; and standardization.

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