Managing the Financial Side of Commercial Fleets

2017 Fleet Executive of the Year Award Nominees

July 2017, by Staff

File photo
File photo

The Fleet Executive of the Year award was created to recognize exceptional leadership by managers who hold the title of vice president or higher and/or have other responsibilities beyond fleet. Four fleet executives have been nominated to receive the award later this year.

The CEI Group is the exclusive sponsor for the Fleet Executive of the Year award. A panel of industry judges will evaluate criteria submissions including cost-saving initiatives, policy setting, creation of innovative programs, and cultivation of fleet manager training and management.

The Fleet Executive of the Year award, along with the Professional Fleet Manager of the Year award, will be announced at the 2017 AFLA conference, which will be held Sept.17 to 20 at the M Resort & Spa Casino, in Las Vegas.

Lynda Dinwiddie

  • Company: LabCorp
  • Title: Associate Vice President 
  • Total Vehicles: 5,200
  • Staff Supervised: 4
  • Years in Fleet: 28
  • Replacement Policy: 100,000 miles for gas engines, 150,000 miles for hybrids and diesels.

Over the last year, Lynda Dinwiddie not only successfully managed LabCorp’s fleet of 5,200 small station wagons, minivans and full-size vans at a best-in-class 34 cents per mile, she overcame some unique challenges. Managing the VW emissions recall took a lot of planning and patience, but by having a backup plan and fostering partnerships with vehicle manufacturers, she was able to make the situation work to her fleet’s advantage.

Dinwiddie worked through a major change affecting one third of the fleet when the VW emissions recall was announced. The recall impacted more than 1,800 fuel-efficient Jetta diesel units that were the cornerstone of LabCorp’s cost management efforts. The company was forced to make a switch from the Jetta to a similar vehicle that could provide the same levels of comfort, cargo space, and fuel economy.

However, Labcorp was required to keep the Jettas while waiting for courts to decide the terms of VW’s settlement. This meant than many of LabCorp’s units remained in service well beyond their normal replacement cycle. During this time Dinwiddie expertly managed maintenance expenses for these aging high-mileage vehicles, and kept her out of network maintenance charges to less than 1%.

At the same time, Dinwiddie positioned LabCorp to make a quick transition just as soon as terms of the settlement for U.S. fleets were announced. After researching replacement models she pre-ordered 1,800 Chevrolet Equinox units, and worked with GM to expedite delivery to meet a tight turnaround time, even though timing of the settlement was uncertain. Dinwiddie’s partnership with the manufacturers also resulted in higher incentives for the new vehicles.

When the VW settlement terms were finally reached, Dinwiddie was able to spring into action. Working in partnership with her fleet management company, drivers, dealers, VW and GM, she coordinated turn-in and inspections of the VW models with the delivery of new Equinoxes. The transition was complete with a 90-day time frame to keep the impact to her fleet and customers at a minimum.

All of this was done while Dinwiddie continued her day-to-day fleet responsibilities, and keeping senior management informed every step of the way.

Also, despite not being directly involved with the daily fleet European operations, she helped with the oversight of LabCorp’s fleet of 450 European fleet vehicles by consolidating their operations from multiple FMCs to just one, as well as narrowing down asset control to two OEMs. This gave the fleet oversight of the European fleet expenses under a single FMC, and a better way to control its assets.

Caryn Helmandollar

  • Company: Ferguson Enterprises, Inc.
  • Title: Vice President of Risk Management
  • Total Managed Assets: 4,300+
  • Staff Supervised: 43 (5 dedicated to fleet)
  • Years in Fleet: 7
  • Replacement Policy: 100,000 miles for sedans, SUVs, pickup trucks, cargo vans; 150,000+ miles for medium trucks and larger.

Caryn Helmandollar began her involvement with fleet in January 2010, when Ferguson’s fleet function transitioned to the Risk Management Group. Ferguson Enterprises, Inc., is the largest distributor of residential and commercial plumbing supplies and pipe, valves and fittings (PVF) in the U.S. The company is also a major distributor of HVAC equipment, waterworks, fire and fabrication products, and industrial products and services.

She oversees the company’s fleet, insurance, claims, security, health & safety, and product integrity efforts. She has been instrumental in implementing an enterprise risk management approach, leading the company forward in identifying and managing the inherent risks within the company’s varied businesses.

The existing fleet staff includes experienced professionals with a sound strategy to provide safe and efficient fleet management solutions to their branch operations through quality customer service and execution.

Key success indicators for Ferguson Enterprises include reducing downtime/lead times; creating and implementing efficiencies; increasing productivity; and looking for areas to save costs.

Helmandollar’s management strengths are process improvement and maximizing key vendor partnerships. Ferguson’s fleet has collaborated on the following recent initiatives that have enhanced Ferguson’s overall fleet program:

  • Telematics — integration of maintenance alerts and launch of automated IFTA process.
  • Fleet replacement calculator — partnered with Supply Chain to develop a data-driven method for fleet replacement decisions.
  • Automated truck order functionality
  • DriverCare — implementation in partnership with The CEI Group. Piloting a cross reference of telematics data, motor vehicle records, and collision history for prevention opportunities.

Mark Leuenberger

  • Company: Cox Enterprises
  • Title: Assistant VP, Supply Chain
  • Total Managed Assets: 13,000+
  • Staff Supervised: 150
  • Years in Fleet: 10
  • Replacement Policy: 5- to 10-year life cycle

For nearly two decades, Mark Leuenberger has been with Cox Enterprises, one of the nation’s largest private companies. The company’s major divisions include Cox Communications, Cox Automotive and Cox Media Group. From cable technician vehicles to news camera vans, each division has unique fleet needs.

In his current role, he oversees a companywide fleet of more than 13,000 vehicle and assets, which is managed by Jim Bigelow, senior director of Enterprise Fleet Operations for Cox Enterprises.

In addition to overseeing all fleet-related vendor contracts and services, Leuenberger also is responsible for Cox Enterprises’ Supply Chain Services and Procurement functions.

Under his leadership, Cox’s large, diverse, divisional fleet operations were consolidated into one shared service organization. This allowed the company to achieve consistency, efficiency and cost savings.

He plays a key role in the company’s national Cox Conserves sustainability program. Along with water and waste goals, the company seeks to become carbon neutral by 2044. The fleet plays a significant role in helping meet this goal. His leadership has already made an impact by transitioning the company’s fleet to more efficient gasoline vehicles, flex-fuel vehicles and hybrid vehicles.

He has examined the assets across the company’s portfolio to identify opportunities for collaboration and cost savings. In 2011, he and his team embarked on a new initiative with Manheim, a part of the Cox Automotive division, and its repair facilities to manage good deal of the enterprises’ vehicle maintenance. This provided approximately $3 million to $4 million a year in savings.

During his tenure, he and his team also leveraged knowledge from Cox Automotive to gain key insights into what type of vehicles to lease, when to buy, and when to sell.

Soon after being named assistant vice president of Supply Chain Services and Fleet Management,

Leuenberger also played a role in distributing telematics solutions to more than 33% of the company’s fleet. By doing this, he and his team were able to drastically reduce idle times, as well as mileage. This also translated into better customer service for Cox Communications, the company’s broadband and cable division.

Leuenberger’s fleet leadership is helping Cox reach its sustainability goals from both an environmental and economic aspect. 

Yogi Shivdasani

  • Company: LKQ Corp.
  • Title: Vice President, Logistics and Procurement
  • Total Managed Assets: 6,800 U.S., 500 Canada
  • Staff supervised: 5
  • Replacement Policy: 4 years/100,000 miles for sedans, 4 years 150,000 miles for light-duty trucks, 5 years/250,000 miles for medium-duty trucks, 6 years 300,000 miles for heavy-duty trucks.

Yogi Shivdasani is a dedicated fleet executive who has significantly improved network account relations and generated savings while simultaneously adding value to the LKQ fleet through his focus on business transparency and clear communication with drivers and vendors. Shivdasani has managed to streamline the purchase ordering process, which has made it easier than ever for vendors to implement the exact specifications of each order and for drivers to receive their orders in record time.

Shivdasani and LKQ began working together with Donlen, their fleet management company, to improve the efficiency and productivity of their fleet in Q3 of 2016. LKQ recognized an immediate decrease of $620,000 in maintenance costs between August, when LKQ made the switch to Donlen, and September.

Annualized, this will result in more than $7 million in lower maintenance costs.

Since transitioning, Shivdasani has managed to generate a total of $373,708 in consultation savings by coordinating with his FMC’s strategic consultants to decrease unnecessary maintenance spending. This allowed Shivdasani to focus on LKQ’s business and customers.

Meanwhile, all LKQ regions have shown a decline in repair and maintenance costs for trucks due to corrections that were made to LKQ’s corporate fleet ordering process. Also, LKQ’s total cost of ownership for trucks are down, which has led to reduced depreciation and lease costs.

Shivdasani also managed to standardize specifications for lower acquisition costs and standardize vehicle options for replacement orders. Prior to his arrival at LKQ, the fleet department allowed the field to choose the truck they considered to be the best fit for their region. This resulted in LKQ using several manufacturers and a variety of truck sizes. Upon his arrival at the company, Shivdasani standardized the offering to two manufacturers and a few types of trucks with the same specifications that would work throughout the entire LKQ fleet. That strategy allows for fleet vehicles to be relocated more easily.

Through his successful attempts to open clear lines of communication between both drivers and vendors, Shivdasani has been able to maximize the transparency and visibility of LKQ’s business operations. One way he accomplished this was by streamlining LKQ’s purchase ordering process through providing current LKQ fleet information and ordering equipment based on the predicted needs of his fleet.  This allows vendors to adapt to LKQ’s fleet needs.  Additionally, LKQ’s relationship with Donlen has drastically decreased the time from order placement to delivery as Donlen’s maintenance advisors work with LKQ vendors to expedite vehicle repairs and maintenance. As of Q1 of 2017, on-time deliveries have increased from 20% to 83% a result of Shivdasani ’s decision to involve Donlen in LKQ’s fleet.

Shivdasani has worked for LKQ for 12 years. He recently became LKQ’s vice president of logistics and procurement as a result of his past achievements as the senior director of transportation and logistics.

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