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Founded by entrepreneurial cousins Charles Pfizer and Charles Erhart in 1849, Pfizer Inc. features a portfolio of products and medicines that support wellness and prevention, as well as treatment and cures for diseases across a broad range of therapeutic areas.

The New York-based organization also boasts an industry-leading pipeline of promising new products with the potential to challenge some of the most difficult medical challenges of recent times, such as Alzheimer's disease and cancer. With a broad range of animal vaccines and medicines, the company also helps protect the health of pets and farm animals.

Pfizer's tagline is succinct and perfectly captures the essence of its overall mission: "Working together for a healthier world." With more than 100,000 employees worldwide, as well as sales in 150 countries, Pfizer truly represents a global operation.

The company's far-reaching business significantly impacts its fleet operations, which includes more than 38,400 vehicles predominately sedans operating in 82 countries. Yet even with operations the world over, the multifaceted fleet department continues to deliver results due to proactive, strategic, and collaborative leadership and out-of-the box initiatives.

Fred Turco, senior director and team lead for Pfizer Global Fleet, leads a group responsible for the strategy, planning, and execution of fleet service, service optimization, and demand management. His team is deployed globally and includes central, regional, sub-regional, and market fleet managers.

Turco reports to the head of Corporate Services Alejandro Kaisin, who is responsible for enterprise services such as fleet and travel. Kaisin reports to the head of Global Operations, who in turn reports to Pfizer's CFO.

"Our fleet vision is to be the best mobility providers for Pfizer," Turco said. "We aim to get colleagues and their materials from point A to B in the safest and most cost-effective way." This includes both fleet and alternative mobility solutions.

Global Fleet Structure & Processes Promote Effective Management

Turco and his team utilize top fleet best practices to be cost efficient, improve driver safety, and increase productivity. In benchmarking with other companies, the fleet's best practices include the following:

  • Global policy and governance structure.
  • Centrally led category with regionally deployed resources.
  • Global database and reporting.
  • Consistent vendor management program.

The global fleet team develops and maintains Pfizer's fleet operating standard, reviewed and endorsed internally by major stakeholders. This document sets minimum performance criteria for fleet operations and country policy in the 82 countries in which fleet operates.

Fleet operations partners with global human resources, safety, procurement, communications, finance, and insurance to establish a governance document on the application of the fleet operating standard's minimum criteria. This process is known as the Country Fleet Policy Review procedure.

"Effectively, this policy establishes our governance function," Turco explained. "It establishes that country leadership is accountable for the country fleet policy, but that is ultimately subject to review by fleet and involving other regional enabling and business unit functions."

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The fleet team also manages a global database containing country-by-country fleet profile information and quarterly key performance indicators (KPIs), which measure value outcomes/performance improvement related to spend/total cost of ownership (TCO), safety, CO2, and customer satisfaction. The team then transparently reports results against objectives to key stakeholders on a quarterly basis. In addition to monitoring KPIs, fleet management regularly communicates with countries regarding improvement progress to ensure all commitments are met.

Another global process, the country fleet assessment, allows managers to target specific market needs and requirements. To date, an assessment has been conducted in all major Pfizer markets, and more assessments are planned for all medium-sized markets in 2010. 

"This process allows everyone involved to feel equal ownership in addressing the findings from the assessment," Turco said.

The assessment process typically lasts one week and includes all internal/external stakeholders in the market, including global business partners. The focus is demand, supply, and supplier management. Assessment findings are shared with and agreed to by local contacts and given, in summary, to country leadership during an assessment closeout meeting. All findings are tracked to closure.

Implementing New Initiatives Leads to Significant Savings

During the past two years, fleet internally and externally partnered to manage demand and optimize the supply and supplier base. These initiatives led to a significantly reduced total cost of ownership (TCO), improved colleague safety and productivity, and significantly lower environmental emissions.

TCO savings, with year-over-year budget reductions, is expected to yield more than $30 million in bottom-line savings for Pfizer. In addition, through its safety program and renewed service-level agreements, the company improved service and colleague productivity.

"Following the acquisition of Wyeth, our fleet increased 33 percent, yet at the same time we improved customer satisfaction while driving savings initiatives," Turco pointed out. "This is a credit to the fleet group and our fleet management partners."

The fleet team constantly reviews new ways (both externally and internally) to create more efficiency and/or effectiveness; they ask their partners to do the same.

Success for Turco starts with his team. This year alone, the fleet team piloted two mobility options, reviewed application of a captive finance system in Europe, and rolled out a consistent global safety program with a business unit commitment for an additional 10-percent reduction in collisions.

"We have a clear framework for success, clear objectives, and we will incorporate any and all methods to achieve a satisfactory outcome," Turco stated.

Pfizer's fleet organization depends on its "leading strengths" of team collaboration and cultural/geographic and team diversity to further the department's goals in a cost-effective and efficient manner. The company's fleet operations is a virtual team, with colleagues located all over the world; therefore, work and communication takes a unique form.

"We use many tools such as online communicator and video conferences, for example," Turco said. "But the reality is that it takes individual commitment to build team collaboration. We have a good team committed to our vision, mission, and value statement that works well collectively to maximize the outcome for Pfizer."

New technological tools that allow for advanced communication globally include:

  • Development and migration of Pfizer's fleet management database to an online system, in partnership with the company's safety program provider, IDS.
  • Partnership with Wheels Inc. to pilot an online driving violations program.
  • Use of instant messaging to enable a virtual workforce to maintain connectivity.

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Because 80 percent of the company's fleet vehicles reside outside the U.S., it is that vital Pfizer's global program establish a framework applicable to all global vehicles. Its team diversity and sensitivity allows exactly that. As an example, Pfizer's fleet operating and safety standards are available in eight languages (covering 78 percent of its global fleet drivers) and growing.

Continual Financial Assessment Allows Consistent Business

When assessing its fleet financials, management determines traditional TCO, consistently defined to ensure apples-to-apples market comparisons.

"Revenue generated by drivers is  significantly more than the fleet cost itself," Turco said. "Therefore, we need to consider the indirect (productivity, recruitment, retention, and motivation) impact, which is part of our business case for change."

Turco has worked with Wheels to quantify the impact of these factors in the U.S., allowing Pfizer to discuss them while introducing variable reimbursement and positioning the program as a driver option.

Ensuring fleet financials remain consistent with company goals is another fleet priority. Over the next few years, reducing fleet costs while managing the indirect impact falls directly in line with Pfizer's corporate goals and commitments.

Fleet Embraces 'One Pfizer' Corporate Strategy

To actively promote a unified global operation, Pfizer utilizes a "One Pfizer" corporate strategy. The company's fleet team embodies this far-reaching philosophy.

Achieving buy-in for global policies at all levels comes with transparency and communications. Turco pointed out the team must work with clear standards, objectives, roles/responsibilities, and guiding principles to establish a framework for success, allow operational flexibility, and achieve maximum results.

Turco and his teammates work diligently to delineate roles and responsibilities related to fleet activity for both the fleet team and key stakeholders, which helps establish a framework for success. They also actively partner with other enabling functions such as human resources, procurement, finance, insurance, safety, and communications on the following projects:

  • Market vehicle selection alignment with HR and total rewards and compensation.
  • Roll-out of a consistent global safety program, with safety, procurement, insurance, HR, communications, and business unit partnership.
  • CO2 caps relative to country and category selection for all vehicles, including management vehicles in Europe. This move required business unit partnership and active communication/support.
  • Launch of lease versus buy tool, which required finance and treasury partnership.
  • Aligning with one insurance broker for all fleet vehicles in all countries. This measure required clear partnership with corporate insurance and AON, the company's broker.

"Having clear roles, a clear strategy, and measurable/measured outcomes define the framework and context for success the 'what.' Then we apply that framework with a transparent and collaborative approach that gives latitude on the 'how,' because one size does not fit all," Turco pointed out.

The ultimate success of Pfizer's global fleet relies heavily on a clear vision, mission, and guiding principles that provide context for success. Also imperative is a clear maturity model on demand, supply, and supplier management. The team creates an annual operating plan that outlines key projects to drive success and specific performance improvement targets that demonstrate success.

Management annually reviews all of the operating plan and operations documents with key stakeholder and garners endorsements from appropriate parties.

"While we are the owners of these documents, applying them in an open and collaborative way that enables others to share in our success is key," Turco emphasized. "It is not a fleet win, but rather a Pfizer and partner win."

In an effort to reinforce positive outcomes and collaborative approaches, Pfizer fleet launched a global recognition program with sponsorship from Kaisin. Recognition of performance improvement helps reinforce worldwide company unison. The award spotlights semiannual country performance improvement efforts. They also present an annual global award for significant efforts with above-country and global significance.

"The intent is to promote key efforts and socialize best practice, thus fostering a continuous improvement work environment," Turco said. Pfizer looks to recognize more than 30 such key efforts, including key partners in the process.

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Global Success Stories Continue to Grow within Pfizer Fleet

The success of Pfizer's global unity in its fleet becomes clear after examining the company's recent operational improvements. Global achievements within fleet include EU approval and implementation of a TCO approach to vehicle selection, CO2 caps for all vehicles, and vehicle selection optimization to align with the market competitive mean.

The team also coordinated a successful integration with Wyeth in many markets, leading to a "One Pfizer" car/fleet policy in market and in line with Pfizer's fleet operating standard.

As a result of fleet downsizing, the team redeployed more than 2,500 vehicles to mitigate accelerated depreciation or early lease termination costs. They also rolled out a capital management and control process for a third of the fleet that owns vehicles. This step includes an annual lease-versus-buy analysis to ensure the company makes the correct financing decision in market.

"We've also been able to optimize car selection and use terms to reduce annual capital by 14 percent," Turco added.

The results of these and other policies are dramatic and include reduced internal combined Wyeth/Pfizer resources by more than 35 percent. The team will continue to review and refine internal resources as day-to-day operations are outsourced in emerging markets.

"We have also pushed our central resources to regions they operate in to ensure greater proximity to our customers/market resources," Turco said.

In addition, through demand, supply, and supplier efforts, Pfizer managed a reduced spend of more than $100 million and normalized per-vehicle TCO reduction, leading to more than $30 million in reduced spending toward the $100 million goal in the last two years. 

Other success stories include a significant 9-percent reduction in collision per million kilometers driven and a 15-percent reduction in total CO2 emissions (a 6-percent reduction per vehicle) in the last two years.

Pfizer's "three-fold" green fleet strategy is also on the road to success. The company relies on demand management, driver training, and leveraging new drivetrain and alternative-fuel technology when practical.

"Pfizer has a long-standing commitment to environmental, health, and safety protection. We are building on the strengths of our environmental programs to enhance sustainable practices throughout our businesses," Turco said.

Fleet efforts are consistent with Pfizer's overall environmental strategy. In addition, meeting previous greenhouse gas commitments, Pfizer has a second-generation greenhouse gas goal to reduce its total CO2 footprint by 20 percent from 2008 through 2012. Fleet, totaling 11 percent of Pfizer's total footprint, is part of this effort, and green fleet initiatives led directly to an 11-percent total and 4-percent normalized reduction last year.

These recent global successes are only the beginning for Pfizer. Moving forward, Turco emphasized the fleet team will continue to rationalize demand and optimize the supply/supplier management process, leading to increased outsourcing of day-to-day operations and more alternative mobility solutions.

"The needs of the customers we serve are continually changing, markets are evolving and maturing, and products and services to meet the need are dynamically shifting," he said. "As such, we need to constantly appraise and adapt."

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